The Scrum of Scrums is one of the most important forums for larger project teams to coordinate efforts and ensure alignment across multiple Agile teams. Since there are many ways to execute this event, many teams struggle to get value out of this technique due to lack of experience.
Below are a few common pitfalls to avoid. Teams that are new to a scaled Agile approach can typically benefit from applying the lessons of Daily Scrums in this broader context.
Common Mistake #1 – Run the Scrum of Scrums too infrequently
Many teams that I have coached tend to hold the forum once a week. This can often lead to too much information being queued up for discussion, which dilutes the focus on the meeting. Generally, having this event two to three times per week is recommended by most scaled Agile frameworks.
Common Mistake #2 – Run the Scrum of Scrums like a project status meeting
While holding a weekly status meeting may be necessary, the focus of discussion within this forum goes beyond just reporting what has already occurred. A key benefit of the meeting is to anticipate future events and try to side-step any problems before they occur.
Common Mistake #3 – Forgetting to track issues or follow up
Sometimes it’s easy for teams to discuss critical issues or risks but not follow through, which defeats the purpose of having the dialog. Keeping the meeting short and focused will help the team hone in on what truly matters. It is also helpful for the Chief Scrum Master to keep tabs on problems that impact more than one team since those will likely cause broader issues for the project.
This type of forum is a powerful and essential tool for multi-team projects to leverage. If your project have three or more teams, it is likely worthwhile to experiment with this process and see what it can do for you.