Using the Scrum of Scrums Model

By Mark C. Layton, David Morrow

The scrum of scrums model facilitates effective integration, coordination, and collaboration among scrum teams by means of vertical slicing. You can use scrum of scrums to enable daily coordination among scrum teams.

People on one team coordinate daily with people in the same roles on other teams regarding priorities, dependencies, and impediments that affect the broader program team. The scrum of scrums for each role is facilitated by the integration-level person for each role. Thorough integration and release efforts establish a consistent, regular scrum of scrums model.

Each day, scrum teams hold their own daily scrums at approximately the same time, in separate locations. Following these daily scrums, scrum of scrums meetings occur.

Product owner scrum of scrums

Each day, following the scrum teams’ daily scrums, the product owners from each team meet with the integration team product owner for no longer than 15 minutes. They address the requirements being completed and make any adjustments based on the realities uncovered during daily scrums. Each product owner addresses the following:

  • The business requirements that each product owner has accepted or rejected since the last product owners’ meeting
  • The requirements that should be accepted by the next meeting
  • Which requirements are impeded and need help from other teams to resolve (example: “John, we won’t be able to do requirement 123 until you complete requirement xyz from your current sprint backlog”)

The integration team product owner makes the cross-team prioritization decisions necessary to ensure that the impediments are addressed during the daily scrum of scrums.

Development team scrum of scrums

Each day after the teams’ daily scrums, one development team representative from each scrum team attends the integration team’s daily scrum (which is the scrum of scrums for developers) and participates with the integration development team members in discussing the following:

  • The team’s accomplishments since the last integration team scrum
  • The team’s planned accomplishments between now and the next meeting
  • Technical concerns with which the team needs help
  • Technical decisions that the team has made
  • How to prevent potential issues

Consider rotating the development team members who attend the scrum of scrums (the integration team’s daily scrum), daily or for each sprint, to ensure that everyone stays tuned in to the integration efforts of the portfolio.

Scrum master scrum of scrums

The scrum masters from each scrum team also meet with the integration scrum team scrum master for no longer than 15 minutes to address the impediments that each team is dealing with. Each scrum master addresses the following:

  • The individual team-level impediments resolved since the last time meeting with the integration team and how those impediments were resolved (in case other scrum masters run into the issue and can implement the solution)
  • New impediments identified since the last meeting and which impediments the team needs help resolving
  • Potential impediments that everyone should be aware of

The integration team scrum master makes sure that escalated impediments are addressed after the daily scrum of scrums.

A single product backlog exists in a vertical slicing model, and team attributes are assigned to those requirements as they’re broken down and move to the development scrum team. With this model, you can see the overall program and quickly filter down to your own team’s piece of that program.