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Scrum of Scrums – a brief definition and some details

What is a Scrum of Scrums ?

Well, if you take any literature that deals with Scrum, you will find the typical team size for a workable Scrum team to be 7-10 people (ignore those articles where it is claimed that Scrum has been made to work with 50 plus team members, since that is more of an ideal case); what happens when you have a larger team ? Well, that is where a concept called ‘Scrum of Scrums’ comes into being.
A Scrum of Scrums is when you have larger teams, and you divide the teams into smaller Scrum sized teams. Each team does their own Scrum meeting, typically at the same time, and then each team send one representative to a meeting where representatives from each team goes. And if you have many such teams, then you can have a Scrum of Scrum of Scrums (and no, I am not making this up).

Who attends the Scrum of Scrums

Since the Scrum team is facilitated by the ScrumMaster, you would expect the ScrumMaster to attend the Scrum of Scrums meeting. Or in his absence, the Product Owner. Well, the advice is different – a member of the team should attend the Scrum on behalf of the team, and this can be any team member. It follows from the above that since any team member can attend, the member who is attending the Scrum of Scrums can keep on changing after every few meetings. However, it is not a total free for all, sending the person who will be best able to project the current position of the team; such as a tester when the team is in the testing phase; or a designer when the project is in the initial design phase. This also means that the Scrum of Scrums can be attended by the ScrumMaster as well.

Can the team send only one representative ?

No, most emphatically no. It actually depends on the size of the constituent team of the Scrum of Scrums. If there are fewer members in the team, then a team can send 2 representatives rather than one. One of these can be a ScrumMaster.

How often does the Scrum of Scrums need to happen?

A Scrum meeting is supposed to happen daily, so does the Scrum of Scrums need to happen on a daily basis as well. No, there is no such requirement. Depending on how the teamwork happens, and how the Scrum of Scrums becomes more efficient, it is very much possible to restrict the Scrum of Scrums to happen only 2 times a week, or maybe 3. These meetings can be different from the Daily Scrums in one significant way; problems can be brought before this meeting and solutions attempted (which is different from the regular Daily Scrum meeting where impediments can be brought up but not resolved to keep the meeting tight).
Further, these meetings do not try to work through a regular backlog of features and tasks, but instead focus more on coordination and inter-team dependencies and relationships.

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