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What Is Scrum of Scrums

What Is Scrum of Scrums in 2024? Holding a Scrum Meeting With Multiple Scrum Teams

Large-scale development (of software or otherwise) can be incredibly challenging to manage, especially if you use Scrum. However, a method created by Scrum co-founders Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in 1996, known as the Scrum of Scrums (or Meta Scrum), can make scrum-scaling problems disappear.

Brett DayAleksander HougenEugenie Tiu

Written by Brett Day (Writer, Editor)

Reviewed by Aleksander Hougen (Co-Chief Editor)

Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu (Editorial Assistant)

Last Updated: 2024-03-10T23:59:25+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Scrum of Scrums

  • The Scrum of Scrums is an event (meeting) that occurs a few times a week so that multiple Scrum teams can share wins, losses, progress updates and problems. 
  • Scrum of Scrums can be self-organizing. However, it’s highly recommended that a Scrum of Scrums master leads the meeting.
  • Many of today’s best project management platforms offer tools to manage Agile teams and organize meetings that drive the Scrum process.

Scrum revolutionized workflows for software development teams in the early ’90s thanks to its flexible approach that champions communication, collaboration and short work cycles. The problem is that Scrum only suited small teams. However, the introduction of the Scrum of Scrums, an event that enabled the Scrum project management methodology to scale, changed everything.

The Scrum of Scrums, which was first hypothesized by IDX Systems (now GE Healthcare), enabled multiple Scrum teams to work together in near-perfect harmony. In this guide, we will teach you all you need to know about the Scrum of Scrums. You’ll learn why you should consider using the meeting to unify multiple development teams and how to become an expert at holding it. 

Scrum of Scrums Definition

First, let’s quickly examine a daily scrum meeting. Daily scrums, which scrum masters hold, are a key part of the Scrum framework. Agile teams meet daily for 15 minutes. During this time, each individual on the team shares what they’re working on, what they plan to work on and what issues they have. To ensure productive meet-ups, see how to avoid Scrum Anti-Patterns.

Scrum of Scrums meetings (also known as SoS meetings) are similar. However, instead of consisting of one Scrum team, they feature multiple Agile teams working on the same project. SoS meetings are commonplace in organizations that have scaled Scrum. 

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Scrum can be scaled by adopting methods such as the Nexus Framework or Scrum@Scale. You can learn more about the origins of these methods in our Scrum history guide.

Scrum of Scrums Meetings

Now that we know Scrum of Scrums meetings can connect multiple teams, we’ll take a closer look at how the meetings work. 

Scrum of Scrums meetings, which usually take place twice per week, are time-boxed and typically last 15 to 30 minutes. However, the scaled meetings could last as long as one hour. Below, we will cover who attends the meetings and what an SoS agenda looks like.

Who Attends?

Unlike daily meetings led by a scrum master and attended by every team member, Scrum of Scrums meetings are less defined and often a cause of contention. Many argue that scrum masters should be present, but scrum masters’ views can be limited. Some believe the product owner and development team members should attend, as they are more technically inclined.

scrum roles
Individual teams must decide who to send to the Scrum of Scrums meetings to represent their work.

Ideally, individual teams will send two members to the meeting. When deciding who to send from your team, be flexible and send Agile team members who can easily discuss current issues. Another issue with scaled Scrum of Scrums meetings is deciding if the event will be self-organizing or if a Scrum of Scrums’ master will facilitate the event. 

The Scrum of Scrums master needs to have strong leadership skills and be an expert communicator. They need to make sure the event is productive, cordial and stays within the allotted time. Just keep in mind that, without a strong leader, Scrum of Scrums meetings could quickly fall into disarray.

Scrum of Scrums Agenda

A Scrum of Scrums meeting agenda will put team representatives at ease. Making sure one is available before the meeting starts will help them prepare. It will give each Agile team’s representative(s) enough time to share the following information:

  • What our team accomplished already.
  • What our team will accomplish before the next meeting.
  • What challenges our team is facing?
  • Issues that may create problems for other teams.
sos meeting agenda
Software like OpenProject (pictured) can help organize Scrum of Scrums agendas.

The idea of the Scrum of Scrums meeting is the same as daily scrums. However, instead of individual team members letting everyone know how they are doing, the goal is for each team to update other teams on their work and to receive any important information regarding the project.

Purpose of Scrum of Scrums

As with any meeting, Scrum of Scrums get-togethers are designed to let all the teams share information and deliver complex solutions. The ultimate goal is to get everyone involved in the product development process on the same page so that high-quality products can be delivered to clients.

During the meetings, through transparent communication, cross-functional teams can share real-time progress updates, resources, problems and potential solutions and backlog updates.  

Benefits of Scrum of Scrums

Scrum of Scrums meetings offer many benefits to those who hold them. You can expect to see an increase in communication quality compared to communication found in typical organizational hierarchies, increased collaboration and better risk management. Below, we’ll quickly cover the benefits of holding Scrum of Scrums meetings.

  • Collaboration — Multiple cross-functional teams work together to deliver complex solutions. 
  • Communication — Every Scrum team can easily be kept on the same page thanks to individual representatives attending the meetings. 
  • Problem-solving — Scrum teams can receive help from multiple people and will likely find new ways to approach issues.
  • Team building — Team building is fostered via transparent communication, which in turn can build trust between teams.
  • Risk management — Having every member of every team on the same page reduces risks associated with complex projects and large teams.

Scrum of Scrums Best Practices

Now that we know what Scrum of Scrums meetings are, who attends and the benefits of holding the meetings, we’ll take a look at some Scrum of Scrums best practices.

  1. Set the frequency — Teams need to know how often to meet each week.
  2. Publish an agenda — Every representative attending must know what information to bring.
  3. Identify the right team members — Scrum masters from each team should select the appropriate team member(s) to send to the meeting.
  4. Allow cross-team collaboration and problem-solving — Teams should use this time to update and help each other if they’re having issues.
  5. Encourage open communication — Everyone should be encouraged to communicate freely and with transparency.
  6. Create a safe environment — No matter what is said, there will be no retaliation as wins and failures are dealt with as a team and are not attributed to individuals.

If the above best practices are implemented into Scrum of Scrums meetings, you’ll find that scaled Agile Scrum teams will be able to work together to stay on the same page, regardless of how complex the overall project may be.

Scaled Scrum Certifications

If you want to become a prime candidate to lead scaled Scrum meetings, you can obtain a scaled Scrum certification. There are a few available that will make you invaluable in scaled Scrum teams. The best options are listed below:

sps
To show the world that you can scale Scrum with project-based teams,
you should obtain a scaled Scrum certification.

If you’d also like to enhance your reputation and career as a Scrum team member, there are many Scrum certifications offered by the Project Management Institute, Scrum Inc., Scrum.org and the Scrum Alliance.

As you have seen throughout this guide, there’s nothing complicated about the Scrum of Scrums. If you’re already familiar with the Scrum framework, use the best Scrum apps to help organize your work and are willing to further your education a little more, you can easily implement the scaling Agile approach into your place of work. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide to the Scrum of Scrums has helped you see that scaling the Scrum methodology is possible. Whether you want to join two Scrum teams together or 20, you can do so without fuss as long as teams have an agenda, know which representatives to send, embrace collaboration and appoint a strong Scrum of Scrums master to help the meeting flow.

If you’re just starting out with Scrum, you may want to check out our guide on what is a sprint review and what is backlog refinement.

Are you a member of a Scrum team that has been involved in a Scrum of Scrums event? Have you found that scaling Scrum is beneficial? Have you received a certification in scaled Scrum practices? If so, which certification did you choose and why? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.

FAQ: Scrum of Scrums Explained

  • The Scrum of Scrums is a meeting designed to bring together scrum masters, product owners and development teams from numerous Scrum teams working on one project.

  • A daily scrum is a meeting attended by individual Scrum teams. A Scrum of Scrums meeting is an event that many Scrum teams attend. While Scrum of Scrums meetings might be a little longer, what’s covered during the sessions remains the same.

  • The Scrum of Scrums event is designed to bring multiple Agile teams together to discuss task progress, iteration and increment problems, and work together to create high-quality deliverables.

  • No, a scrum master is not the same as a Scrum of Scrums. A scrum master holds daily scrum meetings with their team. The Scrum of Scrums is a meeting for many Scrum teams.

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