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Scaling Agile, adding another layer: Scrum of Scrums

For a typical Agile team of 4 to 6 people, following the Scrum framework is fine. However, once a project starts having several Agile teams working on the same project, then the Scrum framework is insufficient. Gaps appear and coordination becomes more difficult. Without any enhancements, Scrum can’t scale.

These enhancements come at a price: more meetings, more communications, more overhead.

For multiple teams (2 to 4), Scrum and be super-sized by adding a daily multi-team meeting called the “Scrum-of-Scrums” composed of representatives from the other Scrum teams.

The SoS meeting is not a status meeting. The purpose is to identify and address roadblocks and communicate issues.

In addition to extending the daily Scrum with a SoS meeting, the same can be done with a multi-team Sprint planning and multi-team Sprint Retrospective.

In summary, for a single team you have the following Scrum practices: daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospectives. For multiple teams, you also add the following multi-team meetings: daily SoS, Sprint Planning, and Sprint Retrospective.

For projects having even more teams, you can add a third layer of meetings: the Scrum of Scrum of Scrums, Sprint Planning, and Sprint Retrospective.

This method of scaling Scrum is relatively simple, but not robust.

To really scale agile for large projects that are mission-critical, you need a more comprehensive framework. One such option is SAFe.

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