Scrum of Scrums (also known as “meta scrum”, or abbreviated to SoS) is a scaled agile technique that enables multiple teams to collaborate and produce complex solutions.
SSoS is designed to help growing businesses scale their processes to help them to deliver bigger or more complex projects. It was first implemented in 1996 by Scrum pioneers Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.
The two needed to coordinate eight business units — with each unit having multiple product lines — and synchronize each time with the others. The experience was captured in Sutherland’s subsequent write-up ‘Agile Can Scale: Inventing and Reinventing SCRUM in Five Companies’.
Since then, Scrum of Scrums has been used by countless businesses looking to scale their processes while still working with Agile methodologies.
The Scrum of Scrums should unite a group of teams — essentially creating a singular, distributed team. This is to help streamline communication by reducing available communication paths, ultimately leading to increased transparency.
Unlike traditional hierarchies or project-based teams, the interlinking team structures of SoS help smaller, independent teams to coordinate better while still ensuring a fully integrated product at the end of each sprint.
A SoS team should be near-identical to a regular scrum team and follow the same set of values. They will participate in the same events and team members will have the same role as they would in a regular Scrum team.
SoS meetings are crucial to maintain the transparency needed to collaborate effectively. The frequency of SoS meetings should ultimately be determined by how much value the team feels they offer.
During these meetings, each member should look to answer the following questions:
What has your team done since we last met?
What will your team do before we meet next?
Is anything slowing your team down or getting in their way?
Are you going to put something in another team's way?
The final question is crucial for coordination efforts. Teams should not be handing off work to another team without declaring it to the other teams and SoS Master, especially if it gets in the way of their assigned work.
A Scrum of Scrums team is made up of delegates from each team. The delegate will be given the same responsibilities as a Product Owner, but that doesn’t need to be the same person throughout the project.
As you may have guessed, this new style of Scrum requires a new style of Scrum Master; The Scrum of Scrum Master. The Scrum of Scrums Master will host regular meetings, offering team delegates a chance to address and improve any issues that they may be facing.