Scrum of Scrums Weekly Catch Up

By | April 28, 2017

Currently, I’m working as Scrum Master of one team that I joined recently. This team is divided into three sub-teams, same main product but split into three parts. They have been doing a Scrum of Scrums meeting every week, but for some reason, they stopped doing it, maybe the team was not getting what they expected.

One day one of the developers approached me and asked me that he would really like to continue doing this meeting because even though it was not working 100% well, he was able to know what was going on in the other sub-teams.

The same day I started to think what could we do in order to achieve that, I sent an email to each developer asking for their expectations of this Scrum of Scrum meeting, and I got pretty good feedback.

This is one of the e-mails I got back:

My expectations:

  • Have an overall idea of what is going on in the rest of the teams
  • Know the most important things, problems, questions, challenges that happened last week
  • Review the bi-monthly goals
  • Rethink if we need to meet weekly or maybe biweekly, preparing it in advance
  • Use a common dashboard as we have it in our area

Reality:

  • We had problems about what to talk about: sometimes we showed posts for each story but we were just talking about epics in general
  • As we need to talk about epics, from week to week sometimes there are no changes, we still work in the same epics
  • Some weeks we skip the meeting and there’s no interest to have it in another moment
  • We don’t really talk about problems, details, etc because of what I talked at the beginning: it’s not allowed to go into detail

So based on different feedback I scheduled a new Scrum of Scrums meeting, this is the format:

First part (preparation) 10’

Each of the sub-teams will have 10 minutes to write all things you see below in different sticky notes, there are different groups.

  • Group Notes 1: Write the last things you have been working on, relevant technical things should be highlighted, like used libraries, frameworks, etc.
  • Group Notes 2: The lasts technical challenges/problems you faced and how you succeeded, imagine that you were doing something very hard and you finally found something on the internet that helped you to finish, or helped you to move forward.
  • Group Notes 3: The lasts none technical challenges/problems you have faced, can be any type of problem, for example, if requirements changed and you weren’t unable to finish something, unexpected ad-hoc things to take care, people not available, etc.
  • Group Notes 4: Heads up of what you will be doing till the next weekly catch up.
  • Group Notes 5: Is there something that any of the others sub-teams should know about what you or your team is doing?

Second part (presentation) 15’

  • One representative of each sub-team will present all their notes, no one can interrupt, this representant is taken randomly, so all the people has to be involved while writing the notes.

Third part (chit chat) 10’

  • All people will be talking about all the things that were said during the session, it’s time to catch-up.

For confidentiality reasons I can not post a real image, but this is how it looks like.

 

Conclusion

I think some of the keys when doing meetings like this one is:

  • Make it dynamic.
  • Time box each phase.
  • Make sure you have all the needed material, basically enough and working pencils, and enough post-its for everyone.
  • I like to have on the big screen what means every group, I can see they check it very often, helps to remind what they have to write.
  • Make sure week by week all individuals ar part of the presentation phase, I really like rotate people there, so they have to be focused on the preparation part.

The feedback I got was pretty good! the team wants to do it every Friday, so I would say it worked.

 

One thought on “Scrum of Scrums Weekly Catch Up

  1. Christoph Schmitt

    Love your efforts to sort this kind of “team tiredness” ,as I call it, out. I had many a teams where similar tiredness occured, because that’s what it realyy is. My learning: without a “moderator” , someone who takes the lead, gives the overall inspiration and motivation (most of the times the manager himself), it is difficult to get to lasting results. Teams ,very very often, are no self fulfilling phrophecy.

    Reply

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