Scrum

All About the Scrum of Scrums

SoS2

It is becoming more and more evident that the future of Agile lies in large companies and scaled approaches. It may be hard to believe at first, but the data of Agile usage in 2015 proves this is where the methodology is going next. One of the most popular ways to scale Agile today is Scrum of Scrums. And while many companies have adopted this practice already, we thought it might be interesting for others to know just how exactly it works.

Scrum of Scrums has been originally defined by Jeff Sutherland and is designed to deliver working software of all teams to the Definition of Done at the end of the Sprint. To make sure this happens, the Scrum of Scrums Master is held accountable and has to be able to ensure that all the processes works. But before getting into the details, let us step back to the beginning.

How it works?

The original Agile speaks of small team and its management and when we think of a large organization we usually have a team of a few hundreds or even a few thousand people. Naturally, the first thought may be that having a standup or one project board for all of those people will be nearly impossible, luckily the Scrum of Scrums approach gives a way to work around that.

Instead of looking at the organization as a one big team, Scrum of Scrums asks to divide it into small teams of up to 10 people based on their function and product features. This way, we are no longer looking at a room of a few hundred people and have small manageable teams instead. The traditional Scrum roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master and others are retained in every single team and all teams plan and complete their work independently from each other relying on the Scrum methodology.

To coordinate the overall vision between the teams, a new meeting by the name of Scrum of Scrums is introduced. It is held every day after the daily standups and one member per team is required to attend and represent. The flow of this meeting is similar to a daily standup, just instead of presenting on what you have personally worked on and are planning to do next, the delegates are representing their teams progress. The Scrum of Scrums Master coordinates this meeting and decides where the project should go next, thus giving direction for individual teams and making sure they stay on track.

How to make it work?

So the idea of this approach is simple – it scales down the organization into small teams and then adds a second level meeting to coordinate the overall process and vision. While this sounds fairly simple and straightforward on paper, companies tend to run in quite a few problems after first starting to implement the approach. It takes time to find the right groove and learn how to coordinate all the teams. However, to make it easier, there are a few tricks to put you on the right track.

  • To make sure teams understand each other and the responsibilities it is good to have the same key roles in all of the teams. Depending on your project, it may be Product Owner, Coach, Architect or something else. Making sure to have the same key roles in all the teams will create clarity and easy structure to follow, eliminating most of the novelty confusion.
  • Another tip, especially for while you are still new with the method, is to schedule all the teams sprints to start and end at the same time. Teams might be able to do more or less depending on their velocity, but having the iterations aligned with allow for easier planning and predictable releases right off the bat.
  • Lastly, remember that you can still continue to scale upwards when needed. This is especially true for large products or companies when the Scrum of Scrums still has more than 10 people in attendance and is becoming long and ineffective. Instead, divide this meeting into a 2 or more Scrum of Scrums and add a third level of a meeting that would contain representatives from each of the second level Scrum of Scrums.  This will improve productivity and allow for easier management of the project.

The Scrum of Scrums is quite a simple way to scale Agile in your organization and take advantage of its benefits. But as with any scaling approach, first you should make sure that is right for you and then look into the best practices to ensure you stay on track.

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The Future of Agile

Agile-2016-teaserThe recently released State of Agile Report has not only brought great statistics, but also raised a few questions about just where Agile might be heading next. How will it look like in a couple of years, which interest groups will shape it and how much of what we today call Agile will actually change?

 

To get a better grip on these and other questions, we took another hard look at the stats and came up with what we think the answers will be. Check out the info-graphic below to find our predictions for the future of Agile.

Agile-2016What do you think Agile future will be? Share your thoughts below.

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Adopting Agile to Sports Training

Trainer

There is no doubt Agile is no longer just a practice for developers. It has moved past only serving the small teams, past the specific types of teams and past the specific industries. While that is all widely known, sometimes it is still tough to grasp just how far Agile methods have come. That is until you hear that the methodology is now being adopted to sports training. Yes, you have read it right, Agile methods are now being adopted to organizing sports.

The first time we have heard about this new exciting development was from a Serbian physical coach Mladen Jovanović. He has been involved in various sports activities his whole life and has recently heard about Agile practices and Eylean Board.

Being an innovator he naturally got interested in how this may be adopted to his field and how it can benefit the parties involved. By creating several boards and dividing the process into clear steps, he managed to translate the Agile practices into sports seamlessly. To know more about his process and findings, watch this short video.

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5 Agile Innovations To Look Out For

agile process

For teams that have successfully adopted Agile, the next logical question is – what will follow? While in some cases there is no next step and the adopted practice suits perfectly, for others further modification brings in better results and more value. So what should you do if you want to innovate further?

Take a look at these 5 options.

  • Scaled Agile – LeSS

One of the most popular Agile modifications at the moment is scaling up. It is only natural that companies want to extend successful methods from small teams onto the whole organization. However, since the method in itself is built for a small singular team, some adoption and changes are inevitable. For that scaled practices such as DAD, SAFe and LeSS have been developed. So if you want to convince your CEO, see how these approaches can fit your case.

LeSS-overview-diagram1

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3 Ways Agile Will Reward Your Team

Teamwork and team spirit

While switching to Agile practices is nothing uncommon these days, we are still often reluctant to accept it when it comes into our lives. This has little to do with the methodology itself and simply rests on the fact that most of us do not like change, any change. The question here is – should you focus on the fact of facing change or should you instead focus on what great rewards you will get after? We pick the latter and here are our top 3 things to look forward to after an Agile switch.

  • Meaningful documents and meetings

Having to deal with excessive documentation and unproductive meetings is so common in today’s business world that it has become something we actually expect. However, despite this acceptance, it does not bring any substantial value to the team nor to the product and often creates demotivation instead of what we all seek – productivity.

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Should You Complete the Agile Transition?

transitionWith Agile gaining bigger and bigger traction each day, there is no wonder why many companies are starting to adopt it and claim to be Agile. The change, however, is not overnight – it takes time and effort to implement. Due to this, many corporations choose to adopt Agile incrementally with a method that is now being called Water-scrum-fall. However, can it actually be better to use the transition method?

Water-scrum-fall

To answer this question, let us first explore what hides behind the term Water-scrum-fall. This definition appeared in Agile circles not too long ago striving to describe a process in which large companies choose to practice both Waterfall and Scrum methodologies at the same time. This is usually done to introduce a more efficient Agile process into some phases of the project, while leaving other phases untouched and managed in the traditional way.

Such a solution has become a great option for large companies in which some teams are pushing for change and a more flexible way to complete projects, while others are holding on to the established processes and refuse the necessity of change altogether. With Water-scrum-fall, the teams get to decide which of the two management methods is the most suitable for each situation and use it to gain the best results.

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Entering Life After Scrum

TeamAs recently discussed in the 2015 review, more and more Agile teams are starting to sway away from Scrum and lean towards a different methodology – Kanban. While this may be surprising at first, there actually is good reasoning behind this switch and possibility of this trend continuing into the 2016. Will you be switching as well? Let’s see.

The need for order

For most companies, Scrum has come at a time, when there was a need for a more flexible and at the same time a clearer approach to project management. This was especially true in the case of software development teams that lacked processes and often produced results, just not the ones management was looking for.

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2015 in Review – Project Management Software

2015-review2Another year nears its end and before the holidays take over our mind completely, we thought it would be interesting to take some time and look back. Every year we analyze data from Eylean to see how our clients have used it and how can we improve in the next year. Most of this data is quite technical, but just like last year, we want to share some of the more interesting findings with you.

 

markets 2015

Country of origin. Over the years, we have been enjoying a steady growth of interest into project management software. Last year we were happy with an 81% growth of Eylean users and this year we are even more excited with a doubled 156% growth. Most of the new users came from our biggest market – the United States (31%), however, this year we also have new markets in our portfolio, such as China, France and others, proving that agile project management practices are becoming more popular all over the world. While there is some movement in the new markets, the top 5 have retained their strong positions with only some slight changes in the numbers.

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Scrum – the silent facilitator of trust

Image Credit: © Depositphotos.com/bst2012

Trust is not only a great, but an essential asset to have within any team. It allows for ideas to flow freely, eliminates looking over each other’s shoulder and mergers different people into a unit. A team that trusts each other, brings forward better and faster results, makes the clients happier and in turn creates a prosperous environment for years to come. There is no doubt, trust is great, the question though is – how do we create it?

Building trust within a new team is often tedious and burdensome task that not all leaders are ready to cope with. There are essentially three points to ensure trust – we need to know that we are understood, that the deadlines will be followed and that promises are going to be kept. Besides all the small little details, following these three points will most likely guarantee that the team will be working within a trusting environment.

While it is easy to name these principles, following and putting them into practice is a whole another ball game that many struggle with. However, what if there actually was no need to cope with this task? What if appointing a specific project management method could do all of that for us? Well, then we would all be happy and we would all be using scrum to manage our projects.

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Agile Startups – How Do Lithuanians Do It?

Both Agile and Startups are terms that have gained massive buzz in the business world over the last years. However, the idea of them mixing with each other has come up only recently. Startups that have been traditionally visualized as messy and uncoordinated have taken up a method that requires teamwork, planning efforts and timed delivery. Some are still struggling with this idea so we thought why not go ahead and ask startups themselves about their experiences?

Eight of Lithuanian startups have answered our call and shared their ups and downs using Agile methods. Here are their experiences and thoughts.

Mobile Worker logo

 

 

The team behind a field service management and time tracking software Mobile Worker has started using scrum in 2013. They have found the rules to be tough to follow and have decided not practice the routine of a daily standup due to team members being in different locations. However, they instead decided to focus on the benefits that scrum has brought them – they are now able to plan better, evaluate the final product immediately and quickly adjust the course of action depending on the necessary updates and improvements.

CGTrader logo

A 3D model marketplace founders at CGTrader have started using scrum in the summer of last year. They have done so looking to have clearer planning and allocation of tasks as well as overall control of productivity. While they have achieved their goals and find it that tasks get completed more quickly, they still struggle evaluating tasks accurately. The team members often overshoot estimating their ability and this results in project being behind the delivery date.

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