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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Scrum-of-Scrums...For the Team, By the Team

OK, so when did the Scrum-of-Scrums become a meeting of the ScrumMasters from each team in a multi-team environment? Maybe I missed something, but let me state what the original intent of the Scrum-of-Scrums was about. Since Scrum is all about self-management and self-organization, the idea was to let teams work out their coordination, dependencies, and obstacles. The intent was to have a representative team member (specifically not the ScrumMaster) from each team have another daily Scrum of 15 minutes to ensure coordination between teams. The ScrumMasters often rotated to act as ScrumMaster for the Scrum-of-Scrums. This was a fast, easy, efficient means of keeping teams synchronized on a large system development. This teaches the team members to take responsibility for coordinating with each other.

Now, there is nothing wrong with ScrumMasters getting together to discuss obstacles, process related topics, and new tools/techniques for improving. The early large implementations of Scrum mostly referred to these as the ScrumMaster community. I strongly encourage that approach to shared learning for any group of people in a specific discipline.

I believe that this trend is nothing more than a form of control from people in ScrumMaster roles that used to be project managers. Information power...having info that others don't, is a form of control. It's time to let go folks! It's OK, nothing will happen, everyone will be fine. Smart working adults will learn to coordinate their activities just fine. My suggestion is to get focused on the obstacles that nobody wants to deal with or find ways to improve the process or the development environment.


  1. Well said. I've seen how quickly this sort of thing can turn into "managers and leads meet and come back to the team to tell the team what to do." Very early on in scrum, we discovered that having managers and leads be scrummasters was a bad idea, and I remember one manager/scrummaster deliberately trying to hide behind his monitor because he wanted people talking to the team, not "reporting status" to him.

  2. This likely contributes into so many agile team members acting like the scrummaster is the boss. I've heard team members straight up say things like "I work for " or, "I just do what tells me to." That lack of engagement by all on the team is indeed a real problem.

    1. Looks like angle brackets are automatically removed. That was supposed to read:

      ... say things like "I work for ScrumMaster" or, "I just do what the scrummaster tells me to."