It’s great to witness how a company changes from somewhat “old school-ish” to something agile-like: Last week we finally started with a Scrum of Scrum and it turns out to be working pretty well only after a few days.
Actually most of our teams have been working with some kind of agile process for some time now: some are doing Scrum, some Scrumban, most are doing Kanban (although predominantely it’s more a visualized work-flow than “real” Kanban). All of them were having a Daily Stand-Up (or Daily Scrum) right from the beginning: some were having theirs in the morning, others before lunch and others after lunch.
I visited several Daily Stand-Up every day and experienced what happens to issues or tasks depending on other teams. Either a team member was planning to talk to the other team (and most often forgot about it right after the meeting: Damn short term memory…) or the issue was bounced via a project manager like myself (who most often missed the crucial part. Sorry…) or the team just simply complained about the fact that it had to wait for another team (but was not doing anything against it). In the end the tasks normally moved to the “pending” column and stayed there for much too long.
Funny enough we actually were doing a kind of Scrum od Scrum since about a year: It was the earliest meeting of the day with all Tech Leads dealing with only one question: Are you about to put something in another team’s way today? It is only natural that the info that was given in this meeting was not up to date anymore (as the last Daily Stand-Up of the teams were at least over 16 hours away).
Introducing a Scrum of Scrum does not only optimze communication but also enables fast and direct communication. We now have a synchronisation of all teams within 30 minutes: First all Daily Stand-Ups of the teams, then the Scrum of Scrum meeting.
All dependencies or impediments between teams are solved or at least communicated within 30 minutes. There is no failing because of short term memory, project manager etc. (see above).
BTW: Our UXD are having a UX Scrum of Scrum at the same time. It seems to be working fine. We are still working to get our Product Owner to have their Product Owner Daily Scrum…