Sunday, August 19, 2007

Splitting large Scrum teams

Once upon a time we decided to use SCRUM as part of our development process. Since its introduction in our team, we have had a number of successful projects and we all think its the best thing since sliced bread. We love the fact that the entire team meet for a few minutes each day and think that it provides an effective means of communication between the team members.

Over time our team size has increased from about 4-5 to a whopping 15. We still practice SCRUM but I don't get as much out of it as I did when we had a smaller team size. Apart from the fact that it's difficult to get a space for our stand up meetings that can accomodate the entire team and still be able to hear everybody, I find it hard to keep tuned in to what everybody is saying. There is some pressure to stick to a single SCRUM for the entire team and not split into sub-teams. The rationale is to keep the daily stand up meeting as a communication channel between the entire team. So there are two problems:
  1. How to improve the communication within the single large team to make it more effective
  2. How to keep good communication across sub-teams and multiple SCRUM groups

Here is what I found from researching the problem:

How to improve the communication within a large SCRUM team?

How to keep good communication across sub-teams and multiple SCRUM groups?

I guess the tactical approach to convincing the team to move towards smaller sub-teams and multiple SCRUMs is to point out that the larger team size is reducing the effectiveness of communication within the team. However, this must quickly be followed up with evidence that co-ordination and interaction between the smaller teams can address the communication gap caused by the split. To this end, I think I like the idea of the scrum of scrums approach where there are multiple scrum teams, and one member of each team attends a SCRUM with one member from each of the other teams. In effect this one team member becomes the communication channel between the teams.

1 comment:

peeter pattinson said...

This is such an informative article on scrumand very clearly written. Every single thought and idea is direct to the point. Perfectly laid out. Thank you for taking your time sharing this to you readers. -