October 6, 2021

Why the Nexus Daily Scrum is not Scrum of Scrums: 4 Differences Every Scrum Master Needs to Know

Scrum of Scrums describes one of the first approaches to scale Scrum and is often confused with Nexus Daily Scrum.  

Even experienced Professional Scrum Trainers, which I encounter in the Scaled Professional Scrum Train the Trainer, sometimes confuse this. I think this confusion is because Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber had a different view of what Scrum of Scrum means from the beginning. 

Jeff Sutherland is referring to the initial scaling of Scrum. At IDX System in 1996, Scrum was scaled to a large number of developers across a dozen products. This happens as part of an organizational restructuring. In 2015's "Agile Can Scale: Inventing and Reinventing SCRUM in Five Companies," he describes Scrum of Scrum as a cross-team meeting in which management, team leaders, and the teams coordinated their work weekly. 

In the Scrum of Scrums, cross-team problems are solved

The Agile Alliance captures Jeff Sutherland's experience as a technique to scale Scrum. After the Daily Scrum, each Scrum team sends an ambassador to a meeting with the ambassadors of the other Scrum teams. This meeting is called the Scrum of Scrum. The ambassadors report on the status of their team and the impediments that are holding them back. The meeting is focused on solving problems that exist between teams. Often, these inter-team impediments are resolved by agreeing on interfaces between teams or negotiating responsibility boundaries. In the Scrum of Scrum, these cross-team improvements are tracked in a separate backlog.

In contrast, Ken Schwaber in "The Enterprise and Scrum" from 2007 describes the Scrum of Scrum as a Daily Scrum of Scrums meeting. This daily working session serves to uncover and resolve any dependencies and integration issues between teams as quickly as possible. It already reflects the purpose of today's Nexus Daily Scrum as in the Nexus Guide of 2021.

In the Nexus Daily Scrum, integration issues are identified

The Nexus Daily Scrum aims to identify integration issues and review progress towards the Nexus Sprint goal. To do this, appropriate representatives from the Scrum teams participate in the Nexus Daily Scrum. They inspect the current state of the Integrated Increment, identify integration issues, and newly discovered cross-team dependencies or their impact. 

 

Nexus Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrums of the teams take place after the Nexus Daily Scrum and thus complement the Nexus Daily Scrum. While the Nexus Daily Scrum focuses on uncovering integration problems, the Scrum teams focus on fixing them. The teams plan how they will fix these problems in their Daily Scrum. 

The differences between Nexus Daily Scrum and Scrum of Scrum

 

The Nexus Daily Scrum differs from Scrum of Scrum by:

  • The Nexus Daily Scrum occurs before the teams' Daily Scrum instead afterward, as in Scrums of Scrum. 
  • No problems are solved in the Nexus Daily Scrum, only identified. The resolution then takes place in the individual Scrum teams. 
  • The Nexus Daily Scrum is not about reporting the status of the individual teams, but about reviewing progress towards the Nexus Sprint goal. 
  • No improvements are maintained in a separate backlog, but newly identified dependencies are visualized in the Nexus Sprint Backlog.

In summary, the Nexus Daily Scrum is not a Scrum of Scrums. The Nexus Daily Scrum, just like the Daily Scrum, is a planning meeting and not a problem-solving or reporting meeting as in the case of Scrum of Scrums.



Want to learn more?

Hopefully, this article was useful for you. How to conduct the Nexus Daily Scrum is one of the many interesting topics that is covered in the Scaled Professional Scrum course. If you’d like to join the Scaled Professional Scrum course, check out my class schedule page for more information.