Jeff Sutherland has developed a concise guide that layouts the key roles and artifacts for Scrum@Scale. It’s free and available for your use.
Jeff Sutherland: “Scrum@Scale was created to efficiently coordinate this new ecosystem of teams in a way that optimizes the overall strategy of the organization. It achieves this goal through setting up a minimum viable bureaucracy”
Scrum@Scale offers a scale free architecture.
- Lightweight – the minimum viable bureaucracy
- Simple to understand – consists of only Scrum teams coordinated by Scrum of Scrums and MetaScrums
- Difficult to master – requires implementing a new operating model.
Scrum@Scale contains two cycles: the Scrum Master Cycle (the “how”) and the Product Owner Cycle (the “what”), each touching the other at two points. Taken together, these cycles produce a powerful framework for coordinating the efforts of multiple teams along a single path. The Scrum Master Cycle contains the following modules: Team-Level Process, Continuous Improvement & Impediment Removal, Cross-Team Coordination, Deployment and Product & Release Feedback. The first and the last module are part of the Product Owner Cycle too. Besides these modules we find the following modules: Strategic Vision, Backlog Prioritization, Backlog Decomposition & Refinement, and Release Planning.
To scale Scrum in your organization across many teams Jeff Sutherland works with high performance teams of 4-5 people as the optimal size. If you need more people working on a single product, a team of max 5 teams can be created. These teams comprise a Scrum of Scrums (SoS) with representatives from the different teams (often the Scrum Masters) to coordinate the work (the how) and they hold a Scaled Daily Scrum (SDS). The Scrum of Scrums is a Scrum team too with its own Product Owner and a Scrum of Scrums Master (SoSM, compare the RTE in SAFe). If 25 people or 5 teams is not enough to develop one product, max 5 Scrum of Scrums can work together with a Scrum of Scrum of Scrums (SoSoS) with a SoSoSM (compare the STE in SAFe) and this can continue. 5 SoSoS’s can work together and form a model with 125 teams. Depending on the size of the organization this can continue. The final Scrum of Scrums of an organization is called the Executive Action Team (EAT).
The same mechanism is applied for the Product Owners synchronization. The group of Product Owners who need to coordinate the backlog for the 5 teams is called the MetaScrum. This MetaScrum is a Scrum team too with its own Scrum Master and Chief Product Owner (CPO, compare Product Management in SAFe, or The Chief Product Owner in LeSS). In line with SoS’s that can grow into SoSoS’s the MetaScrums can grow too. For 25 teams we see a MetaScrum with a CCPO (compare Solution Management in SAFe). The final Meta Scrum of an organization is called the Executive MetaScrum (EMS).
In the guide several examples are given of organizational design with several soSoS’s and MetaScrums as well as the Executive MetaScrum and Action Team supported by separate teams focusing on Legal/Compliance, Customer Relations and People Operations (Agile HR).
Conclusion. If I look at the Scrum@Scale material available on www.scrumalliance.org there is much more detailed information available regarding the different modules within the framework but the two cycles are connected at Team Level Process and Strategic Vision (in the just published definitive guide this is now Product & Release Feedback and I would say that makes sense). There you could also find differentiation at with level the module is used (team, Department, organization). Probably an evolution of the framework and to keep it as simple as possible by only using Scrum teams and SoS/MetaScrums. The organizational mechanism to scale Scrum is added (My first reaction where have I seen this before: compare goal driven agile on my blog). If it makes sense to keep Customer Relations (is this not a PO or MetaScrum task?), legal/compliance, HR etc. out of the Scrum teams is food for discussion.
Have a look by yourself at www.scrumatscale.com were you can download the guide.