I’m working for Tradera right now and as I’ve blogged about before we have been splitting a big (40 people) team into smaller ones. Getting this to continue to work and the teams to be effective has been my challenging and very interesting task since then.
I can tell you that without great people that care - this would have been a lot harder. With people that cares you can even allow yourselves to try something, fail and change. That’s great news for someone like me - I fail a lot. And take great pride in doing so, as long as I learn from it.
In this post I thought I’ll describe a particular part of that process that I have had problems getting to work many times; the daily team sync, Scrum of Scrum or Syncro whatever you call it. We call it Daily Sync.
It’s really quite simple really; you have several teams and you want some sort of synchronization between them, share information or just know what the others are up to. In our case we even had one big team before, where everybody met every morning. The feeling of us knowing exactly what was going on in every part of the system was very clear and present. But did we really know everything?
Often you create a board or some place to gather information from all teams. I personally think that it’s a very good thing to visualize your work there too (as I’ve blogged about before, from another project) but that also froms questions about levels of details and double bookkeeping.
I mean; in order to keep the big board interesting we want it to show the right level of details but that’s also reflected on each team board, which in turn means that you need to have each work item represented twice. And keep them synchronized.
You then have the meeting itself; who should come? What should you talk about? Are you reporting (receiving) or are you deciding (sending) information?
If the Daily Sync is going to be interesting you need to talk about things that involve everybody in the meeting. Or at least things that are interesting too them. We need to look out for not having all teams restating what they just had said in their standup.
Speaking of that - when should the meeting be? It can be before or after the daily standups in the teams, both options viable but giving us different advantages. Before meant that we could decide stuff in the Daily Sync and propagate that back to the teams, but we had a hard time knowing the current status of the teams. If instead the teams have had their daily before the Daily Sync we would have current team statuses but it’s harder to send information from Daily Sync that stand the risk to become just a status meeting.
We went back to the root of the Daily Sync - what’s the reason to have such a meeting. The information about the team status is out there, in each team, on their boards and the walls surrounding them. If not - that’s something we need and want to know that it’s missing.
But there’s an underlying thing here as well. When the group was one big group we were used to hear the status of the entire group every morning - now you need to go get it from the teams. It won’t be fed to you but you’ll get it if you’re interested.
We wanted the Daily Sync to have a purpose and be a meeting that is used for something rather than just restating the information that already been exchanged in the respectively teams. That meant that we focused the Daily Sync on things that … wait for it… needed to be synched between the teams. And that only.
Our solution … s
This is our Daily Sync board as it looks today: