19.2 Agile ways of working that may already exist
The nearest equivalent to a stage within agile would be a higher-level timebox that acts as a container for a set of lower-level timeboxes. This may be referred to using terms such as release, iteration or increment. These could involve more than one team and they would be typically managed by a project manager or product manager (the latter being at a higher level than a product owner).
It should be noted that a management stage is slightly different from such concepts as a release, iteration or increment in that it focuses on the commitment of resources and grants the project manager the authority to spend within the context of ongoing project viability. This is in contrast to a timebox such as a sprint or a release, which delivers a distinct set of features.
A concept known as a ‘Scrum of Scrums’ is sometimes used in agile when there are multiple teams and this provides a mechanism to move information between the teams. It provides an opportunity for Scrum masters to raise project-level issues and discuss inter-team dependencies. This does not conflict with the role of the PRINCE2 project manager as it is not a mechanism for control. It is more focused on ensuring transparency and collaboration across the related teams. However, a Scrum of Scrums meeting would not typically involve the project manager.
Scrum of Scrums is not part of the Scrum Guide and therefore the use of this technique and its role should be agreed collectively. Ultimately the project manager is responsible for the successful completion of the stage and should use this technique as appropriate in order to help with areas such as communication and coordination. The project manager has three alternatives with respect to Scrum of Scrums meetings:
- does not use them
- attends and facilitates the meetings
- uses them but may or may not attend the meetings (and uses other sources of information to help with the management of the stage – for example, the use of information radiators and liaising with the delivery teams by other means such as informal discussions).