SOS … or scrum of scrums is an important event in SAFe at a program level. This is facilitated at a program level by the Release Train Engineer (RTE). This is where program-level concerns and conversations between scrum masters and the RTE occur. Scrum masters may have their own inter team-level conversations… has nothing to do with the wider program-level concerns and conversations.
POPM Synch is also an important event in SAFe at the program level. This is where Product Owners and Product Managers Synch up on a weekly basis regarding current work (i.e. are there any scope or plan changes to the PI plans?)… and future work for the next PIs… specially the incoming PI. Most recommend the RTE to facilitate; however, product management can facilitate as well.
Again, conversations are limited at a program level concerns.
With program-level conversations as denominator… we can actually combine SOS and POPM Synch … SAFe calls this the ART Synch!
I love the ART Synch mainly because of the greater sharing (Shared and collective consciousness) that happens in that meeting (everyone getting the same info at the same time… as well as having more diverse perspective — not just from scrum masters or product owner or product manager). I love that ‘shared consciousness’ concept … it supports SAFe principle #9 — decentralize decision-making… without it, principle #9 won’t work! This concept is from the book titled, ‘Team of Teams’ — a book by General Stanley McChrystal.
There you have it! If you are not having program- level SOS and POPM Synch or ART Synch … you better have one now! There is an ART Agility Health Radar… and these are some of the many program-level dimensions being assessed.
Tip: I love visuals … and I use Rally … I usually bring up the ‘Release Tracking’ program-level feature of Rally as part of all program-level conversations with scrum masters, Product managers and product owners. A great focusing tool for Program Increment (PI) / Release-focused conversations during the ART Synch!