Archives for posts with tag: Scrum


seaTea16

On December 16th Arts Interstices hosted a conversation via Google Hangouts among dance and theater improv artists and Agilists from various parts of the US.  The following is a briefing on some essential themes this cross-sector dialogue uncovered regarding the serious interest business is taking today in this art form.

“Yes, And…”

People feel threatened when choices are unduly restricted.  With a narrow set of options, positions become entrenched and even the simplest conversation become difficult.   Saying “Yes, And…” (rather than “Yes, but..”) is widely acknowledged to be the first guideline of improv.  Experienced practitioners emphasize building upon the contributions others have already made, creating an expanded sense of possibility.

“Make Your Partner Look Good”

Imagine going into a meeting with a bad set of nerves anticipating critical scrutiny.  Now imagine going in alongside a colleague, shifting your focus to a total dedication to making that person shine as the most brilliant mind on earth.    Sea Tea Improv recommends practicing this kind of mutual support as a way to instill trust quickly and powerfully.

“Suspend Disbelief”

Improvisational scenes progress iteratively.   Starting with mundane circumstances and then taking the audience along on a journey by adjusting their expectations step by step is conducive to fantastic results.

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“Mirroring”

One of the steps towards relaxing in a group is seeing oneself in others. That spark of recognition can be induced through the act of mirroring, used as an icebreaker in Annie Sailer’s movement exercises.

“Spatial Collaboration”

Knowledge workers have few conscious opportunities to read each other and respond nonverbally.  Even though these exchanges happen all the time at work, improvisational movement renders them intentional, slowing down the sequence of sensing, perceiving and choosing how to engage.

Just+at+Work+008Scrum Teams That Harmonize

Robie Wood led this workshop at the Paris Scrum gathering in September 2013 with his brother Jody Wood, a deeply experienced improv actor.  The description in the program reads: How can we positively charge and orient Scrum Team members toward effective participation in the conversations, activities and innovation necessary to deliver business value? Let’s get team members to Harmonize. To maintain team Harmony, we can draw on examples from the Arts where Harmony is sustained by using improvisation to adapt to changing complexity. The “Scrum Team that Harmonizes” workshop employs improvisation exercises from the Acting world that are designed to work on the specific skills needed by team members to perform effectively in each of the four types of Scrum Meetings.

Robie will host the next Hangout scheduled for later this month, and we’ll include international participants.   Further exchange will advance the dialogue and lay groundwork for intelligence-gathering and sharing of effective practices for how improv is being used today in business settings.   Practitioners can plug into this conversation by emailing artsinterstices@gmail.com or rwood@willshowvalue.com.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT INFORMATION

Sea Tea Improv http://seateaimprov.com/

Annie Sailer Dance Company http://anniesailer.com/d-a-n-c-e/statement

ShowVALUE http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=15275730&locale=en_US&trk=tyah2&trkInfo=tas%3ARobie%20Woo%2Cidx%3A1-1-1

JW Actor’s Studio http://www.jwactorstudio.com/

student chalk art2

Chalkville, a city-wide collaboration attempting to break the world record for Largest Chalk Pavement Art in West Haven, Connecticut, this summer may be the first public art project to use Scrum as its project management framework.  Joining a Core Team comprised of Courtney Tracy (Design), Mitchell Gallignano (City Relations), Gwyneth Evans (Registration), Pat Libero (School Relations), and Richard Kasperowski (Agile Coach/Tech) are now two Student-Artist Co-Chairs, Carlos Andino and Mary Antoinette Canieso.

Carlos and Mary Antoinette very kindly took a break from their responsibilities as students during a busy spring of the academic year to answer a few questions.  Valuing people and interactions above tools and processes, the Chalkville team welcomes a chance to get to know more about who they are and introduce them to the broader community.

waves

 

My name is CARLOS ANDINO and I am a junior at West Haven High School. I moved here last year from Puerto Rico. I’ve been a member of the art department ever since I got into the school and have taken classes such as 2D design, Cartooning and Commercial Art.

 

I’ve always been interested in art. Ever since I can remember, I used to draw on anything and everything that I could (just ask my parents!). I would spend every Saturday morning eating cereal and watching cartoons, and after I’d grab some paper and pencils and draw out my own characters and stories. This has stayed with me throughout my life, and I’m very thankful for that. I love being able to think of interesting and compelling characters and stories, even if I’m the only one that will see them.

Moving here from Puerto Rico has been a big blessing. Back in my old school, the only non-academic classes were P.E. and Computer Science. Even though I am very much into computers, I felt like I was missing out. I would see American high schools on television and movies, where students had a range of classes to choose from, where they could go after school to a club that they enjoyed and wanted to be a part of. I envied that and now I’m very happy that I get to have that life.

The Art Department at West Haven High School has helped me so much with expressing myself through my art. It helped me harness my own style, and not be afraid to express myself, even if thought of as unusual to others. It is very important to me to be proud of my style of art because I hope to be an animator for movies, television shows or commercials. I want to be able to flip through the channels and spot something that I created or helped create rolling on air for the world to see.

In the Chalkville project I hope to contribute my skills as an artist, but also contribute my love for West Haven by making this chalk art the best that it can be. Whether that means being part of the design team or serving people cold water, I want to help any way that I can in this great opportunity that we all have to come together as a community and break the world record for largest chalk art!

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NETTIE CANIESO: I’m a senior at West Haven High School and have participated in the Art department for all four years. I have also been a part of the theater program since my sophomore year. I like to write (and sing) my own songs, stories and poetry. 

 

I’ve always been interested in art. Tooting my own horn, I’d say it was a natural talent. But I learned to hone my skills as student under the three art teachers at the high school and I had the honor of being taught by all three at one point or another. 

 

As a student, art classes, namely Studio Art Honors, have taught me to think outside the box and never stick to what I am comfortable with. Throughout my years, starting from Studio Art I and taking Studio Art II this year, I have learned the importance of deadlines and being able to produce works of art that I can be happy with while still being able to hand them in on time (being much easier said than done!)  Art is a reflection of what’s important to me as a person. Every work I create (that I am happy with and/or simply complete) is an extension of who I am and what influences me. Art has taught me to give reason to why I do what I do and why I create what I create.

 

Art will always be a part of my life and I hope to further my art education and eventually become an animator of a cartoon of my own creation. 

 

I hope that by participating in Chalkville, artists and non-artists alike will get an understanding of what is needed to create a successful work of art.  I hope this hands-on experience shows the community that art is more than just drawing a flower on a piece of paper. It’s a statement louder than words.  We all know a picture says a thousand words.  I hope what we create will leave viewers with at least this one: amazing.

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Heading up the Design Squad, Courtney Tracy, a West Haven resident and alumna of the West Haven High School art department, will meet regularly with the students and other New Haven-area based artists including Giada Crispiels to create a unified image for a site-specific 100,000 square foot drawing.  All are welcome to participate in the world record attempt but must pre-register at www.facebook.com/Chalkville.  Meanwhile, principles of Scrum are keeping the development team on track: timeboxed (2-week) sprints leading up to a fixed release date, urgent and enthusiastic goal-driven communication, frequent inspection and adaptation, clear alignment of purpose in the form of user stories, and a commitment to demonstrate awesome results.

student chalk art1

Chalkville, a large-scale public arts event for civic pride, is funded in part by the Awesome Foundation, Connecticut Chapter.  Donations for chalk and other supplies are fully tax-deductible and may be sent to Chalkville, c/o West Haven Council on the Arts, PO Box 16513 West Haven, CT 06516.  SPECIAL THANKS to Ann Nyberg at WTNH Channel 8 for her recent interview which may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1F-k29KYOw

westhaven

 

 

I am pleased to announce the selection of an awesome application for funding by the Connecticut chapter of the Awesome Foundation!

http://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/connecticut

This spring local artists and cultural organizers will lead citizens of West Haven in an attempt to break a world record for the largest street drawing.  Our implementation team is now forming, and a schedule of public meetings will be announced soon.

At the first meeting we will review the Scrum Guide.  We will seek feedback on using the Scrum framework to establish a flow for the project.  If there are no better ideas, and folks are game, why then we’ll probably just try it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.  May we all find our hearts in our work in 2013.

 

“A guy asked me once on a consulting job what I knew about software development.  I told him, I don’t know anything about software development.  But I do know how you should do it.”  Meet Lee Devin, author of Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work.  This first book, co-authored with Robert D. Austin of Harvard Business School, is regarded as something of a classic in entrepreneurial circles, bringing concepts from theater – “ensemble,” “improvisation,” and “rehearsal” – into the parlance of software developers.

Lately, Lee Devin’s name comes up every time someone in the know learns of my interest in strengthening natural alliances between the arts and start-up worlds.  We met at Agile Games 2012 – a conference dedicated to bringing the spirit of play into the workplace to boost productivity – and had a chance recently to speak about his new book, The Soul of Design, published by Stanford University Press.   Here are some sample pages:

http://www.sup.org/pages.cgi?isbn=0804757208;item=Excerpt_from_Part_One_pages;page=1

SLOMBA: The Soul of Design does not simply present ideas for consideration, it presents a whole vocabulary.

DEVIN: Plot…coherence…resonance…these are things that make a work of art or a product special or not special.  The individual elements are hard to define, but we recognize and understand their sum total when it all works. “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” In this book we’re looking at that “what I like.”

SLOMBA:  I’m going to quote from the introduction. “A maker plots a structure to achieve coherence.  Coherence presupposes a set of interactions that generate resonance.  We call the results non-ordinary.”

DEVIN: Yup.

SLOMBA: What are some relevant changes you’ve seen in the software business since Artful Making was published in 2003?

DEVIN: Certainly in the last few years a change has taken place in the perception of what constitutes a cockamamie idea.  There is a new openness.  Responses to Agile and more personal and aesthetic modes of thinking about work have a much more positive entry into the conversation than they used to.  Back when I started it was pretty hard to get the ideas on the table.  I don’t mean to suggest the giant corporation is feverishly making room for this stuff or anything like that, but it does feel like the basic argument – that creative work must be approached in an artful way, a way that factors in human desires and tendencies and allows for an emergent outcome, not a strictly industrial way, a way that decides on an outcome first – has been made and accepted.  The difficulties lie in the way people are implementing the new, more collaborative approaches, more in the realms of logistics and space, not people’s attitudes.

SLOMBA:  How does your idea of “specialness” differ from the notion of industrial quality, plain and simple?

DEVIN:  Homo Aestheticus – I got the idea about that from Ellen Dissanayake, an Ethnologist.  One of major jumps we human beings made in evolutionary development was to decorate, to stripe some white clay down our noses, or to put a bison up on the cave wall: to make special.  To become individual. This impulse is very powerful.  I’m interested in the fact that it points to other skills and tendencies among the people who do it.  When a group of humans are aesthetically aware, continually looking to improve their surroundings, it signifies a deeper thing.  Homo Aestheticus, because s/he has become an individual, is a much more adaptable creature.

SLOMBA: Do you think choosing a special object can be a creative act?

DEVIN: Absolutely.  As an arts market gets established, the citizenry gets divided between makers and partakers.  And yet, as Susanne Langer points out, the act of personal response to an art work is just as creative.  You notice an object that speaks to you and you have an instant of recognition.  This instant doesn’t have a duration; it’s an event.  The “Oh, wow.”  You’ve made a huge choice in that response and the question then is not whether to follow up on that choice, but how.  We look at things, and the process becomes one that Aristotle calls puzzling out the form.   This kind of appreciation directly relates to making.  The aesthetic experience of appreciating an art form differs only in degree from the pleasure of making an art form.  Mind you, the degree is huge.

SLOMBA: Can you talk about originality?

DEVIN:  If a thing is completely new, it almost always appears formless.  We can’t perceive anything we don’t have a category for.  We need some similar experience for comparison, or we just don’t get it.  Take a Frenchman to a baseball game, and he’ll just wonder.  Like Americans at cricket.  People ask the wrong questions, because they don’t know the right ones.  They become baffled.

My generation lived through Samuel Beckett.  Waiting for Godot is what goes on while you’re waiting for the unspecified, emergent outcome.  People said at first, “This isn’t a play.  This doesn’t have any shape or form.  It’s just gaga.”  As long as people put their attention on who or what is Godot that remained the case, because the answer to that question has no relevance.  What’s going on on stage is this: people wait.  It’s a bleak life, they don’t know what’s going on; they have no short-term memory, much like your humble correspondent.  But when actors got up on stage to work the thing out, to puzzle out the form, they immediately got what Beckett wrote.  It was pretty hard not to get.

On the flip side, no artist wants to do something that somebody else already did.  We want to do something that we do now.  Every set of circumstances is unique in time.  The solution is unique, but there has to be a familiar context for it.

SLOMBA:  In your consulting work you’ve been getting Agile teams to be more creative and artistic; how about an arts group going Agile?

DEVIN: The artists to whom I’ve shown the Agile Manifesto simply look at me and say, “Duh.” “But that’s just common sense.” The principles of coherence and relevance absolutely apply to any object, process or idea.  Coherent things, coherent processes and ensembles are going to be more attractive and better at fulfilling their functions, regardless of sector.  Aesthetic regard, concern for coherence, is the ultimate in total quality control.

SLOMBA: What do you see down the line?

DEVIN: People are starting to realize you don’t get anywhere if you just pick bad items off the line and scold the guy who made them. Read Deming. Go further upstream and find the conditions that led to the errors in the first place.   One of the first things dramaturgs look for when we read scripts is the set of given circumstances.  Hamlet, in the throne room, in the second scene of Shakespeare’s play, is deeply pissed off, totally bummed.  If you’re an actor or trying to help an actor, you ask: what does Hamlet want?  What’s he trying to get? What’s he trying to get away from?  Why did he come into this room? And so on and on.

Dramaturgy is a wonderful way to unpack complicated objects and processes.  Your boss suddenly loses it…you want to look at that dramaturgically and ask: what are the things that this is the response to?  Not causes, given circumstances.

Any process that has room in it for asking these kinds of questions is going to be helpful these days, because things are very complicated.  Scrum has room.  The tricky thing is that a lot of people don’t know how to ask relevant questions, how to frame what they need to know, what they’re looking for.

The Soul of Design suggests starting your inquiry with the final cause, the purpose for which the thing is made.  For any art object, or any non-ordinary product, the purpose of the thing is to be perfect of its kind.  Out in the world, the secondary purpose is to please people who are going to pay you for it.  First purpose is prime.

***

Lee Devin’s books can be purchased on Amazon in print form or for Kindle.  Here are the links – ENJOY!

http://www.amazon.com/Artful-Making-Managers-About-Artists/dp/0130086959

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Design-Harnessing-Extraordinary/dp/0804757208

The DIY ethic that has fueled underground scenes since the 1980s is alive and palpable in artist-run spaces across the country.  Despite much handwringing at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado –http://www.aspenideas.org/festival/overview – many creative people do still believe it is important to bring people together face-to-face in a physical space to experience art and find ways to make it happen.  Whether evolving incrementally or borne from a conceptual vision, these spaces are an important part of the ecosystem on which innovation depends.  Here are two I visited on my recent Agileseed Tour.  (Please see previous post titled Agileseeding! for more background on this.)

Agileseed Tour Destination: Omaha, NE

Omaha is an unexpectedly quirky city, where the editor of a local weekly put in a mayoral bid as a kind of performance art.  On the main drag of Dodge Street, a handful of painters and scupltors including Dave Jenowe (pictured below with his work) share studio space in a split-level storefront.  After critiquing each other long enough, they decided to invite the public in for periodic Saturday night openings.   Says Jenowe, “It was a simple thing, originally.  It started with just three of us.  We made work, and it needed to be seen.”

Social media brought people in the door, and the venue, called Studio…Gallery, has since built a solid reputation among an alternative downtown crowd.  Step by succinct step, it has added a jazz music series and comedy nights.  The space itself has evolved to accommodate growing programs, now sporting a tiny stage downstairs with superior acoustics.  Meanwhile, a core group of colleagues continue to pursue independent artistic investigations in a shared workspace.

Jenowe continues, “We are always tweaking, but we continue to have a good time.  It’s great to see new people discover the space and be surprised by the quality and diversity, to have it surpass their expectations for what they might find here.  Jamming with musicians from New York and mixing with local artists, it just makes you feel glad and inspired to keep going, to keep making new work.”

Agileseed Tour Destination: Twin Cities, MN

The Bindery Projects, named after its location above a longrunning book bindery in St. Paul, is the brainchild of Caroline Kent and Nate Young (pictured below).  Their mission is “…to show dope work and validate practice through dialiectic democratic social disourse.”  The pair has a curatorial calendar booked through spring of 2013.

http://thebinderyprojects.com/thebindery_projects/visit.html

When I visited in early August, Nate and Caroline were prepping to hang 47 drawings by Nyeema Morgan, whom Young met at the Skowhegan Center in Maine.  The Dubious Sum of Vaguely Discernable Parts, closing Sept. 2, 2012, uses textual variations on cake recipe instructions along with abstract photographs of individual baking ingredients to explore the search for a perfect system.

Says Young, “We might not have a ton of people coming through, the space isn’t that big.  But the ones who do are key people, influencers.  They’re paying attention.”  In fact this is true, as I heard about The Bindery Projects long before arriving in the Twin Cities area, from the Director of ArtSpace in New Haven, CT – artspacenh.org.

Art galleries conduct their business in an inherently networked and iterative manner, releasing work to the public in regularly scheduled increments.  Exhibitions take place over and over in the same space, and as they do, a body of knowledge develops around how to succeed and improve.   Artists intuitively seek to assemble the most viable chunks of work for release, even at small scale or in-progress stages, because it makes good sense.  What they may not know is that, in Scrum circles, this is known as the vertical slice.

Running a gallery on a DIY basis should be recognized as one of the most authentically agile ways of working.  People and interactions are reliably more important than tools and processes.  Those who run such spaces deserve credit and support as incubators for creativity and innovation, nimbly adaptive yet true to what they represent.

The Agile teams forming in today’s workplaces are essentially trying to function like artists.  Those leading the charge towards Agile business transformation should seek out these creative and highly productive scene-makers, talk to them regularly, and make it a point to visit the exhibitions and other programs that artists have developed and released in their communities.


Arts workers, your tribe just got bigger by a factor of X –

 (hint: your best ideas represent X)…

Here’s something that’s not exactly news, but worth proclaiming loudly at this particular moment.  Entrepreneurial business – that is, the start-up world, which includes those hip software guys and gals and their innovative counterparts within larger companies – sees itself as more closely aligned to the arts than to traditional business.  The arts has friends in high places, not only friends but a tribe of genius-level thought workers – rainmakers and gamechangers who represent the very nexus of the global ideas economy.

Entrepreneurs are striving hard now to do what arts managers have been doing for decades, dealing nimbly and effectively with climates of extreme uncertainty, while making it look way cool.  Consultants – whose reputation has arguably been sliding in an era of post-recession budget constraints  – are well positioned to reinvent themselves as the scout bees of this new landscape, since we work as both arts managers and entrepreneurs, and sometimes for organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.  As we discussed and agreed at the Dance/NYC symposium in February, the sector is not as important as the work itself, and the fact that it is fulfilling its mission and connecting with its intended audience.  Now, more than ever, is a great time to mix things up.

Entrepreneurial science has developed specific frameworks to map and describe a reality-based, arts-friendly way of getting things done – one of these is Agile, another (closely related) is Scrum.  If more arts workers learn this language, we can communicate better with our extended tribe.

I just returned from a three-day conference at the Microsoft “Nerd” Center in Cambridge– the Agile Games.   The experience strengthened my notion that if the arts and the start-up world can just find ways to share respective models and frameworks, connect our discourses and put the right people in touch with each other to improve both sectors’ ways of working, we can fast-track towards – in the words of keynote speaker Michael Sahota – “learning to play and playing to win” in the new ideas economy.

Arts administration and Agile project management form a natural alliance for spotting opportunities within chaos, welcoming change and adding layers of complexity with soul-stirring results.  But first, we must look up from our deadlines, recognize other stripes and types of “creatives,” deconstruct our jargon and identify what we’re passionate about.  When that “strategic planning” work is done and we’ve identified our next big “wow!,” it is fairly safe to bet (aka project) we can find funders interested in our collaborations.

Many will say we’ve already been doing this.  Okay, yes, Agile is very much a description of what arts workers do all the time.  However, if we go ahead and learn it –  delve into a set of specifics that has been determined to have global relevance – we can carry on with greater intention for the sake of our field and the positive, world-transforming attributes that we have always known art represents.

What is Agile?

As the arts community agrees on the value of entrepreneurship, one specific framework to look at is Agile.  Originating from within the fast paced, ever-changing world of software development, Agile is now spreading to other business sectors, even outside of the start-up community.  Big Visible Solutions is one company offering regular trainings in New York City in a form of Agile known as Scrum, which offers enough reference points to make it an arts-friendly way to plan, organize workflow and manage teams.

Planning in Agile Mode

A traditional planning process is geared towards envisioning the entire plan from start to finish prior to execution.  One of the assumptions made is that the conditions which govern the operating climate at the start of the planning process will remain stable throughout the period covered by the plan.  Alternatively, a five-year plan may be drafted with the assumption that it will need to be examined and revised each year in order to remain relevant.  That’s an awful lot of time committed to be spent planning!

Agile planning mode is more reality-based.  It assumes that you cannot possibly know everything you need to know at the start of execution, no matter how thorough a planning process has been.  The goal is to gather enough clarity to get started, and to set up a transparent process for learning and sharing results along the way.  Precision is not sought-after while making estimates (guessing), but is to be desired and expected as a team works together.

When you have committed a lot of time to be spent in a planning process, change becomes a threat to be controlled or eliminated.  In reality, change is an ever-present constant, which can be channeled into productivity if it is recognized with thoughtful response.

Bottom Line from The Agile Manifesto: Agile values responding to change over following a plan.  

Organizing Workflow in Agile Mode

Responding to change does not mean operating in a chaotic or unstructured way!  On the contrary, a definite structure to the workflow is necessary in order to measure what in fact gets accomplished.  In the Agile framework, workflow is organized into “sprints,” time periods which have specific beginning and end-dates.  Based on all the priorities identified in the plan (called a backlog, to be explained in more detail in the next article) the team commits to what it can accomplish within a given timebox.  That commitment – to accomplish X by Y date – constitutes the sprint and is to be considered a team not an individual effort.

Defining “X,” or what the team will accomplish together within a very tight timeframe requires that all team members maintain a customer focus throughout the sprint.  In other words, everyone involved with a project must understand how the work produced is going to be used in the real world and why it is in demand.  The meaning of the work is embedded into Agile workflow practices and constantly accessible to the team because of the Agile focus on organizing tasks by creating short narratives based on customer wants and needs.

These short narratives that define the workflow in Agile mode are known as “user stories.”  To take an example highly relevant to the nonprofit arts world, instead of a plan that reads “consultant will research funding prospects for Executive Director to distribute to the Board,” the Agile translation would be “As a Board Member, I want to review a current list of funding prospects so that I can fulfill my fiduciary responsibilities.”  The consultant and Executive Director work together to make that story come true, but they are not the focus of the work.  The “customer” is (i.e. in the arts world, stakeholder).

Bottom line:  Commitment to completing work within a given timeframe fuels high productivity.

Managing Teams in Agile Mode

Let’s look at project management as a discipline.  Its place in the business world has become well-defined; most projects require an administrator whose job it is to run around with a club making sure everyone involved is on time and on budget.  The project manager holds others accountable, because ultimately they are accountable themselves.

In the arts world, creative projects have managers (choreographers, certainly, fulfill this role) but on the administrative side things are not so clear.  Many administrative “projects” do not have managers per se other than the organizational directors.  Without a defined project manager, collaborations tend to get bogged down and become more trouble, sometimes, than they are worth.  Then around final report time, grantmakers are asked to go into the back room and sprinkle pixie dust all over everything to make it sound good.  Grantmakers get tired of reading “spin,” and everyone wonders what the real outcomes are for the money invested.

Projects are led by a  Scrum Master in the Agile framework.  The Scrum Master functions as a team coach.  He/she is responsible for facilitating meetings, listening to reports from the team, identifying obstacles to getting the work completed and removing them, and helping the team understand any changes in specifications as the customer/stakeholder’s wishes become increasingly better understood.

Another important function of the Scrum Master is to lead a retrospective at the conclusion of a sprint.  This will be a familiar concept to performing arts administrators, similar to a “post-mortem” after a production.  The retrospective is focused on three simple questions:

•    What went well?
•    What did not go so well?
•    How can we improve?

Answering these questions makes the next planning process rather a no-brainer, as the next set of work becomes mapped out and refined automatically.  Agile teams are self-organized in that each team member has an intrinsic commitment to accomplishing the goals of the sprint, and the Scrum Master functions as a coach rather than a dictator, taskmaster, or guy/gal with a club.

Bottom line: Agile management is focused on teams rather than individuals, but individuals and interactions matter more than processes and tools for getting work done.

Why is Agile relevant to the arts?

This appears to be a watershed moment: alongside the eternal cry that arts organizations should become ever more businesslike in a traditional, fiscally buttoned-up sense, businesses are now striving to be more and more creative, to think and operate more like artists.  The cultural membrane is stretched very thin right now between non-profit and for-profit forms of innovation, minimizing their differences.  As a result, producers and practitioners of all kinds can meet and profit from the exchange of ideas on a more level intellectual playing field than ever before, where no one sector is presumed to have all the correct answers and mutually meaningful collaborative learning can take place.

Focus here on the Agile framework represents one set of specifics in that vein.  The arts community itself must determine its ultimate relevance and usefulness.

Further information on the Agile framework and Scrum training is available at bigvisible.com and scrumalliance.org.

Please provide feedback on this article and related topics here or to elibux@juno.com.  MANY THANKS.

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