Why I use Agile Scrum throughout DanceGRiST

Carole Edrich smiling while presenting. She has long dark hair with a white streak and you can just about see her silver glassses used as a hairband. She is mixed race light skinned and looks around 40.
Carole Edrich presenting at the RSA, photograph (c) Pete Jenkins.

This post outlines why I use Agile Scrum throughout DanceGRiST, an organisation comprised of creative freelancers. I have written it so that everyone gets the same introduction to the ideas and approach I use, along with its value for DanceGRiST, for our creative freelance members, for our clients and other stakeholders.

So what is a Scrum Team

A scrum team is a group or team of collaborators working together with a common objective. Normally the team is between 5 and 9 people who collaborate to achieve a specific outcome. Each scrum team has:

– a scrum master whose principal role is to remove impediments and make things easier for the team

– a product owner whose principal role is to keep the project on track in terms of the final outcome, and to maintain the roadmap or route that will get the results

– team members who have different skills, approaches and disciplines.

There is no rank or hierarchy within a scrum team, and in my experience, the more diverse its members, the more exciting the results.

The main reasons I chose Agile Scrum for DanceGRiST and its members

  • Scrum is iterative. This makes the overall way of doing things very close to many performers’ creative processes.
  • Scrum is agile. Because it is created and reviews in iterations (sprints), the team can incorporate responses to real world events quickly.
  • Scrum is non-heirarchic. I believe that many people – creatives in particular – are far more able to produce innovative, exciting and potentially disruptive ideas if they are left alone to do so. The Agile Scrum Framework is the best way I have found to do this.
  • Agile Scrum is a mature, considered framework that enables the team itself to modify how things are done to suit themselves. This means that each team can tweak their processes and approaches as they go, so that the way they work suits them. It does so within a structure that keeps everyone on track.
  • Applied properly the framework stops people feeling the need to reinvent the wheel, and keeps them on track in terms of time, delivery and budget.
lots of mostly female teenagers smiling and looking down into the image. One has a hand making a 'rabbit' sign
One Youth Dance students, image (c) Carole Edrich

New Skills – intentional collateral benefits

  • Learning Agile Scrum  – both the Agile philosophy and the Agile Scrum framework – equips team members with new collaborative skills. I have seen DanceGRiST members incorporate aspects of Scrum into their performance work, into how they manage others, into approaching teachers at their children’s schools. It also gives people a new vocabulary, one that helps them work with sponsors and clients that are don’t traditionally work with – for example – freelance artists, performers, osteopaths, photographers and writers. And yes, I have seen DanceGRiST members from each of that least benefit from and use what they have learned.

Payment for collaborative productivity

  • I have set DanceGRiST up so that people are paid based on their achievements. I believe that payment for time taken rather than what has been done is an archaic system that wastes time on administration. I don’t care how little or how much time team members spend on anything provided they have contributed to the team. Internal team-based rewards are based on contributions, and are agreed by the team. Scrum supports this approach. Sadly many external organisations do not work this way and we have to navigate equitable rewards for all as part of the process.

Keeping the brain turned on 🙂

Have you ever been to a meeting where the people around you have turned their brains off because one or two people are telling them what to do? The psychological term for that is Framing. I believe that Agile Scrum reduces framing-type cognitive bias impacts. It usually takes a while for a team to understand that they really have to work things out between them, but once they do, they all fly!

Want to learn more?

Mood: scary fun. A smiling suspended woman with crash hat and safety clothesholds the hand of a smiling man who seems to be pulling her down. It looks windy and there is a feeling of empty space
teamwork on a zipline, image (c) Carole Edrich

If you are interested in learning more about DanceGRiST and our collaborative teams, including joining a collaborative team to create your own business idea with the potential of bringing you sustainable income with minimal time, sign up at https://mailchi.mp/3efc7310b565/subscribe-here

How we can help you

If you are interested in hearing about how I – and DanceGRiST – can help your team or organisation develop strong, resilient teams, an Agile philosophy and learn Scrum in a way that works for them, contract me here.

Further information

Agile Scrum is so much more than you might imagine. If you are interested in more, there is loads on the internet. You could start with these: