Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She also writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik. Find out how you can be a guest author.
Last week, we talked about Chickens and Pigs -- our art dealers/galleries are chickens and we artists are pigs. If you didn't get a chance to read last week's post, click here. It'll explain all about these animals and how they relate to our business. If you don't feel like clicking back, let me just say that Chickens provide eggs and pigs provide ham. The gallery owner doesn't lose much if they lose one artist. An artist (the pig) provides paintings which make or break him/her. Our "hams" are on the line.
The Product Owner/Manager = Gallerist
With Scrum, the product owner or project manager communicates with the client - in fact this person is "the voice" of the client. He knows what his clients want, and more often than not, the gallerist represents the collector's interests rather than the artists. Without collectors, a gallery will not survive. The gallery can always get more artists, but attracting qualified collectors is their main aim.
The Scrum Master = Accountability Partner
This person protects the team (pig/artist) from the product owner (PO). Scrum masters do not tell the team what to do, they are merely there to help facilitate productivity and remove obstacles or "impediments" to the getting the project done. My husband is my scrum master - this is useful because he understands the process of scrum from his software based work environment. He essentially is a supportive partner whom I meet with often for a short overview where we ask three questions
1. What did I accomplish today? 2. What do I plan for tomorrow? 3.What got in my way today? (impediments).
It's my scrum master's job to help me work through the impediments, help keep me focused on my current goals (usually for the week), and cheer me on. Scrum masters do not criticize - they are helpful cheerleaders who are partners in productivity. On occasion, my SC (scrum master) may help offload business tasks by doing them himself. We are a team who gets the job done.
If my husband were not able to fill this role without being controlling, I would opt to hire a really good friend (preferably not an artist who is in competition with me, but someone who understands my process). This could be a volunteer or even a paid coach. I like the volunteer route - saves me a lot of money, but I've hired coaches in the past, and they are worth the price.
The Team's Role: (I am "the team").
In a software environment, the team is made up of 4-9 people -architects, engineers, QA testers, etc. Unfortunately for artists, we are our entire team. It's up to us to plan, design, make, test, and package/ship our products. Wow... I'm tired already. As soon as I am able, I'll hire a framer and shipper.
My relationship to the Product Owner = Gallerist
If I'm hiring someone else to sell my work - a dealer or gallery, I need to take into account that they usually represent collectors' wants before the interests of their artists. With a software project, the PO sets a list of standards or requirements based on customer wants/needs and presents these requirements to the team. Then it's the team's job to create a "to do" list (Sprint Backlog) based on customer requirements. It's also the team's job to figure out HOW to meet those requirements efficiently.
So here's where the analogy between software development and art departs. As the owner of my own business, I am not the gallerist's employee. I want to work in my own style and subject matter - not giving the gallerist too much power over what I produce. In essence, where art is concerned, the gallerist finds artists to match their clients' needs. On occasion, the gallerist may opt to take on a new artist and promote him/her to clients, but usually, the gallery tries to find artists whom the clients already want to collect.
How I (team) Handle Collectors' Requirements:
Because I don't want the gallerist to have control of my art content, here's how I meld my wants with potential collectors'. In this sense, I'm the product owner, so I anticipate which collectors will buy my work and why. Here's my list of "assumed" product requirements:
1. Professional quality substrate and materials.
2. Makes an impact from across the room. (competes with many paintings on the wall)
3. Completed in a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the size, I hope to complete a painting in 20-40 hours.
4. Recognizable as "my work" before the signature is seen.
The Sprint = My Painting Project
Here's where it gets really interesting in an organized way... designing my sprint - a locked in time period where I determine to meet the set of requirements listed above. I also decide HOW I will meet my goals for each painting. I do this by making a "sprint backlog"... a detailed "to do" list that will insure my success in a reasonable amount of time. I share my progress with my Scrum Master. The awesome thing about sprints is that I also keep track of difficulties weaknesses and other "impediments" as I sprint along. With each sprint, I improve as an artist! I'll site examples next week. Stay tuned...
Yes, this all may seem cumbersome, but it really works while eliminating confusion - I always know what I need to be working on next as the process limits distractions.