My youngest daughter is obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing, she twirls around the room beaming with joy when it’s on. Unfortunately due to iPlayer it’s on quite a lot, damn you technology! However having to watch nearly all of the episodes did provide some value.

Watching it I can’t help but think that Strictly is a good example of Scrum. Bit of a leap I hear you say! Well maybe but lets take a look.

Strictly has a clear cadence, once a week there is a delivery of value (the amount depending on who is dancing)

Strictly has a clear sprint goal every week a different dance style to learn and master.

Strictly starts with teams, admittedly very small teams of two people. However they are two people with a shared purpose. What’s more the teams contain people of different skill levels and expertise working towards a common goal. Doesn’t matter what you can and can’t do, as a team we will achieve.

Strictly has the mother of all sprint reviews. The teams not only demo their product but they also tell the story of their sprint. What it means to them. What worked and what did not. The stakeholders give feedback to allow the team to improve and understand what the value proposition is.

You don’t see it but I’m sure there is constant feedback with-in the team. There is also small iterative deliverables towards the sprint goal. Learn this move, then put that together with this, etc.

Retrospectives, well I’ve heard some contestants talking of watching performances back and reviewing what went well and what did not.

Strictly teams epitomise the Scrum vales:

  • Courage, you wouldn’t get me out there in spandex. Chances are you are going to get negative feedback at some point.
  • Focus, when they are performing it requires complete focus on mind and body
  • Openness, they are filmed attempting and failing. There is no hiding from the story
  • Respect, you can see the admiration and respect the team members have for each other but also for all the other teams.
  • Commitment, it must take a lot to put yourself through that both physically and mentally. They are each putting the outcome before their own personal needs.

Finally it’s clear to see that each team has purpose, a clear and obvious one. They gain enjoyment form the struggle to master each dance style. They have complete autonomy of the teams in how they deliver each style. This creates visible motivation and joy of those that participate. How often do we manage to achieve that in the work place?

So next time you are working with a team who want to know what Scrum is (there is a song in there somewhere) tell them. It’s Strictly Come Dancing.

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