Tuesday, November 22, 2005

High Moon Studios Receives Workplace Excellence Award

High Moon was noted for its adoption of an innovative product development
methodology known as Scrum. Named after the tight line of scrimmage
formation in rugby, the Scrum method is a process derived from Agile
Methodologies established by software and high-tech R&D companies. Scrum
promotes development through interdisciplinary, non-hierarchal teams who
work in short cycles around demonstrable goals. It addresses the
disciplinary divide among artists, designers and programmers as well as
long development cycles that hinder product evaluation, making it well
suited to game development. Scrum also provides a framework for enhanced
productivity during the course of a standard workweek, giving each team the
ownership to establish its own objectives and a strategy to reach them for
each project cycle.

High Moon Studios, developers of Old West vampire-themed FPS Darkwatch, has received a 2005 Workplace Excellence Award from the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management. The company received a Crystal Award for "Employer of Choice," a category which had 140 other candidates vying for the prize. "We have talented people on staff, and have become accustomed to having their achievements recognized by awards. Yet this award recognizes their satisfaction with being part of High Moon, which makes it an exceptional honor for the entire company," said High Moon CEO John Rowe.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mike Cohn's Agile Estimating and Planning book is out

Mike's new book, Agile Estimating and Planning is out. Mike is our Agile consultant and we've discussed and used his method of estimation and planning for several months now. It's very practical and addresses the main area of concern we have with do we plan?

Scrum Gathering in Boulder

Just returned last night from the Fourth Scrum Gathering in Boulder CO. The purpose of the gathering was for Scrum Masters to get together and "tell stories" about their Scrum experiences: to build the knowledge base. The theme of the gathering was to discuss "Enterprise Scrum". I'm still not 100% on what that really means, but it applies to Scrum being applied to an entire enterprise rather than growing it from the bottom-up at the IT level.

I gave my keynote presentation on Wendesday morning. The game industry has lots of fun stories to tell that apply to traditional waterfall management and we have some fun stories to tell about our Scrum experiences as was a good experience to share those.

The gathering was very informative and enjoyable. The open circle discussion format was effective for creating discussion topics.

Two impressions were reinforced at the gathering that I'd like to note: 1) we share the same challenges and successes that other, very different, companies using Scrum experience and that 2) Scrum is perfect for Video Game Development.

More notes to come. Have a look at the wiki.