Friday, October 30, 2009

Reminder: Certified ScrumMaster for VG course in SF soon

10 days left until the course in San Francisco November 10 & 11.

Open seats are filling. See you there!

The "Double Standard of Scrum" Myth

I frequently hear the following concern about Scrum from developers considering it:

"We hear one of two things about Scrum. Either Scrum was successful or if the project using it failed, it did so because they weren't using Scrum correctly."

This double standard creates justified skepticism on their part. This is a reaction to the Silver Bullet Myth.

My response is that Scrum can't be blamed for failure or even credited with success. Teams succeed or fail due to many factors: technology, capability, vision, communication, collaboration, talent or even the underlying idea of the game. Scrum creates transparency into how well these elements are working, often in a measurable way, but that's all. It doesn't prescribe what to do when sprints repeatedly show the game isn't fun or the velocity of the team is low. In some cases, the best you can hope for is to "fail fast".

Success is challenging. The reason is that everyone shares the same goal of success and that raises the bar. It demands talent, passion, diligence and focus if you hope to make a better game that will stand above in the competition to capture sales. For this reason, there will never be a predefined process for creating successful new games.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Montreal VG ScrumMaster Course November 18-19

Are you looking to energize your teams, reduce costs and increase performance? Has crunch, missed schedules and budgets become harder to avoid? Scrum and agile practices have helped many studios improve product development and the workplace environment.

Learn to establish and improve Scrum in your studio by becoming a ScrumMaster in the only workshop that focuses on game development from the Certified Scrum Trainer with 15 years of game development experience.

This two-day course provides the fundamental principles of Scrum through hands-on experience and interactive project simulation. During the course, attendees will learn why such a seemingly simple process as Scrum can have such profound effects on an organization.

Attendees learn to apply practical, project-proven practices that have worked for numerous video game projects
  • The essentials of getting a project off on the right foot
  • How to build a product backlog and plan releases
  • How to help both new and experienced teams be more successful
  • How to successfully scale Scrum to large, multi-continent projects with team sizes in the hundreds
  • How to help producers, artists, designers and programmers work together effectively
  • How to work with publishers and others outside the team who may not be familiar with Scrum
  • Tips and tricks from an instructor with 15 years of game development experience and 5 years of experience applying Scrum to game development

Participants who successfully complete the course, will become Certified ScrumMasters through the Scrum Alliance and receive a two-year membership in the organization where additional ScrumMaster-only material and information are available.

Pricing and Availability

The Certified Scrum Master for Game Development Course is being held just after the Montreal Game Summit on November 18th-19th. The course has limited seating and is available for $1600 by visiting
Discounts are available for members of the Alliance Numerique or groups of four or more.

More details for the course material can be found at

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Limits of Lean

Jurgen Appelo has posted yet another well written and insightful blog entry, this one called The Danger of Lean: Ignoring Social Complexity. He identifies that Lean Development methods do not emphasize teams and collaboration:

Just pick your average Lean software development book, go to the index, and try to find references to concepts like motivation, creativity, innovation, personality, or fun. You probably won’t succeed.