Thursday, January 05, 2017

Advanced Agile Practices Workshop at GDC - Free book

Announcing the “Advanced Agile Game Development Practices” workshop for the 2017 Game Development Conference on Monday February 27th, 2017:
Agile practices are no longer considered experimental, but mainstream, yet many still struggle with them. In this workshop you will learn and share the successful practices and techniques that agile studios have created over the past decade of it's application.
This workshop is intended for game developers, who have used agile practices to share what has worked and what hasn’t with other game developers.

Update: Attendees to this workshop will receive a free copy of the draft of my next book.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Game Play-Throughs During the Sprint

Regular team play-throughs of the game can add a lot of value through improved focus on the sprint goal and increased cross-discipline collaboration.

During the sprint, when the game is in a state where progress can be seen by the team, they hold a play-through of the areas related to the sprint goal.  Anyone can take the controls of the game, but usually it’s not the Scrum Master.  
Depending on the state of a feature or mechanic, the developer who is directly working on what is to be played may show it, but it’s preferable to have someone less family drive the play-through.  This shows areas of where the player interface might be confusing.  
During the play-through, anyone on the team can suggest improvements or identify problems to be fixed.
The duration and frequency of play-throughs can vary.  If they are short, they can be done daily but longer ones once or twice a week work too.

Coaching tips

If the team has nothing to show half-way through the sprint, this is a great opportunity to ask them if there is any way to demonstrate progress earlier.  Earlier play-throughs create more opportunity to take advantage of emergence and to avoid late-sprint crunch and compromise.
Additionally, you may want to invite a senior designer or art director to listen in.  This creates the opportunity for feedback (after the play-through) among the disciplines.   Make sure that people outside the team understand that the play-through is not an opportunity to change the sprint goal.
I've always found that play-throughs held just before the daily scrum or at the end of the day are best (for different reasons).  Experiment!