Agile Game Development with Scrum

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-05-23
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

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How Scrum and Agile methods can help game developers deliver better games faster, on budget - and start making money and having fun again! bull; bull;Why game development is in crisis - and how Agile methods can bring stability and predictability back to the process. bull;How to successfully adapt Scrum-based Agile best practices to the game industry's unique challenges. bull;Authored by seasoned industry veteran Clinton Keith, the foremost expert on Agile game development; edited by Mike Cohn, world-renowned Agile guru. Game development is in crisis: increasingly, games are too expensive to develop, processes are too complex to manage, and time to market is just too slow. It's no wonder so many game developers are struggling to survive. But there is a solution. Agile methods and the Scrum framework are already helping to transform development outside the game industry; they can do it for game developers, too. This book shows exactly how to successfully adapt Scrum and Agile to the unique arena of game development. Using this book's techniques, programmers and teams can deliver games more efficiently, rapidly, and costeffectively, build games that offer more entertainment value -- and make life more fulfilling for themselves at the same time. Clinton Keith has spent fifteen years developing games, five of them with Scrum and agile methods. Drawing on this exceptional expertise, he first reviews the critical challenges facing today's game development teams. Next, he shows how Scrum can help address those challenges - bringing new stability and predictability to virtually any project. Readers learn to build Agile teams that incorporate programmers, producers, artists, and designers, and promote effective collaboration within and beyond those teams. From long-range planning to tracking progress and continuous integration, he offers dozens of tips, tricks, and solutions - all based firmly in reality and hard-won, 'in the trenches' experience.

Author Biography

Clinton Keith is an independent agile coach and Certified Scrum Trainer who helps game developers and nongame developers alike adopt Scrum, Extreme Programming, kanban, and other agile practices to greatly improve their productivity, workplace, and product quality.

Over the course of 25 years, Clint has gone from programming avionics for advanced fighter jets and underwater robots to overseeing programming for
hit video games such as Midtown Madness and Midnight Club. Clint has been a programmer, project director, CTO, and director of product development at
several studios. Through a series of presentations and his popular blog, Clint introduced the video game industry to Scrum in 2005. As CTO, Clint helped High Moon Studios achieve a place on IT Week Magazine’s Top 50 Technology Innovators list in 2005 and 2006 and win several of San Diego Society for HR Management’s Workplace Excellence Awards in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

For more information, visit www.ClintonKeith.com.

Table of Contents

Foreword         xvii

Preface        xix

Acknowledgments         xxiii

About the Author         xxv


Part I: The Problem and the Solution        1

Chapter 1: The Crisis Facing Game Development         3

A Brief History of Game Development  4

The Crisis  10

A Silver Lining  11

Additional Reading  12


Chapter 2: Agile Development        13

Why Projects Are Hard         14

Why Use Agile for Game Development?  20

What an Agile Project Looks Like  28

The Challenge of Agile  32

Additional Reading  32


Part II: Scrum and Agile Planning        33

Chapter 3: Scrum         35

The History of Scrum  36

Scrum Parts  41

Scrum Roles  44

Customers and Stakeholders  54

Chickens and Pigs  55

Scaling Scrum  56

Summary  56

Additional Reading  57


Chapter 4: Sprints        59

The Big Picture  59

Planning  59

Tracking Progress  68

The Daily Scrum Meeting  74

Sprint Reviews  75

Retrospectives  78

Summary  84

Additional Reading  84


Chapter 5: User Stories  85

A Fateful Meeting  85

What Are User Stories?  87

Levels of Detail  88

Conditions of Satisfaction  90

Using Index Cards for User Stories  92

INVEST in User Stories  92

User Roles  97

Defining Done  99

Collecting Stories  100

Advantages of User Stories  103

Summary  105

Additional Reading  105


Chapter 6: Agile Planning  107

Why Agile Planning?  107

The Product Backlog  108

Estimating Story Size  112

Release Planning  117

Summary  124

Additional Reading  124


Part III: Agile Game Development         125

Chapter 7: Video Game Project Planning         127

Midnight Club Story  127

Minimum Required Feature Sets  128

The Need for Stages  130

The Development Stages  130

Mixing the Stages  132

Managing Stages with Releases  132

Production on an Agile Project  134

Summary  155

Additional Reading  155


Chapter 8: Teams         157

Great Teams  158

A Scrum Approach to Teams  159

Game Teams and Collaboration  168

Scaling and Distributing Scrum  173

Summary  188

Additional Reading  188


Chapter 9: Faster Iterations         189

Where Does Iteration Overhead Come From?  190

Measuring and Displaying Iteration Time  191

Personal and Build Iteration  193

Summary  201

Additional Reading  201


Part IV: Agile Disciplines         203

Chapter 10: Agile Technology         205

The Problems  205

An Agile Approach  210

Summary  220

Additional Reading  221


Chapter 11: Agile Art and Audio         223

The Problems We Are Solving with Agile  223

Concerns About Agile  225

Art Leadership  226

Art on a Cross-Discipline Team  227

Summary  232

Additional Reading  233


Chapter 12: Agile Design         235

The Problems  236

Designing with Scrum  237

Summary  247

Additional Reading  247


Chapter 13: Agile QA and Production        249

Agile QA  249

The Role of QA on an Agile Game Team  252

Agile Production  259

Summary  262

Additional Reading  263


Part V: Getting Started . 265

Chapter 14: The Myths and Challenges of Scrum  267

Silver Bullet Myths . 267

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt  269

Scrum Challenges  273

Summary  281

Additional Reading  282


Chapter 15: Working with a Publisher         283

The Challenges  284

Building Trust, Allaying Fear  288

Agile Contracts  293

Summary  300

Additional Reading  300


Chapter 16: Launching Scrum         301

The Three Stages of Adoption  301

Adoption Strategies  317

Summary  324

Additional Reading  324


Conclusion         325

Bibliography        327

Index        329

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