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Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team
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Customer-Provider Philosophy Applied Within the Agile Team

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The first principle behind the agile manifesto is to satisfy the customer early and often through continuous deliveries. This means you need to involve the customer to ensure that what will be done, …

The first principle behind the agile manifesto is to satisfy the customer early and often through continuous deliveries. This means you need to involve the customer to ensure that what will be done, what is being done and what has been delivered maximizes value out of the effort provided. When Ludia put into practice agile methodologies, switching to a full-on Scrum framework, we realized that the benefits of customer-centric thinking were an important ingredient in generating maximum productivity accross all team members. Simply put, you must find who the customer is for any given effort to ensure that the person behind the effort has clear objectives, clear deadlines and clear acceptance criteria. Without this structure, agile methodologies can degenerate into a framework that becomes too casual, responsible for wasted time and energies.

Learning Objectives

- Learn about the Ludia experience and what worked and what didn’t work in their agile implementation.
- Take away specific processes that can be applied immediately to whatever production framework is in place.
- Realize the importance of a customer-provider philosophy applied to any task, deliverable or milestone to motivate the team, focus efforts and augment quality.


About Thiéry Adam


Thiéry Adam has a background in comics, film animation, game design and project management. He is a certified Project Management Professional and a Certified Scrum Master. He has taught and assemble new course materials for two game development colleges. He is a currently a producer at Ludia.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • May not be as severea problem for Ludia, but ROI isvery important atourscale.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Customer-Provider PhilosophyApplied Within the Agile TeamPresented by Thiéry AdamProducer at LudiaMontreal International Game SummitNovember 1st 2011 Theme by presentermedia.com
    • 2. Agenda 1 A Bit of Context – Who am I & what is Ludia? 2 The Scrum Challenge– Initial adaption reactions 3 Hindsight Epiphanies – What we now realize 4 Iteration Makes Perfect – Setting up the next projects 5 Take it away – Key bullet points to bring home 1h35
    • 3. 1. A Bit of Context Who am I?• Education: • College: Comics (DEC) • Undergraduate: Film Animation (BFA) • Graduate: Project Management (MGP)• Certification: • Project Management Professional (PMP) • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)• Worked: • For: Ubisoft, Ludia • With: very various distribution, development & licensing partners.
    • 4. 1. A Bit of Context What is Ludia?• Ludia creates and distributes • Ludia usually acquires cross-platform interactive television brand rights and entertainment with mass finances their game adaptation. consumer appeal.
    • 5. 1. A Bit of Context Ludia Development Pre-Agile• Waterfall Gantt Charts for the entire project • Traditional milestone definitions • Buffer periods per milestone. • Producers tour the team to update the schedule to reflect time actually spent on tasks.• Problems: • Heavy design & planning up-front. • Poor schedule control & prediction, affecting cost & quality.
    • 6. Agenda 1 A Bit of Context – Who am I & what is Ludia? 2 The Scrum Challenge– Initial adaption reactions 3 Hindsight Epiphanies – What we now realize 4 Iteration Makes Perfect – Setting up the next projects 5 Take it away – Key bullet points to bring home 1h40
    • 7. 2. The Scrum Challenge So we decided to go from semi-agile to formally trained agile.• Core agile values (from the manifesto): • Individuals & interactions over processes and tools. • Working software over comprehensive documentation • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation • Responding to change over following a plan.• ... Kind of sounds like hippie philosophy!
    • 8. 2. The Scrum Challenge Scrum is the methodology we investigated to become agile.• Scrum is an agile framework: • Organize the project into 2-4 week sprints • Each sprint executes a chosen portion of the product backlog • Review “shippable” software with customer every sprint • Scrum enthusiasm required: • Amazing benefits promised to those who fully embrace the system • “10x the value produced vs. waterfall!“ • Half-heartedness is the reason Scrum fails.• ... Kind of sounds like a cult pitch!
    • 9. 2. The Scrum Challenge We were game, but we had concerns.• Scrum would allow us to create products of a higher quality, but of a smaller scope.• No one knows what the finished product will be, as we decide only one sprint at a time.• Scrum will only work if the team is mature enough to self-organize.• This is why you need your development head to also go to the training, otherwise there may be too much adoption resistance!
    • 10. Agenda 1 A Bit of Context – Who am I & what is Ludia? 2 The Scrum Challenge – Initial adaption reactions 3 Hindsight Epiphanies – What we now realize 4 Iteration Makes Perfect – Setting up the next projects 5 Take it away – Key bullet points to bring home 1h45
    • 11. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (1/4): Sprints vs. Awareness• In an ideal world, the team would be able to keep the big picture and the details in mind all at once.• In reality, immediate gets confused for important.• Sprints allocate importance to intermediate objectives.• Immediate-only details: • Create a clear objective to every sprint, • Only go into details with the team & editorial regarding that immediate objective.
    • 12. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (1/4): Sprints vs. Awareness (example)• American Idol Star Experience was an ambitious project, both in scope and innovation. • We had the team working on too many features at once. • Too much time was spent on lower priorities, both with the team and editorial.• Result: • It took a long time before everyone had a unified game vision. • Many features thought necessary ended up cut.
    • 13. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (2/4): Overpolish vs. Timeboxing• Polishing in priority order ensures a high level of quality on core features.• Unfortunately, a scope probably has to contain more than just the core.• Uneven polish will make the less polished areas look buggy by contrast!• Keep it moving: • The team will find the best quality per hour when they have a clear time limit. • The product owner must keep saying “where can we best spend our time right now?”
    • 14. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (2/4): Overpolish vs. Timeboxing (example)• In Family Feud 2012, we wanted high energy full cinematography. • A lot of effort went into the animation, camera & render. • … but we ran out of time when it came to speech bubbles and lip synch!• In the end result, players focus more on those flaws than all the incredible work that went into the best features.
    • 15. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (3/4): Commitment vs. External Reviews• Within a team, we tend to prefer slipping deliveries dates to compromising vision.• With a delivery promised to an external party, we try harder to find the best vision for the date.• Internal reviews should be done from the promise’s intention, without limiting its• interpretation. High level commitments: • Promise the “what”, to commit the team to delivering value. • Let the team determine “how” and they will figure out the best value per effort.
    • 16. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (3/4): Commitment vs. External Reviews (example)• For our upcoming Jurassic Park social game, we committed to a calendar of sprint objectives. • Sprint objectives describe broadly what we will present every two weeks. • For example, one sprint is called “interacting with dinosaurs” and another “update to visual target”.• By keeping in mind that deliveries will be evaluated by people outside the project, figuring quality on time is a constant.
    • 17. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (4/4): Value vs. Certainty• Agile describes working software as the measure of value delivered.• Creative video games have more uncertainty than the traditional software development project.• Lack of confidence in the vision, can become very costly as project direction waivers.• Plan to deliver maximized certainty: • List everyone’s worries and sort them by gravity. • Plan the sprints in a way to reduce as much uncertainty per effort.
    • 18. 3. Hindsight Epiphanies Oh, now we get it (4/4): Value vs. Certainty (example)• The Bachelor The Videogame was the first collaboration between Warner Bros. and Ludia • Their main concerns were brand fidelity and game tone. • Cut-scenes rather than gameplay were the early deliveries, building confidence and excitement.• A confident partner will help find opportunities and provide constructive criticism that lines up better with production.
    • 19. Agenda 1 A Bit of Context – Who am I & what is Ludia? 2 The Scrum Challenge – Initial adaption reactions 3 Hindsight Epiphanies – What we now realize 4 Iteration Makes Perfect – Setting up the next projects 5 Take it away – Key bullet points to bring home 2h00
    • 20. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect So what are Ludia’s current best practices?• Regular sharing of problems encountered and evolving team methodologies. • Producers convene every week and share stories from any project. • Sprint, milestone and project end postmortems ensure team members also take the time to reflect formally. • Always be ready to challenge and adapt according to each team and project context.
    • 21. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect (1/5) Identifying the project context• You need an external client (editorial, licensor, distributor, etc.). • Because value is too often subjective, you need an external authority to serve as an objective • This client the team.be fully target for needs to detached, so they can evaluate results without the influence of context. • You need to make the client appear credible and interested at every sprint.
    • 22. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect (2/5) Identifying value• Project confidence is the main client value to be generated. • Identify client and team uncertainties, and turn them into sprint objectives. • Identify the best way to address “just enough” those worries. • From presentations to resource calendars, software is not necessarily the easiest way to generate confidence.
    • 23. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect (3/5) Generating momentum• Firm time boxes ensure the most value generation per effort. • Avoid sequential sprints that work on the same elements. It tends to encourage slipping. • Limited time motivates the team to figure out the best “good enough” across more objectives. • Every once in a while slip in polish sprints, where the top improvements on existing elements are selected, evening out the quality.
    • 24. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect (4/5) Keeping the “what” and the “how” separate on the board Larger cardboards represent goals set by the P.O., based upon commitments with the client. Smaller cardboards are the tasks that represent the team’s best plan to attain the desired result.
    • 25. 4. Iteration Makes Perfect (5/5) Identifying the team context• You need an internal client (i.e. the Product Owner). • Could be a structure of lead designer, artist or producer, so long as they are not judges of their own work. • To ensure that the team does not slip to subjective value or lose perspective, only a P.O. can call a task done. • “Done” is an evaluation of effort versus value. “Should we keep working on this or is our time better spent working on the next priority?”
    • 26. Agenda 1 A Bit of Context – Who am I & what is Ludia? 2 The Scrum Challenge – Initial adaption reactions 3 Hindsight Epiphanies – What we now realize 4 Iteration Makes Perfect – Setting up the next projects 5 Take it away – Key bullet points to bring home 2h10
    • 27. 5. Take it away Since we tend to lose a vision in the details… The top three things to remember are: 1. Scrum is a tool to work with human characteristics. 2. It’s all about finding an objective value reference. 3. Carry the client perspective into the team.
    • 28. Any questions?
    • 29. Thank you!

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