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Scrum for Video Game Development

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Scrum and Agile for Video Game Development

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Scrum for Video Game Development

  1. 1. Scrum for Video Game Development Presented by Clinton Keith
  2. 2. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Clinton Keith Ve t e r a n V i d e o G a m e D e v e l o p e r w i t h o ver 20 years of professional game development exper ience Intro duce d the Vi deo Game Indu str y to Ag ile, Scrum and Lean Tr a i n e d a n d c o a c h e d at o v e r 8 0 s tu d ios since 2008 Author of “Agile Game Development with Scrum
  3. 3. What is agile? • It’s a method for developing products using short iterations • Each iteration is like a short project in itself • Uses “inspect and adapt” practices to adjust the project plan • It focuses on adding features in a value prioritized way, rather than a resource prioritized way • It’s a mindset for how to address uncertainty and change and how to respond to how fun your features are (or not) © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  4. 4. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Why Apply Agile to Video Game Development?
  5. 5. Waterfall Atari/Nintendo Alpha/Beta © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Design E3 Demo Preproduction Production Find the Fun First • The video game industry has a long history of iterating to find the fun • As costs and team sizes grew, we focused more on ship dates and budgets • As a result, quality is compromised and risks aren’t explored % of fun found in in development
  6. 6. The Agile Manifesto (for game development) We are uncovering better ways of developing games by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions Process and Tools Working game Publisher/Stakeholder collaboration Responding to change Design documentation Fixed scope, schedule and budgets Following a plan over over over over That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
  7. 7. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Scrum Overview
  8. 8. What is Scrum? • A framework to enable rapid and iterative © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith development • A focus on not only improving our games, but the methods we use to make them and the environment we make them in • Produces a demonstrable working & improved game every one to three weeks • Team commitment and result oriented • Not a silver bullet • Has a long history of success on a wide variety of projects, including video game development
  9. 9. Scrum for Video Games “Scrum facilitates feature iteration, allowing teams to deliver polished, tuned and integrated features which can be used to test the creative quality of the game throughout its development, allowing the team to incorporate audience feedback as early as possible in the development process.” © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Chris Ulm Chief Designer High Moon Studios
  10. 10. © 2009-2014 Clinton Keith Scrum Daily Product backlog Scrum Sprint planning Sprint review Sprint backlog Improved Game Sprint goal Jump Swim Fly Crouch Sprint 1-­‐3 week Time-­‐box Sprint Retrospective
  11. 11. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith The Scrum Team Product Owner Scrum Master Developers
  12. 12. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Product Owner Duties •Maintains the product backlog •Continuous prioritization and refinement •Conveys a shared vision •Represents the customers and shareholders •Participates in all Scrum meetings •Accepts or rejects sprint results
  13. 13. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith The ScrumMaster Duties •Remove impediments •Protects the team •Ensures all Scrum artifacts exist •Facilitates Scrum meetings •Support and guide the PO role •Coaches & guides the team on agile/Scrum principles
  14. 14. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith The Team Duties •Organized around release goals •Plans the sprint backlog •Commits to sprint goal with Product Owner •Does everything necessary to achieve sprint goal •Removes most impediments •Manages the sprint backlog •Attends all sprint meetings
  15. 15. Why do this? • Fun (quality) can’t be fully planned & scheduled • We have to “find it” • Creative knowledge workers do best when: • They have some ownership of the work • They are learning & growing as crafts-people • Not assembly-line workers • They are part of a team with good chemistry • They are not overwhelmed to the point of compromising quality © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  16. 16. The Adoption Roadmap © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Journeyman • 12-24 months • Faster integrations • Better testing • Release planning Apprentice • 3-12 months • Daily Scrums • Iterations • Roles Master • Never ends • Self organization • 100% customization Continuous improvement Definition of Done Trust & Ownership
  17. 17. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith The Pro d u ct Back log
  18. 18. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Product backlog • The requirements • A list of all desired work on the project • Ideally expressed such that each item has value to the users or customers of the product • Prioritized by the product owner • Reprioritized at the start of This is the each sprint product backlog
  19. 19. High © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Sprint Milestone Priority Low Future Releases Value Cost Risk Knowledge The Product Backlog Iceberg Product Owner
  20. 20. One or more sentences in the everyday language of the end user that captures © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith User Stories what the user wants Use this template “As a <user role>, I want <goal> so that <reason>.”
  21. 21. Some sample user stories As a player I want punches, reactions and blocks synchronized, so that fighting looks natural and realistic As a player I want to know which of my friends are playing this game © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith As a content creator, I want the asset validation process to recompile scripts so that I know if some of them reference deleted assets.
  22. 22. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Sprints
  23. 23. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Sprints • Scrum projects make progress in a series of sprints • During the sprint, the team does • Animation • Coding • Testing • Level design • and so on • After each sprint, game can be played / demoed This is the sprint
  24. 24. Always deliver • You must have a potentially demoable / playable game at the end of each sprint • Do not miss the end of the sprint • The deadline is sacred • Functionality may vary © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  25. 25. Team commitment • The team picks the work they’ll do in a sprint • Which items • How many • The team commits to the product owner to complete what they select • It’s a team commitment, not a set of individual commitments • Has authority to do whatever is needed to meet this commitment • Demonstrates to the product owner the completed work at the sprint review © 2003–2011 Clinton Keith
  26. 26. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Scrum meetings Sprint Retrospective Daily Scrums Sprint Review Meeting Sprint Planning Meeting Sprint Planning Meeting • Body Text with a bullet and
  27. 27. A Typical 2- Week Sprint Calendar/Cadence M T W T F 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith +1 Sprint planning Sprint review and retrospective Sprint planning
  28. 28. Sprint Planning Meeting • Team selects items from the product backlog they can commit to completing • Sprint backlog is created • Tasks are identified and each is estimated (1-16 hours) • Collaboratively, not done alone by the ScrumMaster • Very high-level design is considered As a player I want punches, reactions and blocks synchronized, so that fighting looks natural and realistic Create close punch animations (12 hours) Tune attack percentage in AI (4) Remap controls so attacks are on free buttons (4) Tune block and reaction animations to be same length (2) © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  29. 29. Managing the sprint backlog • Individuals sign up for work of their own choosing • Work is never assigned • Estimated work remaining is updated daily • Any team member can add, delete or change the sprint backlog • Work for the sprint emerges • If work is unclear, define a sprint backlog item with a larger © 2003–2011 Clinton Keith amount of time • Break it down later • Update work remaining as either • More is known • Items are worked on
  30. 30. © 2003–2011 Clinton Keith A sprint backlog Tasks Create close punch animations for attackers Create close punch animations for responders Adjust fight navigation Fix camera bouncing off walls Polish audio Mon 8 16 8 12 8 Tues 4 12 16 0 8 Wed Thur 8 4 0 0 8 4 Fri 0 4 10 0 16 0 New task! 0 0 8 8 Tune attack percentage in AI 8 8 8 0 More time?! Crunch?
  31. 31. Task Boards Contain the Sprint Backlog Test the... MC 8 © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Story To Do As a user, I... 8 points In Process To Verify Done Code the... 9 Code the... 2 Test the... 8 As a user, I... 5 points Code the... 8 Code the... C o d e t h e4... 6 Code the... 4 Test the... 8 Code the... 8 Code the... MC 4 Test the... SC 8 Code the... DC 8 Test the... SC 8 Code the... LC 8 Test the... SC 4 Test the... 8 Code the... 8 Test the... 4 Test the... 8
  32. 32. Example Task Board Burndown Chart © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  33. 33. Burndown charts • A common method of tracking progress • A burndown chart shows how much work is © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith left as of various dates 1,000 800 600 400 200 0 4/29/02 5/6/02 5/13/02 5/20/02 5/24/02
  34. 34. Everyone answers 3 questions 1 What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? 2 Is anything in your way? 3 • These are not status for the ScrumMaster • They are commitments in front of peers
  35. 35. The Sprint Review • Team presents what it accomplished during the sprint • Typically takes the form of a demo of new features or underlying architecture • Informal • 2-hour prep time rule • No slides • Whole team participates • Invite the world © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  36. 36. Sprint Retrospective • Periodically take a look at what is and is not © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith working • Typically 15–30 minutes • Done after every sprint • Whole team participates • ScrumMaster • Product owner • Team • Possibly customers and others
  37. 37. Start / Stop / Continue • Whole team gathers and discusses what they’d © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith like to: Start doing Stop doing Continue doing
  38. 38. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Releases - Definition Sprint 1 Sprint 2 Sprint 3 Sprint 4 Sprint 5 Sprint 6 Release Sprint 7 Sprint 8 Sprint 9 Sprint 10 Sprint 11 Sprint 12 Release
  39. 39. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Long-Term Planning
  40. 40. Release planning on long projects • On a multi-year game, break the total project into a series of shorter interim internal “releases” • Three months is a good horizon • For each release, establish one or a few BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) • “Epic” user stories work well for this, such as: • As a player I want online multiplayer so I can connect to the internet and play against other players online. • As a player I want to engage enemies in hand-to-hand combat. • As a player I want to drive a car around the city. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  41. 41. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith A likely sequence Sprint 1 Sprint 2 Sprint 3 Sprint 4 Sprint 5 Sprint 6 Release 1 Sprint 7 Hardening Sprint Sprint 8 Sprint 9 Sprint 10 Sprint 11 Hardening Sprint Release 2
  42. 42. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Managing Releases • Scope, schedule and cost are managed by frequently measuring true progress against the plan. • True progress is based on scope delivered with quality • The plan has to reconciled with the emergence of what we learn is making the game great.
  43. 43. Agile is Better at Hitting Fixed Dates • Agile addresses value, cost, risk and quality up front • As opposed to addressing those aspects at the end of a project and having the answers delay or compromise the game. • Agile embraces empirical process control • Frequent metrics inform stakeholders early on cost, schedule and scope progress against targets, which help them make timely decisions. "Implementation of a true Agile Scrum has greatly transformed the teams to become much more predictable than we ever had been prior. With our fixed dates, this predictability has been invaluable as it has greatly helped with proper scoping and priority" - Brian Graham, Director of Product Development, EA, Madden NFL 2006 - 2009 © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  44. 44. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Scaling Scrum
  45. 45. Scalability • Most games require more than one Scrum team to build. • Scrum is designed to be scaled • Scalability comes from teams of teams • Factors in scaling • Logical division of work • Team size • Team dispersion © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  46. 46. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Practices for Scaling • Scrum-of-Scrum Meeting • Representatives from each team meet on a regular basis to address dependencies and inter-team issues. • Aligning Sprint dates • Sharing a common backlog • Using a hierarchy of Product Owners
  47. 47. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Scrum of scrums
  48. 48. Running the scrum of scrums Attendees • Each team sends an individual contributor • If four or fewer teams, it’s OK to send a © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith ScrumMaster also • Rotate based on whose skills are needed most Frequency • Some say daily • I usually do these MWF or TuTh • These are problem-solving meetings • Not time-boxed to 15 minutes Agenda • Everyone answers four questions • Attendees discuss the product backlog for the scrum of scrums
  49. 49. Share start and end dates • Don’t stagger sprints like this: Team 3 Team 3 © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith Team 1 Team 1 Team 2 Team 2 • Synchronize sprint starts instead Team 1 Team 1 Team 2 Team 2 Team 3 Team 3 Start Finish Start Finish
  50. 50. Use a Shared Product Backlog © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith View Online View Single player
  51. 51. A hierarchy of product owners Visionaries for global/local products All members of their teams Game PO works with feature/functional product owners to establish vision and priorities for their teams
  52. 52. Augment with Community of Practice Teams • Beyond a certain team size, augment the team structure with virtual teams • Programming team • Audio team • AI team • Informal or semi-formal at best • Meet periodically • Discuss and resolve issues related to their specialty • e.g how to solve common AI problems © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  53. 53. Programmers Animators Testers Audio engineers ScrumMasters © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  54. 54. Reference Material Essential books for agile practitioners: Agile Game Development with Scrum, Clinton Keith Agile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn Succeeding with Agile, Mike Cohn Lean from the Trenches, Henrick Kniberg Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber Agile Retrospectives, Ester Derby & Diana Larsen Innovation Games, Luke Hohmann Websites: www.clintonkeith.com - My website, which contains numerous resources for applying Scrum and agile to video game development. agileatlas.org - The Agile Atlas - This website, supported by the Scrum Alliance, contains the definition of Scrum taught by SA trainers and is the basis for the CSM exam. www.scrumalliance.org - The Scrum Alliance - The non-profit organization that owns the Scrum certifications. www.mountaingoatsoftware.com - Mike Cohn’s website, which contains numerous resources for applying Scrum and agile practices. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith
  55. 55. © 2008–2014 Clinton Keith My contact info Clinton Keith Clint@ClintonKeith.com www.ClintonKeith.com

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