SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Author
Dad
Minecraft
designer/developer/coa
ch
www.crisp.se
Consultant
Henrik
Kniberg
henrik.kniberg@crisp.
se
@HenrikKniberg
Climate
entrepreneurHow we manage Minecraft releases
UXDX Oct 2020
GoClimate.com
00:49
Context
Minecraft in numbers
• Created 2009, initial release 2011
• > 120 million monthly active players
• Player demographic: All ages (but
average age 24)
Henrik Kniberg
Sources:
• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft
• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games
• https://www.pcgamesn.com/minecraft/player-age
• https://www.statista.com/statistics/680124/minecraft-unit-sales-worldwide/
Number of copies sold (in millions)
Two editions of
Minecraft
Henrik Kniberg
Java Edition
• Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux
• Built in Java (duh)
Bedrock Edition
• Runs on Windows, Consoles, Mobile
• Built in C++
but we want it to feel like One Minecraft!
Henrik Kniberg
August 2018, Update Aquatic
Make oceans more
fun!
Make villages more
fun!
April 2019, Village & Pillage update
Spring 2020
Make the Nether dimension
more fun!
Themed releases
Fixed time (ish), variable scope
Snapshots/Betas every week
Henrik Kniberg
Aim for the clouds, but deliver in small steps
Spring 2020
Make the Nether dimension
more fun!
2 week sprint 2 week sprint 2 week sprint
Some of our challenges
Henrik Kniberg
Java/Bedrock
parity & sync
VERY wide range of
user play styles to
support
Dependencies
between
features
1 + 1 + 1 = 10
Scope management –
maximizing the Fun of
the release
Cross-team alignment
... and more
Handling change
00:49
Exploring the
design space
The bucket can only fit so much
Ideas are never the bottleneck
Henrik Kniberg
How much we CAN build
in the given timeframe
Next
releas
e
Infinite pile of exciting and
wonderful features we want
to build
Choose
wisely!
Finding the Awesome
Henrik Kniberg
Fun Technically feasible
Fits with the
theme of the
update
Gameplay Tech
Gameplay should both drive tech and be constrained by it
Henrik Kniberg
Gameplay Tech
Where is
the Fun?
How do we
implement
it?
Adapt the tech to what we want
Adapt what we want to the tech we have
Exploring the design space of a feature
Henrik Kniberg
Gameplay value
Technical cost/risk/uncertainty
High
Low
HighLow
meh
Each feature is a hypothesis
Henrik Kniberg
Gameplay value
Technical cost/risk/uncertainty
High
Low
HighLow
Feature A
(hypothesis)
Feature C
(hypothesis) Feature B
(hypothesis)
Next
releas
e
Remember, the bucket
can only fit so much!
Exploring the design space of a feature
Using prototyping and snapshots
Henrik Kniberg
? = Hypothesis
about gameplay value and technical cost/risk/uncer
! = Validation (prototype)
what the prototype indicates
! = Validation (beta/snapshot)
how it actually turned out
?
Hypothesis
!
Prototype
!
Prototype
?
Hypothesis
?
Hypothesis
!
Snapshot
!
Snapshot
Gameplay value
Technical cost/risk/uncertainty
High
Low
HighLow
KYD
Henrik Kniberg
?
Hypothesis
!
Prototype
?
Hypothesis
Gameplay value
Technical cost/risk/uncertainty
High
Low
HighLow
!
Prototype
My darling
00:49
How we stay
aligned
How can we avoid misalignment and suboptimization?
Henrik Kniberg
WTF! You guys are
building a
BRIDGE?
Henrik Kniberg
WTF! You guys are
building a TUNNEL?
Universal remedy: Visual Management + Self-organization!
Henrik Kniberg
Feature
A
Feature
B
Feature
C
Feature
D
Feature
H
Feature
E
Feature
F
Feature
G
Doing DoneTo Do
But wait... what does
Done mean for us?
And what about the
two editions of the
game?
The Vanilla Dashboard
Henrik Kniberg
Vanilla Dashboard is a tool and process
to help us stay aligned!
How We Manage Releases at Minecraft
Digital version (because covid...)
23
Great tool for this:
Miro.com
Digital version (because covid...)
24
Each column is a high-level feature (in prio
order)
Features are grouped into MLP
(Minimum Lovable Product)
Would we delay
the release for
this?
Should feel
ridiculously easy to
finish MLP in time
for release.
Something we
could stand for
We’re pretty sure
some of these will
be done
But we don’t know how
many, and won’t bother
trying to predict it
MLP Not MLP
Each feature has an MLF
(Minimum Lovable Feature)
27
MLF
Not MLF
Piglin Piglin extras
Guiding question:
”Would we risk the
next feature for this?”
Minimum set of
sub-features that
make this feature
lovable
To manage scope creep
Non MLF sub-
features can be
placed on a separate
note, beyond the MLP
line
MLP
4 levels of Doneness
+ status ”progress bars”
28
Green doesn’t mean Done Forever! It
just means Done enough for now,
and may change later.
Recent change:
• Renamed Runnable to Playable (on production code)
• Moved prototyping to be part of Designed
Green note = Done
(or done enough
for now
Blue note =
WIP (Work in
Progress)
Speech
bubble =
problem or
blocked
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
Estimate
(S/M/L)
This gives us a quick sense of how we are
doing
What order to do things in?
30
Feature
A
Feature
B
Feature
C
Feature
D
Feature
E
Feature
F
Feature
G
Feature
H
Feature
I
MLP
Designed
Playable
Snapshotable
Releasable
Theoretical Lean Ideal
One piece flow, start from highest prio feature
and finish it 100% before starting the next one
31
Feature
A
Feature
B
Feature
C
Feature
D
Feature
E
Feature
F
Designed
Playable
Snapshotable
Releasable
Feature
G
Feature
H
Feature
I
2 31 4 5
Actual ideal for best gameplay
Design & prototype multiple features in parallell,
so we can ensure the features work together as a system
32
Feature
A
Feature
B
Feature
C
Feature
D
Feature
E
Feature
F
Designed
Playable
Snapshotable
Releasable
Feature
G
Feature
H
Feature
I
1
2
3
4 5
MLP
2 3
Dashboard review every week
33
Open invite. Anyone
at Mojang can join.
Useful if you want to
know or influence
what’s going on
Feature dashboard
Tech dashboards
Java + Bedrock
What enabling
technologies are
needed to ship the
features?
Simple forecasting
count green stickies every week and do the math
34
Confidence checks
35
Great tool for this:
Mentimeter.com
Can we get the currently committed
features done in time?
Should look
something like this, or
the plan is unrealistic
1 = Forget
it!
5 = Definitely! Digital version
T
Wrapup
Visualize what
matters
Transparency
makes everyone
smarter
(and happier!)
MLP & MLF is
very useful for
scope mgmt
Minimum Lovable Product/Feature
Let your system
evolve to your
needs
Release early
& often!
Product
development is all
about learning
and experimenting
Thanks for listening!
Henrik Kniberg
Sep 2020

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How We Manage Releases at Minecraft

  • 3. Minecraft in numbers • Created 2009, initial release 2011 • > 120 million monthly active players • Player demographic: All ages (but average age 24) Henrik Kniberg Sources: • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games • https://www.pcgamesn.com/minecraft/player-age • https://www.statista.com/statistics/680124/minecraft-unit-sales-worldwide/ Number of copies sold (in millions)
  • 4. Two editions of Minecraft Henrik Kniberg Java Edition • Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux • Built in Java (duh) Bedrock Edition • Runs on Windows, Consoles, Mobile • Built in C++ but we want it to feel like One Minecraft!
  • 5. Henrik Kniberg August 2018, Update Aquatic Make oceans more fun! Make villages more fun! April 2019, Village & Pillage update Spring 2020 Make the Nether dimension more fun! Themed releases Fixed time (ish), variable scope
  • 6. Snapshots/Betas every week Henrik Kniberg Aim for the clouds, but deliver in small steps Spring 2020 Make the Nether dimension more fun! 2 week sprint 2 week sprint 2 week sprint
  • 7. Some of our challenges Henrik Kniberg Java/Bedrock parity & sync VERY wide range of user play styles to support Dependencies between features 1 + 1 + 1 = 10 Scope management – maximizing the Fun of the release Cross-team alignment ... and more Handling change
  • 9. The bucket can only fit so much Ideas are never the bottleneck Henrik Kniberg How much we CAN build in the given timeframe Next releas e Infinite pile of exciting and wonderful features we want to build Choose wisely!
  • 10. Finding the Awesome Henrik Kniberg Fun Technically feasible Fits with the theme of the update
  • 11. Gameplay Tech Gameplay should both drive tech and be constrained by it Henrik Kniberg Gameplay Tech Where is the Fun? How do we implement it? Adapt the tech to what we want Adapt what we want to the tech we have
  • 12. Exploring the design space of a feature Henrik Kniberg Gameplay value Technical cost/risk/uncertainty High Low HighLow meh
  • 13. Each feature is a hypothesis Henrik Kniberg Gameplay value Technical cost/risk/uncertainty High Low HighLow Feature A (hypothesis) Feature C (hypothesis) Feature B (hypothesis) Next releas e Remember, the bucket can only fit so much!
  • 14. Exploring the design space of a feature Using prototyping and snapshots Henrik Kniberg ? = Hypothesis about gameplay value and technical cost/risk/uncer ! = Validation (prototype) what the prototype indicates ! = Validation (beta/snapshot) how it actually turned out ? Hypothesis ! Prototype ! Prototype ? Hypothesis ? Hypothesis ! Snapshot ! Snapshot Gameplay value Technical cost/risk/uncertainty High Low HighLow
  • 15. KYD Henrik Kniberg ? Hypothesis ! Prototype ? Hypothesis Gameplay value Technical cost/risk/uncertainty High Low HighLow ! Prototype My darling
  • 17. How can we avoid misalignment and suboptimization? Henrik Kniberg WTF! You guys are building a BRIDGE? Henrik Kniberg WTF! You guys are building a TUNNEL?
  • 18. Universal remedy: Visual Management + Self-organization! Henrik Kniberg Feature A Feature B Feature C Feature D Feature H Feature E Feature F Feature G Doing DoneTo Do But wait... what does Done mean for us? And what about the two editions of the game?
  • 20. Vanilla Dashboard is a tool and process to help us stay aligned!
  • 22. Digital version (because covid...) 23 Great tool for this: Miro.com
  • 23. Digital version (because covid...) 24
  • 24. Each column is a high-level feature (in prio order)
  • 25. Features are grouped into MLP (Minimum Lovable Product) Would we delay the release for this? Should feel ridiculously easy to finish MLP in time for release. Something we could stand for We’re pretty sure some of these will be done But we don’t know how many, and won’t bother trying to predict it MLP Not MLP
  • 26. Each feature has an MLF (Minimum Lovable Feature) 27 MLF Not MLF Piglin Piglin extras Guiding question: ”Would we risk the next feature for this?” Minimum set of sub-features that make this feature lovable To manage scope creep Non MLF sub- features can be placed on a separate note, beyond the MLP line MLP
  • 27. 4 levels of Doneness + status ”progress bars” 28 Green doesn’t mean Done Forever! It just means Done enough for now, and may change later. Recent change: • Renamed Runnable to Playable (on production code) • Moved prototyping to be part of Designed Green note = Done (or done enough for now Blue note = WIP (Work in Progress) Speech bubble = problem or blocked 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 Estimate (S/M/L)
  • 28. This gives us a quick sense of how we are doing
  • 29. What order to do things in? 30 Feature A Feature B Feature C Feature D Feature E Feature F Feature G Feature H Feature I MLP Designed Playable Snapshotable Releasable
  • 30. Theoretical Lean Ideal One piece flow, start from highest prio feature and finish it 100% before starting the next one 31 Feature A Feature B Feature C Feature D Feature E Feature F Designed Playable Snapshotable Releasable Feature G Feature H Feature I 2 31 4 5
  • 31. Actual ideal for best gameplay Design & prototype multiple features in parallell, so we can ensure the features work together as a system 32 Feature A Feature B Feature C Feature D Feature E Feature F Designed Playable Snapshotable Releasable Feature G Feature H Feature I 1 2 3 4 5 MLP 2 3
  • 32. Dashboard review every week 33 Open invite. Anyone at Mojang can join. Useful if you want to know or influence what’s going on Feature dashboard Tech dashboards Java + Bedrock What enabling technologies are needed to ship the features?
  • 33. Simple forecasting count green stickies every week and do the math 34
  • 34. Confidence checks 35 Great tool for this: Mentimeter.com Can we get the currently committed features done in time? Should look something like this, or the plan is unrealistic 1 = Forget it! 5 = Definitely! Digital version
  • 35. T Wrapup Visualize what matters Transparency makes everyone smarter (and happier!) MLP & MLF is very useful for scope mgmt Minimum Lovable Product/Feature Let your system evolve to your needs Release early & often! Product development is all about learning and experimenting Thanks for listening! Henrik Kniberg Sep 2020