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MrChaz

A question about scrum

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Hi,

Having just watched episode 7 I'm interested to know how you guys are running scrum.

Specially I'm curious about the fact that it's mentioned that the team are consistently missing their targets. At this point I would have expected that the team be able to generate fairly accurate estimates and have good velocity enabling better scoping of targets.

I'm a fan of scrum and we're in the process of implementing it across our teams where I work so I'd be really interested in feedback and experiences.

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Thanks for the question man. The major reason for this is that we run a fairly loose form of scrum. In typical Scrum once a sprint begins the team is not supposed to add new tasks. However, we like to remain nimble and if new issues arise midsprint that we deem more important than the current plan we often change direction to handle them. Since we're working with a new engine for this game, that is going to happen a lot at the beginning of the project. The good news is, we've actually done really well with the two sprints since that episode!

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Ah OK,

That's interesting so you're adding a lot of extras tasks then?

Do you think that's a product of not enough of definition in the stories/acceptance criteria?

It's certainly something that's cropped up for us.

Hope I'm not prying to much but engineers like data I guess :)

P.s. Merry Christmas

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That's so cool to hear! We're going with a modified version of scrum as well (I have a small IT company since last year). I love to combine scrum and kanban. I think none of the two are really suitable for real world scenarios, but if you modifiy them (like you and we do, add new tasks during a sprint if they are important) then they work really really well and you take off a lot of unnecessery pressure :)

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Yeah in my opinion one of the most important aspects of scrum, kanban and other agile methodologies is to not only be agile with the development, but to be agile with the process itself. Sometimes in some projects, or phases of a project you can nail down the tasks in advance with good estimates and hit your targets, but sometimes you need to adapt things and add new high priority tasks on a day by day basis. I'm sure game dev has different pressures that lead you to that them I'm used to - changes of artistic direction, publisher requests and such, rather than urgent production support issues or missed requirements. But in any case things like kanban boards, daily standups all vary in use depends on the people in the team and the current project phase. The key is to regularly discuss what is and isn't working - this can be a formal sprint review, or just a couple of guys at their desk talking things over.

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Yeah that's exactly the same experience we made too. But in my opinion it is very important to set fixed time slots for process / general business discussions. Because if everything is going okay (not perfect, but well - good enough), then people mostly won't think it's necesseray to "waste time" on thinking about / discussing process issues. And before you know it you've worked one or more years with a very far from perfect process.

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It must be a little frustrating to see things going wrong in the episode, and you want to tell everyone "don't worry, we got better! This stuff is old news!!"

Tough times make for great drama, but I can read between the lines and see that you guys are doing an excellent job. I was at Origin for a while, and we had whole teams that just felt like no one was at the wheel, and Garriot would just watch as one exec after another paraded through the president's office on the way up the EA corporate ladder. It was a frustrating environment and not very conducive to generating fun, creative new worlds (not the way it used to be in the days of Warren Spector). But you guys have a great thing going and it's really thrilling to watch this project unfold!

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