As you all know, this week we are supposed to write about our life and times with the agile development method, Scrum.
Scrum and me: Even though I’ve worked with scrum in the past 5 weeks, I still can’t really say anything about it at all. Might this because I don’t have anything to compare it to and that the only place I worked at was in the service industry? Probably. I can however say how scrum affects my workflow.
- First of all it gives me a clear list of priorities of things that needs to be done during any given period, that is tailored to the tasks at hand, what the other team members are working on and my skill level. This makes it simple to structure what I’m going to do during a sprint – and since code and asset is worked on at the same time and often together in the same room, it simplifies the cycles of iteration since we can communicate effectively.
- Clear deadlines. As a person who has a habit of not finishing things or space out, the clear and often very tight deadlines are a great help in ensuring that I finish all the assets on time since it affects the whole group. On the flipside, since tasks can be switched around to suit both the team and the individual, the amount of work often times don’t surpases what’s actually doable in one week.
- The freedom of leaving things. Technically we are aiming to work 20 hours a week, and sometime that won’t happen due to disease, unexpected events or other forms of mismanagement so you might be forced to leave an asset as “It works” or the like. However since the plan is updated every week, often with a focus on testing and improving, it alleviates some of the pressure of needing to make sure everything looks perfect before it can be considered “Done”, since you always has the option to go back to it and you’re probably gonna iterate upon it either way.
These are the thinks I can think of when it comes to how Scrum has affected me since I don’t have anything to compare it to and bottom line, I’m still not very familiar with it.
A big problem with how we’ve been working, is that since it’s built upon previous cycles, is that if something doesn’t get done during a sprint – there’s no way to continue working on it until the stage before is completed. As an artist this can be really frustrating when I have to wait for design, and I can imagine it being frustrating for our programmer when I’m slow with an art asset. It also means that there’s a higher chance of me being forced to redo an asset if the design changes part way through the project. This is probably a symptom of our inexperience in game production and our misunderstanding of Scrum. As well as how it feels like we are sort of pushed into something that’s in between scrum and the classical waterfall model.
In Team Devourer we usually structure our days like this.
Monday: We usually start a meeting by having an actual meeting where we discuss different parts of our game with feedback and just general thoughts as a base. When we’ve reached a conclusion (read. When everyone is dead from the lack of oxygen) we move on and do our sprint plan. During the planning we usually look at what we decided, where we are and where we are going and then tasks are given based on what needs to be done to the next milestone, based on the order of importance. We usually don’t have a stand-up meeting since we end very late.
Tuesday: We have a stand-up meeting where we present what we have done and what we are going to do.
Wednesday: On wednesday we usually have another meeting followed by us working together in the same room.
Thursday: The same as Tuesdays. Sometimes we have an extra meeting if there’s something urgent that needs to be taken in person
Friday: We do our sprint review where we briefly discuss how things have gone throughout the week, followed by, you guessed it, another meeting where we prepare ourselves for the coming week.
You might notice an overabundance of meetings, but they surprisingly really helps us to keep on the right track and also makes sure that everyone is up to speed. This is about I don’t have much more to say.