Game development is in crisis—facing bloated budgets, impossible schedules, unmanageable complexity, and death march overtime. It’s no wonder so many development studios are struggling to survive. Fortunately, there is a solution. Scrum and Agile methods are already revolutionizing development outside the game industry. Now, long-time game developer Clinton Keith shows exactly how to successfully apply these methods to the unique challenges of game development.
Keith has spent more than fifteen years developing games, seven of them with Scrum and agile methods. Drawing on this unparalleled expertise, he shows how teams can use Scrum to deliver games more efficiently, rapidly, and cost-effectively; craft games that offer more entertainment value; and make life more fulfilling for development teams at the same time.
You'll learn to form successful agile teams that incorporate programmers, producers, artists, testers, and designers—and promote effective collaboration within and beyond those teams, throughout the entire process. From long-range planning to progress tracking and continuous integration, Keith offers dozens of tips, tricks, and solutions—all based firmly in reality and hard-won experience.
Review By: C. David Moye 06/17/2011"Agile Game Development with Scrum" by Clinton Keith is not just another book about Scrum. Keith's book provides probably the most accessible and compelling argument for implementing Scrum that I have read to date. Explicitly intended for game developers, this book is equally useful for developers outside of the game industry who are part of multi-disciplinary teams and for leaders in organizations who are relying on such teams to create products.
Keith presents the book in five parts. The first part, "The Problem and the Solution," is directed at game developers, though I found the material interesting from an outsider’s point of view. Here, Keith lays out the problems he sees as inherent to the video game industry. The stories he tells in this section and the problems he describes are not unique to game development culture, but are transferrable to most complex development projects. So, even if you are not a game developer, do not skip this section, as I feel sure that you will find some familiar issues here.
Part two, "Scrum and Agile Planning," is a typical overview of Scrum. If you are relatively new to Scrum, this is the key section of the book. The detailed description of the process against a backdrop of game industry anecdotes provides an easy-to-swallow, believable, and compelling description of Scrum. If you already have a strong background in Scrum, you may find this section only marginally interesting. However, the process is explained extremely well. Don't skip it; you may find something new.
Parts three and four describe planning and team creation, as well as the primary disciplines and their roles in the Scrum process. Finally, part five provides a roadmap for how to get started with your specific implementation.
Keith's writing is light and digestible, but full of protein. He packs his book with background stories—both successes and failures—that are interesting to read and, somewhat atypical to process books, obviously relevant to the surrounding text. His use of hand-drawn figures keeps things from getting cold even during the most technical sections, and his sense of humor is apparent without being too distracting.
I do not work in the game industry, but my projects are largely multi-disciplinary—involving educators, writers, psychometricians, developers, and testers. I plan to buy copies of this book for the leads and product owners in my organization. The material is so transferrable that I know all my teams will reap benefits.