Agile Game Development with Scrum

Tytuł: Agile Game Development with Scrum
Autor: Clinton Keith
Wydawnictwo: informIT

Recenzent: Tomasz Kaczanowski

I strongly believe that you can learn something valuable from every book. So even if I don’t develop games I was pretty sure that this book will give me a good insight into Scrum. I also expected that within the game development area I will encounter similar issues as I do in my work environment. After reading the preface of the book I already knew that I’ll find some valuable hints that will help me to solve issues of my current team.

The book shows how agile methods can help in game development, or maybe even that you can’t develop a game nowadays not being agile. Games or not games – the reasons are always the same, and can be roughly described as “the general unpredictability of software development”. I never developed a game in my life (does Atari 65XE count? if so, then I did) but I know very well how painful the “feature creeps” are or how “overoptimistic schedule” makes you work much more than 8 hours per day. Clinton gives some good examples on why the traditional methods fails.

The book is written with a decent dose of humour. There are many real-life examples thorough the book and some of them are really funny! At the same time they always bring some valuable message. A good story remains in your head much longer than any definition. I will surely remember the epic paintball fight of a lonely programmer against hordes of electrical engineers or story about the monkeys that were beating their colleagues because “we always acted like that”. But more importantly, I will remember the moral of the stories and its implications for development teams and processes.

The first part of the book – “The Problem and the Solution” – presents a short history of game development (you will enjoy reading it and thinking about old good times) and introduces agile. Then, Part II “Scrum and Agile planning” goes deep into agile/scrum ideas: sprints, user stories, product backlog, estimation etc. Very, very good summary with many interesting examples. Than, it supposedly moves strictly to games (Part III, “Agile Game Development”) but in reality you will enjoy information on planning, teams (very interesting to me) and iterations. Part IV, “Agile Disciplines” discusses technologies (e.g. XP) and three topics that are probably typical for games (and not really useful if you develop business applications): art & audio, design and specific game-related QA stuff. The book ends with Part V “Getting Started”, (weird, isn’t it?) which debunks some agile/Scrum myths and a set of hints on how to introduce Scrum into your organization. Clinton does not pretend it to be easy. He shares some ideas on how to make possible (and less painful for everyone).

Let me sum it all up now. The book is worth reading for any kind of development, not only games. It gives a nice insight on agile methods (i.e. Scrum) with many valuable real-life examples. I learned a lot by reading it, I enjoyed this lecture a lot, and my head is still full of ideas from the book. What more could you ask for?

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