Guildhall at Gamasutra 2012

Benjamin, Dustin, Navin and Trevor are Production track candidates for the Master of Interactive Technology degree in The Guildhall at SMU’s video game design program. With the guidance of Guildhall lecturer and noted game producer and developer Elizabeth Stringer, they are blogging about their experiences for the influential gaming site Gamasutra.

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Sprint Retrospectives

An update from Trevor, a member of the Guildhall at SMU team blogging for Gamasutra:

Sprint Retrospectives

Projects that use Agile with Scrum use sprints to promise features to their product owner (customer/manager); sprints usually take place over a 30-day period. At the end of a sprint, teams conduct sprint retrospectives. These meetings discuss what was delivered from the team during the sprint, what processes were effective or ineffective (or could be improved upon), as well as actions to take place during the next sprint. In essence, they are small postmortems during development.

Features Delivered:

This section is simply a list of features the team completed during the sprint that the product owner receives. It is important to note that these are not tasks, but features. In Agile with Scrum, the features are found in the Product Backlog (List of the game’s features).

Examples might include:

  • All main character sound effects
  • Level 1 Whitebox
  • Jump Component

What Processes Were Effective:

This section lists the processes team members found effective during the sprint and would like to see in future sprints. Additionally, a vote is taken to see how many members of the team feel that way about that process.

  • Examples might include:
    • Communication processes were effective – 4 votes
    • Daily backups to external hard drives – 5 votes
    • Daily scrum to gain knowledge of group progress – 4 votes

What Processes Had Negative Effects (Or could be improved):

This section allows members to voice what processes they felt impeded progress due to inefficiencies, or need improvement to be made effective. Team members vote to see how many people in the team feel the same way.

  • Examples might include:
    • Playing music out loud is distracting to the work environment– 4 votes
    • Uploads to source control need to be more frequent – 5 votes
    • Bug reporting needs to be maintained by all members – 4 votes

Sprint retrospectives provide a way for team members to reflect on the past sprint and analyze what they liked and disliked during the sprint. I have seen many great things come out of these meetings and future sprints have truly improved based on members voicing their concerns to the team. I believe sprint retrospectives should be applied to all game developments. Even if the team isn’t using Agile with Scrum, a postmortem at every milestone still provides useful insight.

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