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Feature: 'A Year Of Agile Development'

In this article on NY-based developer Large Animal's (Rocketbowl, Snapshot Adventures) switch to the
May 29, 2008
In this article on NY-based developer Large Animal's (Rocketbowl, Snapshot Adventures) switch to the Scrum method of agile development last year, we cover the developer's experience with 'sprinting' to complete individual game elements. Bliksem Tobey begins the retrospective by outlining Large Animal's reasons for transitioning into Scrum as the company grew, which eventually set the stage for even more significant growth: "In its infancy, Large Animal was driven primarily by the talents and direction of a few key individuals. This arrangement worked while the company was still small and the number of projects was limited. As Large Animal grew, however, its ability to take on additional projects and still deliver at the same level of quality was constrained by the time availability of those key individuals. Through the adoption of Scrum, the focus on quality that was previously dependent on a few individuals has been redistributed to the project teams. With some of the principle tenets of agile development coming into play, the team is incentivized to continuously produce working software that is focused on the highest priority user stories/features. Large Animal has found that teams that are practicing agile need less guidance from senior designers and developers, thus allowing those people to direct a larger number of teams. As a result, Large Animal has been able to almost double the number of active project teams. More significantly, they have opened a new offsite development location in Atlanta, Georgia, a move that the founders would not have previously been comfortable with." Practicing agile development promises many benefits to studios, such as defining boundaries within which a team can wok, keeping the team and project on track. One advantage Large Animal noted after adopting Scrum for one of its projects was increased transparency with its publisher: "This insight into what the project team was doing made negotiations with the publisher about the schedule impact of changes they had requested much easier. From the publisher's perspective, the transparency of the development process and the progress of the team raised trust in Large Animal and lowered the perceived risk of the project. By reviewing a working build every sprint, the publisher had significantly more opportunities to impact change during the course of development than they had on previous projects." You can now read the full feature on Large Animal Games' first-year experience with agile development (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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