How Game Companies Deliver with Agile

February 24, 2012

Not getting everything you expected from agile development? Do you feel that creativity and collaboration are problems? Perhaps some tips of the trade from game development companies will help.

If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend that you read a recent SD Times article, What games can teach enterprise developers, by Alex Handy.

In the article Handy quotes Randall Ward (cofounder of Appfire Technologies), who says that he can tell a lot about a development shop by looking at the offices. “…making your environment fun to work in is something enterprises can learn from game companies,” he says.

“You walk into a game company and the walls are different,” Ward continues. “The signage is different, everything is much more visual, everything is electric and exciting. You're vividly aware you're within a different type of environment. I'll walk into a GE or an Abbot Laboratories, and you feel cold, stark and dark. Whatever the adjectives are, you feel that when you walk in and that reflects on the outcome of your work.”

In a nutshell, if you want creativity, foster it by making your work environment fun. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes. Have a release party! As Ward says, “If we can celebrate our deliveries, we'll build cadence and momentum. I see it all the time in gaming.”

Randall Ward also makes some other great points:
  • Development teams are wholly invested in their products, with everyone deeply involved in all aspects of the development process. If a challenging problem emerges, everyone pitches in.

  • Work is very transparent. Game companies visualize their destinations. They have highly visible mock-ups, pictures and ideas that fuels awareness and collaboration.

  • Because release dates are vital in gaming companies, teams must be – and are able to be – brutally honest with one another. But people aren’t afraid to put their ideas “out there” and they remain open to challenges.

  • Gaming companies aren’t afraid to reuse code. In fact, they need reuse.