Agile / Scrum

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    Martin Mulder

    On the forum there are a lot of questions, complaints, suggestions, idea’s, etc. from customers. The feedback from the developers is somewhat… minimal. Nobody knows when a new update is release. Nobody knows which features and which fixes will be in it.

    I am wondering which software development methodology is used. Can someone tell me?

    I move to using an AGILE methodology. Preferably SCRUM. This way:

    • All customers have influance on the priority of all the items. (Of cause the productowner has the ultimate vote.)
    • The developers can tell the customers in advance which fixes and features to expect in the next update.
    • The customers know when to expect the next update, because all iterations (every release) have a fixed length.

    I’d like to hear what developers have to say about this idea. And other collegues in the field!


    I have found that Urban Games seem to prefer the ‘Mushroom’ methodology. That is, we, the paying customers, are kept in the dark and feed on sh……..


    If you ever did a project you will know that is not easy to announce things. The devs themselves don’t even know when something will be done. Its not that easy.

    Even the stipulation of a launch date is more a guess than anything. You can see that the devs couldn’t release the game with all features they promised at launch. And that is for sure not because they were in a cruise instead of programming.

    What you want is the devs to be completely tied to the public with deadlines, they will most probably not be able to accomplish, even that themselves will make the deadline, just because you are a customer.

    People also asked for weekly, monthly videos. They are programmers in a very small team, not PR department. Ok, Prison Architect do that, but PA are free devs, no publisher (if that have any influence).

    As the devs said: the next update will come when it comes. Facebook and twitter made people addicted to news and status updates.


    As the devs said: the next update will come when it comes. Facebook and twitter made people addicted to news and status updates.

    Sad but true.

    Martin Mulder

    @Douglas: And that is why I am opting for Scrum. I have seen it work. Various project teams at my company were also using other dev-methods. They did have problems with deadlines, anouncing features, etc. One team started to use Scrum, and after +/-5 iterations they were able to keep there deadlines, they could predect features accurately and the customer has great influence on priorities. It simply works. The developers, the cliens, everybody had a better feeling about the releases. The team exists of 7people.

    Scrum is not about PR. Scrum is creating what a customer wants.

    Martin Mulder

    @Douglas: And yes, nowadays people are addicted to news and status updates. And yes, it is said. But this is the world we are living in. The world changes, so should software-development.


    Actually, scrum is to create the most value for the customers in a given timeframe, and is all about doing what the PRODUCT OWNER decides to be a priority because HE decides what will be the thing that gives the most value.

    Nobody in this forum is the product owner. And nobody will get his priorities as a customer fulfilled directly, because it is almost certain that the priority of each individual customer differs enough so that fulfilling one exactly will only ever create value for this one particular customer, but will probably create next to zero or even negative value for everyone else.

    And there is another aspect in scrum that I’d like to see here more: Trust. The customers do trust the programmers that they are able to fulfill their task, otherwise they’d stop the project. Every customer can do this individually at any time: Uninstall the game and quit playing. There’s no money back, but at least you won’t waste more time, will you?

    I’d absolutely like the idea of having more info about what is planned for the future, but if I have to choose between having more information, or having more features implemented and bugs fixed, I will choose the latter and wait for updates being announced after they happened. Works for me.

    Martin Mulder

    @n00b: You are right. The Product Owner decides. As I said “productowner has the ultimate vote”. The Product Owner has the same mandate, but she (in our case a woman) gets informed by others (managers, users, other stakeholders). A Product Owner of a game could get informed by users of the game. By forums, by polls, by a little group of user representatives.

    And you are right that different users have different opinions. That is why a poll could be usefull. Or read in a forum what people complain about the most.

    You create the simple choise between “more information” and “more features / fixes”. The point is: those are not mutually exclusive. And more features / fixes does not mean that those are the features/fixes we want. If a little bit more communication / information leads to those features / fixes we (the users) really want, I think everybody would be happy.

    As you said in the beginning: “Scrum is to create the most VALUE for the CUSTOMERS (in a given timeframe)”.

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