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What do you think of the agile method?

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Hi Guys!

 

Just read this about the agile method. Don't know if I should take it as the written of a frustrated developer or not. 

 

What's your opinion? Is this method really appropriate for video games' development? We are using it and sometimes it goes well. Something it doesn't. Don't you think it is more a human issue than a method issue? 

 

Cheers!

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I think that its benefits are overrated. Agile methods work really good in small teams and often in theory, but once the  projects and especially the environment in which the project lives, get larger, then it gets really complicated really quickly and the axioms under which the project needs to run start to collapse.

 

From my experiences there are two things which come to mind:

First, the basic agile idea is a good idea, and many processes, regardless if they call themself simple waterfall or scrum, are working often in a more or less (formal) agile way. And secondly, if you have a good team, then most processes will work, but if you have a bad team composition, no process will help.

 

Thank you! I was thinking the same about the team composition. 

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Some people have these talents, others don't. If your team has a lot of these 'leaders', agile makes sense, and generally leads to a better work environment.
If your team has a lot of skilled people with no ownership, then you're better off circumventing these methods and fallback into waterfall if you feel you have the better lead.

 

Thank you Orymus3 for sharing this with us. Yeah so, it seems there is no problem with that method if you have the good teammates. Problems always come from the human :) 

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I do not believe humans are the 'problem'. Most management techniques try to steer different people in a certain way. Some people are more compatible with certain approaches. Good management is more trial and error than an exact science. Experience teaches guidelines and rules but more importantly the flair it takes to figure out what kind of people you are dealing with.

(sorry about jumping into semantics)

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When I worked at a project with my colleagues back at school we did "agile programming" without knowing it. We basically tried out new things all the time, implemented every new idea, set up weekly meetings and couldn't really decide who is in charge. Now that this procedure actually became a thing people want to encourage and implement worries me.

 

I worked in an environment that tried to apply agile. So what we got was a huge pile of code with lots of remains of former approaches that (understandingly) nobody dares to touch because it might break something. After every new change some other feature didn't work anymore so we worked a lot on making work what's already there with those new requirement (which came in all the time). Literally nobody in the company knew exactly what this stuff does and there was no documentation or even sane naming of code-components (of course if a feature gets re-branded on a weekly basis it reflects in code and nodody remembers or can make sense of changes of each iteration).

 

However (not software or even tech-savvy-) management didn't care because they asked for a feature and got it in a short period of time. They didn't know nor understand that this made parts of the codebase unmanagable and that feature x and y didn't work anymore since nobody tests thoroughly (how could they? Deadlines are ridiculously short and once it's "done", there's the next requirement). And if it comes up: oh well, guess I just found another bug. We actually had a lot of inside jokes that came up just by looking closely to all of these functions and that ridiculous amount of unnecessary or even unpurposeful loops.

 

Deadlines were always set and treated as important yet almost every deadline was exceeded and this became mutually accepted.

 

So does this mean that agile is bad? Even though it was bad in this case I wouldn't necessarily say it's bad. It worked very well back in the school project. Why? Because back then it was used as a kind of prototyping just to so see what we can do. There was one fixed deadline and once we got closer to the deadline we stopped implementing those crazy ideas and began documenting. However in that company it became a vicious never-ending circle of bad code.

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Frob spoke at some length on the topic, but it bears repeating. The context from which Agile arose was one where Waterfall and similarly-heavy and cumbersome front-loading of project planning was the norm. Agile and other light-weight methods like Extreme Programming/pair programming were almost a rebellion against that. These methods also came into their own alongside the internet startup culture, and its pretty clear to see the influence they had on each other.

 

Process is one of those things where you have to find the right tools and balance on a case-by-case basis. Its a recipe, not a mandate, you have an idea whether you're more inclined to cake or cookies, but everyone's mom has their own particular take on the recipe that works for their family.

 

Bruce Lee said "Be like Water, my friend." by which he basically meant pick and choose what works -- and works together -- from all the sources available to you, and don't be tied down to particular disciplines or dogma. Good advice in any context.

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Many great replies to the question.

 

I like using Agile/Scrum/XProgramming, but I only use what works for me from all of them.  I chuck out anything annoying, confusing, or counter productive to my situation.

 

I keep Kanban boards, face-to-face meetings, and a heavily modified product back-log.

 

Agile failed HARD for me when I tried to work with a 3D artist in another part of the country.

 

 

 


Bruce Lee said "Be like Water, my friend." by which he basically meant pick and choose what works -- and works together -- from all the sources available to you, and don't be tied down to particular disciplines or dogma. Good advice in any context.

 

^^^All you need to know -- right there!^^^

Edited by GoCatGo

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