Agile development has long been used by developers and publishers in the games industry to get the most out of their teams.
It’s based on four key pillars: People and team work over tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change rather than strictly following a plan.
As game developers will know though, it’s not as simple as “just follow agile development”. It’s a tricky business. Finding the fun is a creative process and sometimes the final game is a completely different beast from the original concept, which means lots of changes and a process where its elements aren’t always set in stone.
Then there’s the potential for feature creep, great new ideas born out of that creativity along the way that can upset the flow that can shake up even the strictest of plans and deadlines.
It’s perhaps an even greater challenge these days. For mobile games relying on live operations to keep them running for years, it’s a tough task creating a schedule that allows for creativity and changes, but one that understands important deadlines have to be met. Players won’t wait around forever if you start falling behind on updates.
Project management tools are useful for organising a team, keeping everyone in the loop in a transparent way and letting everyone understand their objectives. You can’t replace good team leads, of course, but if a tool can help them help you, games will be better for it.
There are lots of tools available to use and it's worth some research and experimenting which tools suit the kind of project you’re working on and how your team(s) is structured.
One such tool is Team Hansoft’s new project management software Favro, which has been designed with a lightweight user friendly UI so members of your team won’t have to spend time searching through endless menus and get to the information important to them more easily. It contains Multiple Boards and Backlogs in one view letting teams and managers get an overview of a project in real-time.
You can set up task lists and due dates, and label up tasks so team members know which projects they belong to. Again, a useful way of helping ensure a project is organised with clear directions for the team.
Stay on track
Users can also keep track of how long it takes for a card to travel through a board, with time stamps helping keep track of how quickly they go through and whether certain parts of a project are causing bottlenecks.
This is an especially useful feature to help ensure projects stay on track and meet deadlines, which could be critical on a daily to weekly basis. It will display to project managers any potential issues that could be solved early on, whether that means extra staff, extra time or making processes more efficient, helping to ensure the problems won’t crop up again.
An important feature to look out for in project management tools is how they can integrate with other tools to help create a more seamless development pipeline. Favro, for example, can work with other tools and services such as Jira, GitHub, Slack, DropBox and Google Calendar. It’s a must to ensure as much of your project is centralised into one place as possible, otherwise things will quickly become complicated.
Favro can also be used by team members either at their desktop or on the go on their mobile phone. This means if someone is out of the office on a work-related trip, issues can still be tracked and urgent problems can be acted upon remotely.
And of course, make sure your data and details are secure! Favro allows for a two-factor authentication system, as well as single sign-on services from Google and GitHub.
Given how complex game development can be, particularly tracking development progress in large teams and during deadline intensive live operations, a good management tool can prove extremely useful and save you time and money. So choose wisely.
You can find out more about Team Hansoft’s project management tool Favro at the official website.
You can sign up to a free trial of Favro right here.