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Agile Game Development with SCRUM (Addison-Wesley Signature) Paperback – 23 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (23 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321618521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321618528
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


“ If you’ve ever felt that gaps exist between ‘traditional’ software development using Scrum and video game development using Scrum, this book is for you. Clinton effectively bridges those gaps by covering the adjustments necessary for disciplines, individual roles, and processes and project phases unique to game development, thoroughly supporting it with explicit examples and practical advice. Simply put, a must-read for game developers that are currently using or plan to implement Scrum or other agile processes within their company.”

―Jeff Lindsey, Producer, Longtail Studios


“ I wish Clinton Keith could go back and write this book 15 years ago―it would have helped me see things a lot differently. Agile Game Development with SCRUM is a one stop shop for game teams interested in using scrum techniques.”

―CJ Connoy, Game Producer, Treyarch


“ By the time you wake up and realize that you really need this book, your project will probably be too far gone. Dive into agile before it’s too late and let Clinton be your guide. Tested under the fires of true game production, everyone involved in game development will gain from reading Clinton’s wisdom.”

―Jason Della Rocca, Founder, Perimeter Partners, and former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association


“ Clinton Keith has written an excellent book for both practitioners and students. He combines an in-depth analysis of the challenges of large scale game development with hands-on advice on the use of Scrum. His often funny anecdotes illustrate that this guy has really experienced the heat of large computer games projects.”

―Bendik Bygstad, Professor of Information Systems, The Norwegian School of IT


“ Clinton Keith combines his experience as both video game developer and agile practitioner to apply Scrum philosophy to the unique challenges of video game development. Clint clearly explains the philosophy behind Scrum, going beyond theory and sharing his experiences and stories about its successful application at living, breathing development studios.”

―Erik Theisz, Senior Producer, 38 Studios


“ Clinton has combined his extensive game and software development experiences with agile methodologies. The result is a thoughtful, clear, and, most importantly, realistic application of agile to game development.”

―Senta Jakobsen, Senior Development Director, DICE

From the Back Cover

Deliver Better Games Faster, On Budget―And Make Game Development Fun Again!


Game development is in crisis―facing bloated budgets, impossible schedules, unmanageable complexity, and death march overtime. It’s no wonder so many development studios are struggling to survive. Fortunately, there is a solution. Scrum and Agile methods are already revolutionizing development outside the game industry. Now, long-time game developer Clinton Keith shows exactly how to successfully apply these methods to the unique challenges of game development. 

Keith has spent more than fifteen years developing games, seven of them with Scrum and agile methods. Drawing on this unparalleled expertise, he shows how teams can use Scrum to deliver games more efficiently, rapidly, and cost-effectively; craft games that offer more entertainment value; and make life more fulfilling for development teams at the same time.

You’ll learn to form successful agile teams that incorporate programmers, producers, artists, testers, and designers―and promote effective collaboration within and beyond those teams, throughout the entire process. From long-range planning to progress tracking and continuous integration, Keith offers dozens of tips, tricks, and solutions―all based firmly in reality and hard-won experience.

Coverage includes

  • Understanding Scrum’s goals, roles, and practices in the context of game development
  • Communicating and planning your game’s vision, features, and progress
  • Using iterative techniques to put your game into a playable state every two to four weeks― even daily
  • Helping all team participants succeed in their roles
  • Restoring stability and predictability to the development process
  • Managing ambiguous requirements in a fluid marketplace
  • Scaling Scrum to large, geographically distributed development teams
  • Getting started: overcoming inertia and integrating Scrum into your studio’s current processes

Increasingly, game developers and managers are recognizing that things can’t go on the way they have in the past. Game development organizations need a far better way to work. Agile Game Development with Scrum gives them that―and brings the profitability, creativity, and fun back to game development.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Drawing from his own experience as developer and CTO in the game development industry, Keith Clinton has written a book that provides both an overall vision of the Agile and Scrum approaches combined with a detailed practice of these principles in the specific context of game software development. It gives therefore also a good introduction to the software practices of the gaming industry. I noticed for instance that the customer - outsourcer relationships are not very different from the relationships between game production companies and external developers.

The book is well written and easy to read, with a lot of practical experience that Clinton Keith retrieved from his own professional career and contributions from other people involved in agile adoption for game development, especially in the "Myths and Challenges of Scrum" chapter.

Although it might naturally have a stronger appeal to game software developers and project managers, this book provides a lot of practical consideration that will be useful to a larger audience interested in transitioning to Agile.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having spent 15 years managing game development projects, it was interesting to read how someone else applied Scrum to the game development process.

The interesting thing was the similarity between his approach (based on Scrum) and my approach (based on common sense and experience).
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Book iterates an actual project management strategy rather than re-hashing the crappy misunderstanding that's given agile a bad name. Read the book if you want to lose all confidence in your boss :)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Taylor on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
I'd researched the book first and new it was what I wanted! It is helping me apply my skills from software into the games industry! Clinton Keith - many thanks!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book describing the perfect pairing of game development with Scrum 4 Jun. 2010
By Michael Cohn - Published on
Format: Paperback
Scrum and game development go together as well as chocolate and peanut butter. In this book, Clinton Keith does a perfect job of showing how to put them together.

The book is split into five parts. The first part describes the crisis facing game development because of the explosion in complexity and game size. Not wanting to end on a down note, Part 1 also describes how agile/Scrum address these problems. Part 2 is probably the best overall introduction to Scrum anywhere. I now even recommend this Part (100 pages) to my non-game development clients. Part 3 goes deeper into many of the specific challenges facing game projects--planning, creating cross-functional teams from such a variety of disciplines, and reducing the overhead of iterating. Part 4 dives deeper into the specific disciplines and offers great advice in the areas of art, audio, design, qa, and production. The concluding part contains 3 chapters describing some of the challenges you'll face, how to work with a publisher, and how to start.

This is a great book that is chock-full of stories from author Clinton Keith's fifteen years in the game industry. The writing is crisp and conversational with topics covered in just the right amount of detail. The hand-drawn look of the illustrations match the book perfectly.

Agile Game Development with Scrum should be required reading for anyone on a game project. And it offers a great deal to anyone starting out with Scrum.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Agile resource, even if you are not developing games 24 May 2013
By Lynn Grant - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I am finding this book both enjoyable to read, and also very useful. I have been a ScrumMaster/developer for four years, working on database applications. I was recently made a full-time ScrumMaster for three teams, so I felt the need to refresh my Scrum knowledge, especially since Management is restarting their implementation of Scrum after a disasterous rollout four years ago, and I need to try to sell their approach to my teams.

(I am starting to think that every established development organization that embraces Agile has to start with a disasterous rollout. It's like Fred Brooks said in "The Mythical Man-Month", in a context that was really only slightly different: "The management question, therefore, is not whether to build a pilot system and throw it away. You will do that. [...] Hence plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.")

This book is a great adjunct to Mike Cohn's "Agile Estimating and Planning". I particulary like the quotes and anecdotes from various developers and managers who have adopted Agile/Scrum. Also, the sections on how to deal with groups that work on a different schedule, like artists and sound people, is equally applicable to groups like Technical Writing, which are frequently split between groups.

All in all, this is an excellent book to have on your Agile bookshelf.

Lynn Grant

P.S. The Amazon reviews indicate whether or not reviewers have purchased the product. I like this book so much that I purchased both the paper and Kindle versions. It just doesn't show up here because I bought them under another account.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you're in game development, this is a must-buy. 29 April 2012
By Mitch Lacey - Published on
Format: Paperback
Back in the '90s, I worked at a variety of game studios - Accolade and SSI in the Bay Area and GTE Entertainment in San Diego. In each of these companies, I noticed a trend - the struggle with the development cycle. Each company took a traditional approach to development. I remember conversations we would have on "how nice it would be to get the alpha's and beta's out early" but we rarely did. As I read Clinton Keith's book, I realize now what we were missing.

I really like Chapters 1 & 2, The Crisis Facing Game Development and Agile Development. Keith lays out one of the best cases I've ever read in chapter 1 as to why a traditional model will sink a studio. Then he lays out why and how agile principles and practices can help fix that problem.

What really separates this book from other agile books though, is the video game stuff. Chapter 7, Video Game Project Planning is stellar. It builds on previous chapters and lays out an approach for the die-hard waterfall studio to get into agile practices. Next is Chapter 15, Working with a Publisher. Anyone who has been in this industry knows what a challenge this can be, especially when it comes to planning! Keith includes some other content on things that you may find in other books, but the game development approach to this title makes it an E ticket ride (do an online search if you don't know what an E ticket is). Definitely a book worth having.

If you find yourself in game development, this is the book for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Valuable for all software developers 8 April 2012
By Nineinchninja - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been doing a fair amount of reading on Agile lately, and I can say that this is the best Agile development book I've come across.

In addition to an interesting introduction to Scum and Agile and its history in the gaming industry, the author describes and provides insight into many of the challenges that all Agile implementations face. Most of these lessons can be generalized to industries other than the game industry, such as scaling up to large projects, working with multiple disciplines with differing different cadences, involving QA, and selling Agile to executives. He also provides a realistic appraisal of Agile and Scrum, describing its pros and cons, rather than presenting Scrum as a silver bullet as many texts on the subject do.

I found this book clearly demonstrated how the principles of Agile are put into practice, with real experiences and sound advice. While I'm not a game developer myself it has helped me understand Scrum and Agile in general, and I recommend it to coworkers also working in IT.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Advice From a Seasoned Veteran! 8 Jun. 2010
By Luke Hohmann - Published on
Format: Paperback
Thank you, Clinton, for making the time to write this truly wonderful contribution to the Scrum/Lean/Agile Community of Practice.

What makes this book stand out among the many dozens of Scrum/Lean/Agile community of practice is that Clinton writes from genuine experience. He doesn't sugar coat his mistakes. He doesn't belabor his considerable skills. He simply outlines what he has learned about making really great games. Through Scrum, Lean, and Agile.

What I appreciate this book is the detailed advice that is exclusively devoted to the field that Clinton knows so well. Instead of creating a "one size fits all books", Clinton concentrates his writing to creating games. As the Founder of a serious games company, I know that Clinton's advice is spot on.

If you're in the game industry, and you want to learn how to create better games, get this book.

Luke Hohmann
CEO, The Innovation Games® Company
[...]: The seriously fun way to do serious work -- seriously.
Follow me on twitter at lukehohmann
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