Agile Project Management

agile-for-elearning-project-managementWeek 1

I wasn’t actually going to take this class, Emil needed more people to sign up or the class wouldn’t have happened.  But I’m extremely happy that I did. It’s definitely not what I would consider the sexiest part of the industry, but I do believe it’s the most necessary. It is also a skill set that translates to so many different industries. It felt good to be able to contribute in class,  and to actually know some of the answers to questions that where asked.  This is a credit to my first semester class that first introduced us to the concept of Agile.  I was happy to hear that we will all be able to  take turns and practice what it’s like to work in a variety of roles throughout the semester.  I’m very excited to grow my managerial skills and develop new skills to manage a project.  I’m also looking forward to working toward Agile certification and take the test after the semester. Jessica is very disappointed that she cant take the class with me.

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Week  2

image1Today we where given our semester assignment. Our project is to create a board/card game. I feel like our team quickly came together around a single idea. We all seem to be both united and excited about this game. We’ve got some great ideas being thrown around. The attached picture is hard to read but we’ve already started to break out the different games features. The name of our game is Final Tomb. The concept of the game is that you have a bunker which will most likely be a castle. (This takes place in medieval times).  You will need to leave the castle to collect resources and material to fortify the castle. Outside the castle walls are skeletons which you will need to battle or avoid. If you are killed you will become a skeleton and now an enemy combatant in the game. We have a lot of work to do but I think we have a great start.

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Week  3

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  This week we created a sample up of our cover art for Final Tomb. We spent the day prioritizing our games components that need to be developed.  We used a voting system to rank the importance for each area of the game.  We where all given Monopoly money and would vote with our money face down on each area of importance. We would then rank the cards and everyone had one last opportunity to shift a card up or down. that ranking was then posted on the wall. Once done we labeled with a colored dots, cards that where depended or linked to one another. We then shifted all cards to the left that where together and arranged them top down moving cards up in the row that had dots.  I like this system of prioritization. It makes so much sense and I want to use it in my other classes. I want to follow this methodology in the future and make it the mainstay of how I prioritize the importance of features in a project.

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Week  4

parts-of-a-character-cardWe spent the class working on the game features. Garrett and I worked on ability’s and character stories. For the abilities we had to come up with an ability in battle and out of battle. We also created the profile cards which are the main characters you get to choose from. We included backstories and the advantages each of your characters has. Each of which will lend itself to different  personalities and game play styles.  As a team we seem to be on track and are making good progress.

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Week  5

LEADER_1764I had most of the team over at my place where we continued to poker plan and write content, rules and mechanics for our game. Similar to D&D, I felt a bit out of my league. Everyone else is far more experienced at table top games with a lot of mechanics. Once and I while I will try to interject an idea or helpful though. But for the most part, my contributions seem less substantial than  everyone else.  I’m learning, and I’m starting to say less and listen more. I think its more important to take the time to observe and learn than be worried about how many contributions I’m offering. I want my ideas to matter, which means I have much  to learn.

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Week  6

ScrumToday I helped with the flee mechanic, safe house and map creation.  I partnered with the other Jeff in the class which was nice because although we had a class last semester, we really didn’t work on anything together directly. As a class i think that we where highly efficient and really got a lot of work done and within the allotted time box. It was my first time as the acting Scrum master. It was a little hectic since I need to think and type fast, which is not a strong suit of mine. I’m defiantly more o a ponderer. I enjoy mulling over why we are making decisions to ensure we are making the right one. But that is not how this works and is a new muscle I need to build and new way of looking at things that I need to learn.

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Week  7

teamwork-gears2We continue to meet our sprints and velocity each week, we are now ready to start developing  our game. Next week is retrospectives and I’m not sure how if we will have time to develop or if the  entirety of the class will be devoted to retrospectives. Either way, I feel like we have great momentum and a wonderfully talented group of people to both make our game fun and it’s mechanics work as intended. I only worry about a couple of peoples emotional ability to work within the team effectively.  But I do believe that our team is going a good job at both keeping itself and others in check.

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Week  8

Puerto-RicoSince I haven’t had work in this class over the week, I thought I would talk about what I’ve observed and learned from Jessica’s project.  The company she is working with is running their project into the ground. Mismanaged and misguided, they are not following a single best practice and are not following  any discernible project management methodology . This has caused their project to take on significant risk, technical debt and has ballooned to 5X their estimated cost. The most notable detriment has been a lack of accountability, transparency and humility. In their quest to act as the experts as they run their project, their hubris has lead them down ineffective paths and kept them from truly understanding their own project. They continue to make false assumptions and not take the advice from the experts which continues to create ongoing problems and grows their financial and technical debt.

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Week  9

RoguedDeadThis week I was the product owner for our game. My first mistake in our first task was to try to use Gimp which I am not very familiar with. This caused me to fall behind during the sprint and I had to switch over to the school laptop  and use Photoshop. I cost us about 5 extra minutes. On the up side I did figure out how to view layers in Gimp since that class.  I also started on the GDD and deccided to have some fun with some of the writing.

Thank you for purchasing Final Tomb, the survival game you continue to play even when you die. The mechanics of this game have been carefully calculated and balanced by the top mathematical minds of our time. Our game art has been skillfully crafted by the greatest original content found on the world wide web.
Final Tomb is the culmination of decades of research and development. With development contributions that span the globe, Final Tomb is the result of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours in R&D.  

Intro to Game:  Final Tomb is the game that allows you to play, even when you die. This is an turn based survival strategy game that allows you to choose from a variety of characters. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages that lend themselves to different gameplay styles. The way that you win the game is to collected the most resource cards. You can choose to work together or go rogue and take your chances. Help out the team or betray your best friend, your decisions will impact your experience and determine whether you live or die. Depending how you play, dying in Final Tomb can have it’s advantages.

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Week  10

learning-game-rules-videoWe play tested for the first time today which was very revealing. Our game was very broken. We didn’t even have a starting point for the game. Some of this was actual issues we did not think of and the other issue was finding the documentation. I think that was should have not started to play test without game instructions. I think that the instructions are the most important aspect to the game. It is the guide for the player and I think we need it on hand so we can revise it as we play. We realized that the small paper board that was created was not suitable for game play. So we used the large D&D grid to create a more appropriate sized map. We will be using this map next week when we play test again.

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Week  11

dieRollAnimation1How can I Scrum my Easter?  I didn’t think about our game over spring break. But I did take a hard look at my Cyclops game and how poorly I’m utilizing my project management skills that I’ve learned. I think that it was easy at first. We had a great game concept that we kept simple, which kept everyone on task and focused. But now that we are getting closer to the end of the semester, the more I see the need to make sure we are on task. We need to get our Trello board updated and make sure we are following ceremony and meeting game milestones for our release.

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Week  12

tumblr_mfianihbjW1qaa97co2_500Play testing went much better this week. We are finding what works and doesn’t work. We’ve incorporated a river on the map to break it up and I came up with an idea for a cave that allows you to travel across the map quickly, but are forced to battle a cave troll to do so. We’ve found that a D20  plus a standard move allows players a comfortable level of movement. We also found that diagonal movement adds to player enjoyment and movement distance.

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Week  13

tumblr_n5h66sGX9v1skzf1lo1_250We learned from the prior week that the resource system is a bit broken. Players can camp out near a resource location and just continue to pick up resources every turn. To counter this we came up with a moving resource system with 6 possible resource location around the map. Once the resource is picked up, that player rolls a D6 to see which location the resource will be next. If it lands on a space that a person is already on then it moves to the next numerical location, even if it is a location with a current resource. We also added a Necromancer which is an actual person playing the game. they are in control of the skeleton enemy horde. This is a great addition and will add more dynamic and challenging game play.

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Week  14

image1This week I worked on creating the Necromancer character card and also came up with player and enemy movement variations. I think that the game is progressing well but I feel like we are a little behind. Although we are play testing, I feel like much of the game is broken and the mechanics should be working better than they are at this point. I’m not sweating it though. I feel fortunate to have so many on the team that arthe castlee good at balancing mechanics and I’m confident we will get it fixed. The most important aspect I’m learning from this class is the fast paced process of Agile work flow. Quickly planning and developing in a cycle that continually improves upon itself as people work together and produces finished work.

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Week  15

Bonestorm Box Side1I play tested for most of the class which was a lot of fun. I took every opportunity to break the game and also test it’s strengths and weaknesses.  I challenged the system by going against the grain of the obvious process. By doing this we where able to uncover some issues which forced us to ask new questions. I also had an opportunity to work on the GDD  and the games instructions. Towards the end of class we discussed the resource system and it’s purpose. During the game you collect resources like Clay, wood ect..  Our original idea was to build up the castle and also to collect victory points, but this is not working out so well. I suggested that we create 4 or 5 objects that players need to collect and bring back to a safe zone.  This system could easily determine the winner and define the end of the game. Jason’s dream also came true this week when we changed the name of the game to Bonestorm.

BonestormBox Side 3

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Week  16

image789  We really needed one more week. Portfolio night cut into our class so we where not able to go through as many sprints as we normally would have. I’ve finished the box art and we finished the layout for all of the cards that need to be printed.  I posted to our community page that we should all talk on Monday so we can button up the game. There is still work to be done, specifically with the GDD. It doesn’t reflect all of the changes that we’ve made and we don’t have a revised set of instructions. We also need to  get everything finalized that needs to be printed so we have time to get it printed before class. This is the only time time we have had to meet outside of class. The point of the class was to work together and follow Agile ceremony. I got a lot out of this class and I’m really glad I decided to take it. I will be able to take a lot of what I learned and bring it over to Capstone next semester.