100 Experience Points
An Adventure in Indie Game Development

Sprint #1 Retrospective

I meant to do this back on Sunday night or Monday (so technically more than a week ago) but never got around to it. Retrospectives are a key part of Scrum, and continually improving, so I think I’d better not skip it. In some ways, these retrospectives may be of more use to people than most of the other things on here.

What Worked

I feel like I’m kind of limited in this category. It was a rough week. I don’t really know what to pick.

The only thing that I really felt like went well was when things were bad, picking something else to work on for a little while and going for a quick win. During the week days, I just wasn’t getting anything done, and it was frustrating. By the time the end of the week rolled around, I was incredibly bummed out. In fact, if I didn’t know that people were expecting my results, I probably would have given up.

Hmm… I should list that as something that worked well: Accountability to others forced me to keep going.

So if you’re frustrated, going for a quick win is a good move. I should probably throw in that you should find something that is genuinely going to be a quick win or you may actually do more harm than good when you don’t get a quick win.

What Didn’t

It seems like nearly everything failed to work. I had picked way too much to do in Sprint #1. Of course, that’s always hard to judge the first time. I have a better idea of what I can accomplish in a week, now, and I can plan my sprints more accurately.

Having large tasks, and then trying to tackle them on weeknights didn’t go over so well. Days were going by and nothing was getting finished. That’s what led to my frustration. This is actually an interesting point, because I was in fact getting stuff done. But there was an illusion that it wasn’t, and that’s what was causing problems. (And also, things were taking longer than I had hoped.)

The 1 Week Stall. Now that the 1 Week Stall that I just came out of is over, I feel kind of icky about it. I don’t really know why. I don’t think I’d recommend it. I mean, I was sick, so it was perhaps a good thing. It just seems like a week off to get better, plus the previous week feeling less effective, and it seems like I’m a very long way into this experiment of mine and I have next to nothing. I can’t recommend taking a week off like that to anyone. But is there a better alternative?

Another thing that has gotten to be a little time consuming for me is posting by-the-minute updates on my blog. I know some people really like that. (Or at least, they like the idea of coming back here frequently and refreshing the page to see new stuff.) But it’s just taking up too much of my time, and taking it away from actual game development.

What’s Going to Change

There are a few things that are going to change right away. First, I’m going to tackle far fewer things in my upcoming sprints. I tried to do way too much in the first sprint, and that turned out to be demotivating.

Two, I’m intentionally including some smaller tasks (or breaking larger tasks into smaller ones). I need things that are more bite-sized for the weeknights. Things that take an hour or two. Because that’s all the time I usually can get on these days. I think it will be important to be more realistic about what can actually be accomplished on the weekdays, and leave the bigger challenges to the weekend.

With respect to the minute-by-minute updates, I think I’m going to stop. I’ll still do my best to put out a new update every day at the end of the day, and on weekends, when I spend more time on my game, I’ll probably get several in. But I just don’t think I need to do it every few minutes. (If you think it’s helpful, convince me otherwise with a comment.)