Lots of beavering away on our first milestone at the moment, hence the quietness on the posting front. We’re not delivering what we’d like to, due to bits of kit and software turning up late, but we’re still delivering! All nuts and bolts stuff at the moment – nothing you could call a game, or even a full engine.

We’ve been following the Scrum process carefully, and it seems to be working out well. It hasn’t seen any real stress yet, but it has been good in that it gives us visibility of our goals in a very physical sense. It is sometimes very hard to get a grip on a software project, given the lack of tangible results of your work. But breaking down the project into stories and putting them on cards allows us to say “everything that is to go in the end project is on one of these cards. Move all the cards onto the ‘done’ pile, and we are finished.” That is a good morale booster, because each of the cards can be more easily broken down into tasks, and we can say definitively that it’s either done or not. And so we get a good handle on what we have to do each fortnight/month, and whether or not we are on target or not.

I’ve always maintained that the best way to improve team spirits and morale is not having parties, nights out, or team building days – it is to give the team a chance to succeed. Teams are filled with smart people, and they’re aware of whether or not the team as a whole is doing well, and they are likely to be down-hearted if it isn’t. Breaking down the project into milestones gives us a chance to succeed every month, even if the overall goal is harder to see, and hard to hit. Conversely, I think there are few things worse than putting a team through a tough crunch period, then when it’s done saying: “That was great guys. Now straight onto the next one,” without acknowledging the value of that success.

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Last modified: February 06 2020.