On April 28, 2009, in Experiences, by Steffen Itterheim

I should write something. 9 days and no post make viewers go away.

Anyway, here’s a good thing to talk about: Retrospectives. We finally held one last Friday, i prepared and moderated the session which lasted for 2.5 hours and looked back at 6 Sprints (a total of 16 weeks). One thing became clear: we need to hold the Sprint Retrospectives regularly now.

This was the first retrospective i moderated and i was fortunate enough to have been in a great Retrospective a couple months earlier, and also having read the book Agile Retrospectives.

One of the things i took over was the icebreaking question at the start which forces everyone to say something, even if it’s just a “i pass”. The book says the effect is astounding every time. Since i’ve used it i can’t say if it was that technique but everyone of the Team actively participated in the Retrospective. Naturally with varying levels of involvement, of course. And during the Retrospective they didn’t hold back to suggest changes to the form or processes of the Retrospective, or correct mistakes. Overall it was a very enjoyable event for me and we all gained a bigger picture because of it.

If i’m being self-critical i do have to admit that the activities i had planned weren’t thought through well enough. Well, they were based on my recollection from a previous Retrospective and activities described in the book but apparently mix and match doesn’t work so well. I should have known better. If you start something new, do the tried and true first before trying to do your own thing.

I was also unsure about when to cut a conversation short and advance to the next thing or letting the team speak even though it’s basically the same thing that was said earlier, but in different words. This is really tricky and i’d rather have people say something twice or repeat it, especially after 6 iterations without a Retrospective the drive to get the bad stuff out there is just so enormous that it was probably a good idea to let people talk more. But in future i will have to improve on directing the flow of the feedback and finding natural breakpoints to advance to the next section or topic.

I wish i could post some of the pictures i took, or the actual result of the Retrospective. It would surely be enlightening for other teams and getting feedback on some of the issues from other people would be a great reassurance. But, you know, obviously the results are corporate secrets, so …. sorry. No pictures or otherwise.

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Just some Indie Game Developer Links

On April 16, 2009, in Good Advice, by Steffen Itterheim

Due to lack of time, just some links that are highly recommended for Computer Game Developers, especially Indies.

Discussion on best place to look for (free) game audio, graphics, etc. Contains some great links.

Suggested tools for Game Designers. Game Maker, Flash, Unity.

The Art of Computer Game Design – Chris Crawford, 1982. The classic on Game Design and still highly valuable to this date. Can be read online or as PDF version.

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Creating, Interacting, Consuming, Sleeping

On April 10, 2009, in Opinion Pieces, by Steffen Itterheim

These are four states with progressively lower activity patterns. They are also a reflection of health. I’m sick since two days and as i get progressively sicker (it started with dizziness and feeling of absence and slight headache, progressing to fever, slight freezing, more headache, sore throat, coughing, sneezing) it parallels these activity levels.

When i’m fit (both mentally and bodily) i tend to create. If i’m not that fit, usually burnout from the day and not wanting to actively create something i turn to interactive media – typically games. When i’m getting sleepy and/or sick i don’t even want to interact and just consume one TV Show after another, sleeping in between.

Not sure why i’m posting this, it seems rather obvious. What i’m thinking is just that if you’re a person who rarely interacts (not necessarily playing games), let alone not being creative, you can’t be feeling “whole”. So, stop watching TV and create something. It doesn’t necessarily mean art, or anything even remotely useful, really. I think “re-creating” your living space counts, too. And that’s just a pun i threw in to upset my girlfriend.

Back to Fringe … somehow not as good as X-Files, Lost or Dexter but at least it’s new and not bad either. Just right for my mind right now and doesn’t really matter if i fall asleep while watching.

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