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Additional Roles

Larger groups of people and projects invoke extra work and roles that help overcome problems of scale. This section describes some I’ve found useful.

Project Management Support

Due to the enormous production debt of a large game development project, pairing a Lead Product Owner with someone who can help him manage that debt is often beneficial. That role is often a “senior producer” or “development director” in studios. This role will support the Lead Product Owner to prioritize work that helps refine the content production plan to ensure work is ordered to meet schedules (for example, making sure we are ready with tool pipeline functionality when motion capture actors arrive).

Supplemental Roles

The book Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum (Larman and Vodde, 2014) describes several additional roles outside of teams that I’ve found useful for game development:

Travelers are team members on one or two teams that only stay for an iteration or two to provide assistance and to teach developers. An example is the physics expert who works with a team to set up a cloth effect and also pairs with another programmer to write the code. After the cloth is working the traveler leaves, and the programmer remains to support the cloth effect.

Scouts attend as many of the Daily Scrums as possible and provide a progress report to the Lead Product Owner. They also take part in Release Planning and Backlog refinement meetings helping large teams to be more synchronized.

Component mentors are members of a feature team who reserve spare time to mentor other teams on their component (such as multiplayer online) or discipline (for example, animation or programming). They teach techniques and help advise teams on the best way to implement features related to their component or area of expertise.

Pillar Champions

Pillars (described previously) benefit from having a champion that, like a Component Mentor, work with every team to help support its pillar, such as monetization or ways to connect the game to social media platforms such as Facebook.

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