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  • Joseph Siehl

Guilded Developer Blog | Switching Development Processes in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak


Introduction:

On March 6, 2020, myself and my teammates at Adjective Noun stopped taking classes at Champlain College for our week-long Spring Break. We planned out the break in such a way that team members who wanted to work on Guilded could easily set up tasks, complete them, and log hours for them without requiring us to plan out a full sprint. This was especially nice since many of us did not want to work on the game during the break, instead using it as an opportunity to relax in the middle of a stressful college semester or to work on job applications.


However, partway through the break, we encountered a new issue we had not even considered up to that point. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in the United States of America, along with fears of it spreading further, led to many public schools and colleges closing or going digital across the country. Champlain College was one such school. This threw a massive wrench into Guilded's production cycle; our team could no longer reliably meet in person, which hampered our ability to plan sprints, perform work meetings, and communicate with one another in general. However, we are nothing if not adaptable, and we quickly began working to overcome these obstacles.

 

Forging On:

Not too long after Champlain College announced they would be going fully digital for a minimum of three weeks, our team met to discuss our plans going forward. Unfortunately, I was absent for this particular meeting, but I was available to join them when they started meeting again for daily scrum at our usual time (10:00pm). Up until this point, we always discussed our daily work via Google Hangouts, so it was easy for us to return to form. We also began setting up plans for how we would meet and communicate with one another from thereon.


One part of these plans involved creating a team Discord server, which contains separate voice channels we can use to perform meetings. We held one such meeting earlier today (March 19, 2020) to make plan out the coming sprint cycle. Not being able to interact in-person did cause some problems (such as not having access to the whiteboards we normally use to write out important information), but we were able to mitigate most of these using Discord's Screen Share feature. This made it fairly easy for us to remotely set up the week's tasks and to prepare ourselves for Saturday's work meeting.


Unfortunately, we have not gone much further than simply making plans, so it is difficult for me to say whether or not this change will prove successful as of now. However, I do believe that we have made several important steps towards adapting to our current conditions in a surprisingly short period of time. I also believe that, if we continue along this path, we will be able to develop Guilded into an even stronger game in spite of the current conditions.

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