You can learn a lot from publisher-developer relationships. At least, so we hope in the case of SCRUM. Unlike the more traditional development model emphasizing set milestone deliverables, SCRUM specializes in iterative development with more adaptive milestones. An article about game law and SCRUM management focuses on contracts between publishers and developers. It seems to me these tricks would apply equally well in a contract between a SCRUM developer and an outsourced game writer.
According to attorney Tom Buscaglia, even without predetermined milestones in a SCRUM contract, payments still need to be made on a regular basis. Payments can be triggered a number of different ways. The publisher, or, as is most often the case for writers, the developer could trigger payment by acknowledgement or passive approval of the project’s progress. Alternatively, the developer could approve payment on completion of a milestone agreed upon each month. Both approaches allow for the flexibility that will keep the contract writer on track with the in-house team.
We explored the appeal of flexible deliverables way back in February. In one instance, the contract writer had to follow outdated deliverables while the inhouse writing team progressed each day beyond reach or in new directions. The SCRUM contract or flexible deliverables provide both contractor and developer the ability to change direction without constantly rewriting the contract. Ideally in the SCRUM situation increased communication between developer and writer would lead to stronger and better iterations as well.
Have you had any success with new or different writer contracts?
Last week’s game dialog came from Kain in Blood Omen II. More Guess that Game Dialog to come!