I mentioned 6 months ago that Tiny Speck was going to be interesting and now information has started coming out about their new project, a game named Glitch. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this Cnet interview with Stewart Butterfield and the team but I especially liked their development schedule:
From the get-go, the Tiny Speck team set out to craft their game using a series of five three-month development cycles, each of which would comprise two months of hard-core work, followed by a month of “cleaning up after ourselves,” essentially testing and optimization, and each of which had a set of specific goals and milestones.
Each cycle had a name, and when I first started visiting with Butterfield and Henderson, they had just finished the first, which they called Happy Place. The goals for that three-month period? To get done “the minimum amount of stuff we needed to get done (for the game) to be fun.”
Five cycles is probably quite long for many project and impossibly long for boot strappers but I still like the cycle system with one third for “cleaning up after ourselves”. For smaller projects cycle length and/or number of cycles could be smaller and you could also aim to release something minimal after the first cycle and then perfect the thing after each cycle*.
* At which point it’s a version of Agile but I still like their model.