Agility at Miniclip

Miniclip was founded in 2001 by Rob Small and Tihan Presbie – a young games enthusiast fresh from university with a dream to build the next generation game entertainment company, and an entrepreneur in computerized financial trading. It was as lean and agile as it gets.

In 2010 we established a foothold in the mobile gaming market and since have seen dramatic growth over the years by consistently delivering an exciting experience that now reaches an audience of 200 million monthly active users worldwide, with a catalogue of high quality mobile games that have been downloaded over 1 billion times.

Amid this growth we have always cherished our ability to succeed while remaining lean and nimble in our operations—something we believe contributed at a fundamental level to our achievement—but market expansion eventually required approaching the way we organised our multicultural talent pool in a more scalable manner. Building on the core of agile thinking and practice that got us that far put us in the fast lane to transition to what is nowadays broadly understood in the industry as agile software development. Taking advantage of others’ experiences and lessons learned in order to dodge common pitfalls and leverage on proven solutions is “inspecting and adapting” put to practice.

So rather than resisting change, we embrace it—by quickly adapting to market changes and staying in touch with customers we can rapidly respond to incidents and take in feedback from our vibrant and engaged customer base.

We value an easy flow of internal communication without getting stuck in reporting lines. Scrum and Kanban are a great fit to building highly motivated and high performance teams with autonomy to self-organise and achieve greater results. They are also a good fit for the mobile gaming industry, where a product-focused culture with a lot of iteration, live operations, frequent updates and quickly shifting trends demand solutions with embedded mechanisms to better cope with uncertainty. Our Scrum teams have been pivotal to deliver on all of these requirements.

But just as the Manifesto for agile software development came to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools, and responding to change over following a plan, at Miniclip we have come to value pragmatism over purism. Alistair Cockburn, one of the original signatories of the Manifesto, states that Agile has become overly decorated and challenges teams to frame their agile adoption over a set of four basic quadrants: collaborating, delivering, reflecting and improving. These are at the very base of what being agile is and should drive us to take a critical look at how we approach agility and adapt to the needs of the teams without sacrificing results. More important than to strictly do agile and follow Scrum by the book, is to be agile.

We are set to face the years to come with a renewed understanding of agility, built upon the experience of our team of over 250 professionals, eager to share and put to practice their everyday learnings, in service of our users.

Essay By: Pedro Nande, Senior Engineering Operations Lead at Miniclip