Video Games as Communication in Agile Software Development

MBA Thesis by Clarke Foley  Read Here

University at Albany School of Business 2013

Executive Summary 

Clarke Foley video games as communication in agile software development teams

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As a project manager on Agile software development teams for the last three years, it has been my job to facilitate and improve communication between team members and stakeholders. This prompted me to inquire as to the possible relationship between video game communication and Agile software development team communication. I wanted to prove that the types of communications used for recreational and competitive video gaming can prepare a person for the interactions that occur on Agile software development teams.


When playing a video game today, it is very common for users to be involved in a real-time multiplayer environment with geographically dispersed, virtual teammates. They must work towards a common initiative either against the computer or another team. These game lobbies function similarly to virtual teams in the work environment at many software companies.


Agile game communication clarke foley

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By introducing video games as not only a recreational activity, but as a team building exercise, video games can help build the foundations of teamwork that lead to successful project completion. This blend of entertainment, social interaction, and task orientation is an enjoyable experience that is similar to when team members are pair programming or working on development tasks together.

This thesis shows that if a team strives to be fully functional and have high value communications, the use of daily Scrums, team chat rooms, shared code repositories, and other Agile processes can be catalysts. By introducing video games as a way to “break the ice” for team collaboration, there will likely be an increase in positive attitudes, behaviors, and social interactions within the team. This will subsequently improve the team’s openness to communication, perspective reconciliation, shared cognition, task effectiveness, social orientation, and can lead to decreased turnover, while increasing the likelihood of project success.

Open Source Festival 2013

Open Source Festival 2013

SUNY Albany April 25th

Vitaly Babiy on the panel from Agora Games

Vitaly Babiy on the panel from Agora Games


Open Source Festival is an annual event put on by the American Society for Information Science and Technology – UAlbany Student Chapter (ASIS&T). It aims to bring members from academia and industry together to promote participation and utilization of open source code.

Participants from Kitware, Agora Games, The Vista Extensions Hub, MadGlory Interactive and others opened the floor to a discussion panel on how to bridge the gap between academic learning and industry involvement in Tech Valley.

As Vitaly Babiy from Agora Games explained, students who seek internships and co-ops while attending school immediately have a one-up over other graduates. They gain valuable work-environment experience before graduation, and this helps them refine and focus their job search while simultaneously bolstering their résumé. Babiy has made more than 60 open source contributions in the last year.


As I noted during the panel, a great opportunity is for local companies to come in and mentor a class project. As I experienced last semester in Software Analysis and Design with Professor Eliot Rich, solving a real-world example in a class project adds validity to the exercise. For this evening MBA class, Price Chopper mentored the project which involved creating a software development plan and prototype in Access or Java for an online grocery shopping website. Real world requirements analysis and development processes were employed while Price Chopper representatives from their IT department reviewed our progress.


MadGlory takes pride in the Tech Valley region and Open Source Festival 2013 was a great way to see how local businesses can encourage current and future students to participate in computer science, business, and information technology classes. The best résumé for a job application (at MadGlory or wherever) is to participate in open source projects on GitHub.