Is your game able to sell well even if despised by critics?

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Analysis of our game Woodle Tree Adventures and its sequel Woodle Tree 2: Deluxe+

Hel­lo my friends!
In this blog post I would like to ana­lyze our first game, since I think could be an inter­est­ing read for the new game devel­op­ers who are approach­ing to this world.

We devel­oped our first full game “Woo­dle Tree Adven­tures” in 2013 (using the engine Unity3D), even though we were total­ly begin­ners we decid­ed to try any­way and see what kind of game we would be able to devel­op.
The game is now avail­able on all plat­forms (Nin­ten­do Switch, Steam, Xbox One and PS4)

Link to the game (Switch):


Even though we were pret­ty sat­is­fied of our game, the crit­ics judged us very neg­a­tive­ly, and this image is sure­ly enough to show you what I mean:

A 28 on Meta­crit­ic is a score that could destroy your career (and can knock you down), but over­all even if not per­fect, the game sold hun­dreds of thou­sands of copies and a lot of gamers appre­ci­at­ed play­ing it.
As an exam­ple here are some few images that can show you the appre­ci­a­tion of our fans:

70% on Steam reviews are pos­i­tive with 1420 total reviews

That said, I’m not insin­u­at­ing that you have to ignore the crit­ics and review­ers. You sure­ly have to lis­ten to them, and this is what we did for the sequel of the game Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe;
We took as les­son every lit­tle feed­back that we gained from review­ers and tried to make some­thing unique, this helped us infact to reach a 71 on Meta­crit­ic:

(Now avail­able on all plat­forms too):

Dur­ing this time any­way I always won­dered why the first game was so much appre­ci­at­ed by play­ers but not by crit­ics (I still receive mes­sages every­day from fans say­ing that they loved Woo­dle Tree Adventures).

Prob­a­bly the fact is that the game is very sim­ple and many play­ers like sim­plic­i­ty and even though has bugs here and there, many play­ers ignored them after a while.

Or could be the fact that being our first game and hav­ing many defects, many gamers were able to under­stand this while play­ing and even have fun thanks to this fact.

Any­way what I want­ed to tell you if you’re start­ing just now devel­op­ing games is to not take crit­ics to your game as some­thing per­son­al: try to take them for what they are (just opin­ions about your game and not about you) and learn from these.
It’s not easy for devel­op­ers to be able to judge their own game objec­tive­ly after years of work, but it’s sure­ly some­thing that I think needs to be done.

Thank­ful­ly there are many gamers like these that sure­ly will cheer you up and make you under­stand that your work was worth it:

Suicide Guy a port-mortem 3 years after release

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Hel­lo my friends!

I would like to write a post about the devel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing of Sui­cide Guy and its new chap­ters. (link)

Even if is a game of 2017 (3 years ago), the game is still sell­ing real­ly well thanks to the con­stan­cy of our updates and the mar­ket­ing we’re mak­ing to adver­tise the new chap­ters and con­tent that we’re adding to the game.

The game has sold for now a total of over 150.000 copies on all plat­forms (notice that it includes all the chap­ters) and is still sell­ing con­sis­tent­ly like the pre­vi­ous year with­out major slow­downs.

You can check this in the pie chart below:

Here a graph tak­en direct­ly from Steam with the copies sold start­ing from 2017 to 2020 (of course includes sales and deals). As you can see it seems that the curve goes even up and the inter­est in the game is still very high.

The curios­i­ty about the game is still increas­ing prob­a­bly due to the new VR edi­tion that we’re going to release in few months.
(You can join our Dis­cord serv­er here for updates:

I noticed that the inter­est in VR has nev­er been so high, that is why we’re port­ing the game for all VR devices and at the same time con­tin­u­ing to add content.

Since the game is still unknown by many play­ers, I’m even test­ing new mar­ket­ing strate­gies, for exam­ple post­ing video updates of the game on Red­dit. You can check for exam­ple This Post

As you can see the inter­est in the VR edi­tion of the game is incred­i­bly high, with a lot of play­ers that even played the first game and are eager to try this new VR edition!

This kind of mar­ket­ing is both cre­at­ing aware­ness on the upcom­ing VR game and help­ing actu­al sales of the game already released in 2017.

Here some oth­er post exam­ples that I made to cre­ate aware­ness on the upcom­ing release:

Per­son­al­ly I have to say that even after years after the first game, I’m still hav­ing fun to return to the project and con­tin­ue it with new content.

Thanks to this, the team is con­stant­ly expand­ing, so you can expect new games of this and new series com­ing out soon!

Remem­ber that you can grab a copy of the game here if you want:

And here a sneak peek of the logo of Sui­cide Guy VR com­ing soon

Game Development during Covid 19 situation

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Hel­lo my friends!

Giv­en the times ahead of all of us, we’ve decid­ed to write a blog post about remote game devel­op­ment, some­thing that in the next months (or years?) will be nec­es­sary for all stu­dios. Our team has always worked suc­ces­ful­ly in remote dur­ing the last 10 years, so prob­a­bly we have a tip or 2 for you.

We hope that this post will be use­ful for all the teams that are approach­ing this new kind of inter­nal reor­ga­ni­za­tion. our team is rather small (com­posed by 7 devel­op­ers: 2 pro­gram­mers, 1 game design­er, 1 sound design­er, 1 2D artist and 2 3D mod­ellers), but I think this method can be applied even to larg­er teams of 20 or more.

Here are the 10 sug­ges­tions for Smart Work­ing in game development:


Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is obvi­ous­ly a must, and it’s some­thing that has to be done in all forms: Email, Chat, Voice Chat and Video Chat are all essen­tials.
Here some of the best soft­wares that we use for this:

Skype (main­ly for chat­ting and voice)
Dis­cord (for chat­ting)
Zoom (for video con­fer­ences)
Slack (for chat with the whole team and team groups)

The project man­ag­er must ensure that every­one is updat­ed on the game: is the key fig­ure that must com­mu­ni­cate con­tin­u­ous­ly with every­one.

It’s impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate only the essen­tials dur­ing work­ing hours in order not to make time wast­ed for every team mem­ber.
1 Voice chat with the whole team every 1 or 2 days is the right choice in order to keep every­one updat­ed on the game project.

Teamwork Online: The ultimate guide to high performance remote teams


the sec­ond most impor­tant thing is to keep track of every­thing that has been done by every team mem­ber. Depend­ing on the team size I would sug­gest the fol­low­ing softwares:

Trel­lo (for small­er teams from 2 to 10)
Jira (for larg­er teams from 10 to 50)
Mon­day (for large teams from 50 to 100)

The most impor­tant thing is to add dead­lines oth­er that tasks for every team mem­ber.
Also I would sug­gest to add depen­den­cies in order to keep track of what is best to give pri­or­i­ty to: you have to avoid the case in which a team mem­ber has to wait for anoth­er to com­plete his task.

Create A Board | Getting Started with Trello


The use of repos­i­to­ry is some­thing that needs to be done always and is use­ful so that every team mem­ber can access the project and add his assets.
Here some of the best soft­wares for this:





We main­ly use Source­Tree, but since it’s not meant for game devel­op­ment, it some­time has prob­lems due to con­flict­ing branch­es and files size.
Prob­a­bly with larg­er teams and projects, the best soft­ware to use is Per­force.

If a team mem­ber does not know how to use it well enough, or does not know the game engine, is always bet­ter to make him send his asset files to a spe­cial­ized team mem­ber: he’ll be able to inte­grate with more effi­cien­cy the assets, with­out the risk to break the whole project.

Sourcetree | Free Git GUI for Mac and Windows


Fre­quent and clear feed­back from team mem­ber super­vi­sors are indeed impor­tant, and must con­tin­ue through­out the whole day.
When work­ing remote­ly, you do tend to work in a bit of a vac­u­um and it can feel like you have no idea whether you are doing a good job or not, unless you get lots of feed­back.

Feed­back can be pro­vid­ed direct­ly with screens or mini videos that can help to under­stand what is the actu­al feed­back refer­ring to.

A use­ful soft­ware is Teamview­er, used to con­trol direct­ly a com­put­er from anoth­er: we use it inter­nal­ly even when two pro­gram­mers need to work on the same script file.

Bridging the Gap with Remote Team Collaboration | Cheesecake Labs


Doc­u­men­ta­tion is impor­tant to be clear and pre­cise, you can’t afford to have docs that are not under­stand­able by the whole team.
If this occurs, the project man­ag­er should improve the doc­u­men­ta­tion or even rewrite it com­plete­ly.

This includes both tech­ni­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion, game design doc­u­men­ta­tion and assets doc­u­men­ta­tion.

The real­i­ty is that the sin­gle devel­op­er is going to make a lot of deci­sions in a vac­u­um with­out feed­back most of the time, so hav­ing as much back­ground as they can is nec­es­sary so that the deci­sions he takes are fair­ly good.
Be sure that every­one is using the same soft­ware for writ­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion (Word and OpenOf­fice are the most com­mon ones) since pass­ing files from one user to anoth­er could cre­ate prob­lems.

Writ­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion through cloud ser­vices is prob­a­bly the best way to avoid any kind of prob­lem: we usu­al­ly use Google Docs since it includes even sheets and files for pre­sen­ta­tions. Every­one can edit the same file online in real time.

HR Documentation: A Step-By-Step Guide - Insperity


It’s easy to be dis­tract­ed when you work at home, but is fun­da­men­tal not to lose time or even work out­side work­ing hours.

Since you have your lap­top at every hour of the day, it’s pos­si­ble that you’ll some­times work extra hours, but we would rec­om­mend not to do this: a lot of sci­en­tif­ic papers found out that work­ing too much hours with­out the right bal­ance will inevitably cause a long-term low­er­ing of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

At the same time is easy to lose con­cen­tra­tion due to the house­hold chores you have to do: you have to find a room in your house that is suf­fi­cient­ly iso­lat­ed in order to avoid this.

Typing jobs! Work at home and get paid - create a side job and ...


Be dis­tract­ed is as easy as los­ing the morale for a team mem­ber.
Work­ing remote­ly is nev­er easy, so try not to be too pre­ten­tious with your team mem­bers: since you’re always dis­tant, is easy to be offend­ed or misunderstood.

You can try to use extra hours for exter­nal team activ­i­ties like play­ing an online videogame! This can def­i­nite­ly improve team bond­ing.

Motivating Your Team: How to keep morale high | Udemy


You prob­a­bly have a Game Design Doc­u­ment for your game, and every­one needs to fol­low it as much as possible.

One sug­ges­tion we have, is to write more than one GDD: in addi­tion to the in-depth and long main doc­u­ment, oth­er short­er and more con­cise docs needs to be writ­ten in order for every team mem­ber to eas­i­ly access it.

The short­er docs could even be ad hoc for every team group (one for sound design­ers, one for 3D mod­el­ers etc).

Use always Google Docs so that every­one can eas­i­ly access them with­out the need to down­load large files.

Professional Game Design Document by lhodgesdesign - issuu


Don’t for­get to con­tin­ue to mar­ket your game!
Even if you can’t attend any­more to gam­ing events and con­fer­ences, this does­n’t mean that you can’t con­tin­ue to reach mil­lions of gamers.

Online social mar­ket­ing is today prob­a­bly the most effi­cient way to present your game to the pub­lic in rela­tion to vis­i­bil­i­ty and earn­ings.

Social media cam­paigns on Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter, Google Ads, Red­dit and Linkedin are prob­a­bly the most effi­cient ones.
So keep­ing your gamers updat­ed and engaged on your games even in these dif­fi­cult times is the key.

5 Tips for DIY Mobile Game Marketers - Chartboost


This is some­thing that I would sug­gest in nor­mal times, but of course is start­ing to be almost impos­si­ble to meet your team in real life dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

The real life meet­ings are essen­tial and we think needs to be done at least one every two weeks:
This helps to focus on the game direc­tion and even to strength­en team union.

If real life reunions are impos­si­ble, we would sug­gest to at least make a video con­fer­ence call using Skype or Zoom.

Illustration Meeting by ziunnnlai on Dribbble


It would­n’t be a game devel­op­ment guide if it did­n’t have some extra con­tent :)

One last sug­ges­tion is to find your best work­place at home: if you have a note­book, you can work almost every­where and will be tempt­ed to work in the most unimag­in­able places (on your sofa or the toi­let for exam­ple), but we would sug­gest to find the place where you will have in the most cor­rect pos­ture.

Your back will thank!

work from home illustration by Sanket on Dribbble

Here you can find oth­er use­ful arti­cles about remote devel­op­ment:

Writ­ten by Jake Simp­son:
Work­ing Remote­ly: Yes, It Sounds Good, But How Do You Actu­al­ly Do It?

Writ­ten by Robert Del­laFave:
Work­ing Remote­ly: Man­ag­ing an Inde­pen­dent Game Devel­op­ment Team

Writte by Daniel Doan:
GameDev Thoughts: How To Man­age A Remote Game Devel­op­ment Team 

Woodle Tree 2: Deluxe+ available now on PlayStation 4!

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Hel­lo my friends!
I’m glad to announce that Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe+ is now avail­able for PlaySta­tion 4!

It includes now even the free DLC Sleepin’ Flow­ers! (with many new extra lev­els) Check the game page here for more infos:

What does this new edi­tionDeluxe+ includes?

Here the offi­cial trail­er announce

If you want to have a chance to win a pro­mo code for the PS4 game, write to us at!

5 Years on Steam — Sales Analysis

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Hel­lo my friends!
In this post I would like to talk about sales and mar­ket­ing analy­sis on Steam dur­ing a peri­od start­ing from 2014 to 2019.

I think a lot of game devel­op­ers could ben­e­fit from this analy­sis to under­stand how the mar­ket has changed and if it’s real­ly more dif­fi­cult today to be able to sell your game to the mass.

Sales Chart Analysis

I’ll start by shar­ing this sales chart of all our games start­ing from June 2014 to Sep­tem­ber 2019 (5 years)

Orange is the num­ber of copies sold, blue is the effec­tive rev­enue in $

Woo­dle Tree Adven­tures has been our first game released in 2014. As you can see, even if there were few games on Steam (less than 4.000), the game did­n’t sell a lot of copies dur­ing the first release days. (today there are 30.000 total games on Steam).

At that time the game has been approved with Green­light, while today there is a faster way using Steam Direct to pub­lish your game.

Dur­ing 2015 we released a lot of oth­er exper­i­men­tal games (The Deer, Heav­en Island VR MMO, Heav­en For­est VR MMO and more).
These games did per­form nice­ly with thou­sands of copies sold dur­ing the first days, but it was­n’t con­stant through time, so in the long term did­n’t con­tin­ue to sell well as you can see from the sales chart.

In 2016 we released the sequel (Woo­dle Tree 2: Worlds) that did per­form well, but not like the first game, prob­a­bly due to many games released on the store too.

In 2017 the num­ber of games on Steam tripled, so we feared that our new game would not per­form well, but we were wrong.
In July 2017 Sui­cide Guy has been released and dur­ing the first week the rev­enues sur­passed the ones from all our past games com­bined.
As you can see from the chart, sales did not stop and con­tin­ued thanks to the fact that we con­tin­ued to update the game with new lev­els and improve­ments (for exam­ple Christ­mas and Hal­loween themes levels)

In 2018 we released a new chap­ter of the game called Sui­cide Guy: Sleepin’ Deeply that per­formed pret­ty well even though the games on Steam dou­bled once again (with almost 30.000 games total).
Dur­ing these years we con­tin­ued to expand and update our most suc­cess­full games: this helped to main­tain sales con­stant through the time with­out releas­ing new games.

In 2019 we’re still updat­ing our past games (Sui­cide Guy and its expan­sions) while work­ing on new big­ger projects. I’ll update the post when the new games will launch!

Has the Steam Market changed?

Yes of course, but I think is still pos­si­bile to sell well on this plat­form.
A key fac­tor is to cre­ate an orig­i­nal game and con­tin­ue to update it even after the release date.

You real­ly need to keep the game up to date and keep ask­ing play­ers for feed­backs: this is an approach that we’re using right now even for our con­sole games (Nin­ten­do Switch, PS4 and Xbox One).

This not only keeps the sales sta­ble through time, but helps you cre­ate a more pro­found bound with your fans. (after all it thanks to them if we can keep mak­ing games!)


As a final con­sid­er­a­tion I would like to say to all the devel­op­ers to not be afraid by the num­bers of games released every year on Steam.
I have read a lot of arti­cles on var­i­ous gam­ing web­sites alarm­ing all the devel­op­ers, but If you real­ly have an orig­i­nal idea and have enough game devel­op­ment expe­ri­ence to cre­ate a full game from start to fin­ish, then you just need to focus on your game only.

Of course is still pos­si­bile (as it was before) that a game does not sell well: after­all there are a ton of dif­fer­ent vari­ables that could make a game sell poor­ly, but you need to keep that as an expe­ri­ence for your next game.

Thanks for read­ing!
I’ll con­tin­ue to udpate this post too, if you have feed­backs let me know at

Woodle Tree 2: Deluxe now available for Nintendo Switch! — And Upcoming Free DLC

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Hel­lo my friends!
We’re glad to announce that Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe is now avail­able for Nin­ten­do Switch!

This is an improved ver­sion of the 2016 game released on Steam Only.
More­over a new DLC is com­ing next week with a ton of new chal­lenges and levels!

Stay tuned :)

Suicide Guy — 2 Years after release

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Hel­lo my friends!

We’re delight­ed to announce that 2 years after the release (back in 2017), Sui­cide Guy has become now our most suc­cess­ful game with over 100.000 copies sold on all plat­forms!

Here a pie chart and the copies sold in order of release on every plat­form, we hope this will help oth­er game devel­op­ers as well!

Steam edi­tion 43k

PlaySta­tion 4 edi­tion: 32k copies sold

Nin­ten­do Switch edi­tion: 25k copies sold

Thanks to this, the team is con­stant­ly expand­ing, so you can expect new games of this and new series com­ing out soon!

Woodle Tree Adventures Deluxe on Xbox One available now!

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Hel­lo my friends!
We’re glad to announce that our first game for Xbox One is now available!

You can get it here:

Woo­dle Tree Adven­tures is an old school plat­form game with a catchy and unique art style! Explore a total of 6 worlds and save the lands with the mag­i­cal water drops you’ll find through your jour­ney, bring­ing back peace and bal­ance and final­ly becom­ing the new hero!

Pan European Game Information


The devel­op­ment of the game has been pret­ty dif­fi­cult due to some request from Microsoft in order to fit their stan­dards. It took about 3 months for the con­ver­sion from PC (Steam) to Xbox One.

For exam­ple we had to han­dle the users, achieve­ments to include, gen­er­al opti­miza­tion and a lot of things that were new for us.

I hope you’ll enjoy this deluxe edi­tion, have fun! 

Woodle Tree 2: Development Blog

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In this post I would like to talk to you about our next project in devel­op­ment for
Nin­ten­do Switch and PlaySta­tion 4 “Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe”.

Pro­vi­so­ry logo

This is actu­al­ly a remake of a game released in 2016 on Steam called “Woo­dle Tree 2: Worlds” (link)

The game was pret­ty suc­cess­ful at his time with over 20.000 copies sold, but we were not able to include all the con­cepts and mechan­ics we want­ed due to time and bud­get limit.

Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe first screenshot!

Thanks to the great suc­cess of oth­er games we’ve release in last years (like Sui­cide Guy and more) we now have the bud­get to be able to cre­ate even a greater title!

We start­ed the devel­op­ment of this new ver­sion in June 2018, try­ing to adapt the whole game to Nin­ten­do Switch.
Since it’s an open world plat­former, the effort has been huge con­sid­er­ing the lim­it­ed hard­ware and the fact that our tar­get was to achieve 60 fps.

Here a glimps of the map of the whole game, com­pre­hend­ing over 9 lev­els + new dif­fer­ent plat­form­ing areas:

Con­cept of the World map in Woo­dle Tree 2: Deluxe

The remake we’re try­ing to achieve will com­pre­hend a total redesign with new lev­els, char­ac­ters, new cutscenes, improved game mechan­ics and much more.

We real­ly hope you’ll appre­ci­ate the effort!

We’ve already start­ed to adver­tise the game with a huge feed­back from fans

This is very use­ful since we’re still gath­er­ing feed­back from play­ers, and the game is far from finished.

The game will be released in 2019, I’ll soon update this post inform­ing you on all the new things we’re adding to the game!

New Intro menu

Here mean­while some cool con­cepts from new char­ac­ters and items!

Agile Game Development process for Indies

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Hel­lo my friend!
In this post I would like to talk about the game devel­op­ment process we’ve acu­tal­ly used dur­ing the last years for our games.

To start by, I would sug­gest you to read even the “Agile Game Devel­op­ment with Scrum” book by Clin­ton Kei­th:
Ama­zon link

The process we’re acu­tal­ly using is very sim­i­lar even if it’s applied to a much small­er scale stu­dio (of 5 peo­ple instead of 200).

What is Agile?

Agile is an approach for devel­op­ing prod­ucts using short and fast iter­a­tions.

The ideas is to make small fea­tures for the cur­rent project in small peri­ods of time. In this way the results of each iter­a­tion are used to adjust the project plan: each iter­a­tion is like a short project in itself.

What is SCRUM?

SCURM is an iter­a­tive and incre­men­tal Agile process that pro­duces demon­stra­ble work­ing soft­ware every few days: for exam­ple a build of the project that can actu­al­ly be tested.

How Agile can be used for Indie Games? 

I think Agile can be real­ly use­ful for indie game stu­dios if used wise­ly:
Since the ini­tial con­cept of a game does nev­er per­fect­ly reflect how the final game will be, I think a Water­fall Devel­op­ment process is use­less in most cas­es.

We usu­al­ly start with the Con­cept of the game and then start the Pre­pro­duc­tion and Pro­to­typ­ing process for test­ing the main mechan­ics of the game.

While we’re still in the Pro­duc­tion process, the Con­cept and Design core of the game can still be mod­i­fied depend­ing on the feed­backs of our testers that are test­ing the first pro­to­types.
If some­thing is not work­ing well in a game mechan­ic, we’re still able to mod­i­fy it with­out great effort from the Pro­gram­mers.

This is just an exam­ple, but this process can be used to every phase of the devel­op­ment: for exam­ple while the Sound Design­er is mak­ing the sound effects of a char­ac­ter and the Ani­ma­tor is mak­ing the ani­ma­tions for it, the Game Design­er can test both and give feed­back on how well the sound effects are linked to the ani­ma­tions.

Per­son­al­ly I think that Con­cept and Design can be mod­i­fied through the entire devel­op­ment process of a game (even in the final Post Pro­duc­tion stages) if this does not change too much the Dead­line Release.

Extended Agile

I think Agile can be even extend­ed while work­ing on mul­ti­ple projects at the same time.
We usu­al­ly devel­op 2 or 3 games at the same time and Agile is real­ly use­ful since some of the ideas, con­cepts and mechan­ics could pop up in the devel­op­ment of a game and can be used even on oth­er projects.

This process can even be use­ful to avoid Depen­den­cies of mem­bers of the team: for exam­ple if a pro­gram­mer is wait­ing for the ani­ma­tions of the main char­ac­ter in order to fin­ish the code for the run mechan­ic, he can mean­while work on oth­er mechan­ics or on anoth­er project.

It’s impor­tant to have a cohe­sive team, since the poten­tial sav­ings in cost for team is lost when time and effort is wast­ed through iter­a­tion delays and depen­den­cies between team members.

Final Considerations

One of the most inter­est­ing phras­es from the Agile Game Devel­op­ment book refer­ring to the best team Clin­ton worked with is:

“Much of the chem­istry of that team is a mys­tery to me. There does­n’t seem to be a for­mu­la for how such teams can be cre­at­ed, but I’ve found that it’s quite easy to pre­vent such teams from form­ing” - Clin­ton Kei­th

Agile and Scrum are sure­ly some of the things that real­ly can help these kinds of team to form since it allows all the mem­bers of the team to com­mu­ni­cate and have a larg­er view on the project.

Useful Resources: