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The Game Production Handbook, 2nd Edition by Heather Maxwell Chandler

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TEAMS
In This Chapter
• Project Leadership
• Picking Leads
• Team Building
Team Buy-in and Motivation
Quality of Life
7.1 I
NTRODUCTION
G
ame development is a young industry—both in age of the average em-
ployee and in the age of the industry. This youth is reflected in the sense
of immaturity that is commonly found in development teams. Some
people have the misconception that working at a game company is all fun and
games. Although this is the case to some degree, employees are still expected to
act in a professional manner—this means showing up to work on time and tak-
ing responsibility for completing any assigned work. One of the major responsi-
bilities of a producer is managing this young talent and ensuring that everyone
makes a useful contribution to the game.
To be a strong and effective producer, you must develop your leadership
skills so you can maintain the team’s morale, take care of the team’s needs, and
keep everyone motivated throughout the game’s development. Motivation can
be a challenge as it requires managing many different personalities, helping peo-
ple discover their strengths, and neutralizing any risks to team morale, such as
Chapter 7Chapter 7
108 THE GAME PRODUCTION HANDBOOK, 2/E
shortened schedules, difficult personalities, and so on. The producer must take
this responsibility seriously; otherwise, people will stop collaborating with each
other, and the quality of the game will suffer.
If the producer is committed to building and maintaining a strong team,
many of the other risks on a project will be minimized, mainly because the lines
of communication are open, and people are aware of these risks much sooner in
the process. Because of this awareness, the risks have less chance of snowballing
into more serious problems. This chapter discusses some ways to build strong
teams and maintain project momentum, even during stressful times.
Recommended Reading, The Essential Drucker
Peter F. Drucker is has written on the topic of management for over 30 years
and is considered one of the foremost experts on management. He believes that
in order to get the best work out of people, you must manage their strengths and
present them ample opportunities for personal and professional development.
HOW THE PRODUCER BUILDS A TEAM
Tracy Fullerton, Assistant Professor
University of Southern California
When I am a producer, I think of my role as being quite a bit about social
engineering—making sure there is an environment in which people can do their
best work, feel like they are contributing their best efforts, and have the necessary
resources to do the work. Some other people will tell you that the producer’s job is
to get the project in on time and under budget. This is also very important, but I am
more focused on making sure that the team and the processes are running smoothly.
This involves a lot of walking around and talking to people, so I can see what people
are working on and help facilitate their collaboration with others on the team.
The best possible way to manage the team is to make sure that every single per-
son on the team, including the executives, feels a sense of authorship. Sometimes,
not everyone wants everyone else to feel that sense of authorship; they want to make
decisions on their own and dictate to everyone else, and that’s where you can get
into hairy situations. But the best situation is if you can keep people communicat-
ing and create a good atmosphere in which the executives feel like their input is
important, and the artists, technologists, and designers feel like their opinions have
an impact on the game.

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