Pain or gain: team-work related issues and synergies

There are times when your project is well prepared, you have all the resources needed and all the things look totally nice.

But…

As gamedev sub-Reddit users note, some of the biggest problems they have in team-work are:

  • Mistrust
  • Responsibilities irrelevance
  • Asynchrony

So:

Mistrust

The team needs a shared belief that it’s safe to take interpersonal risks (“psychological safety”), which includes a deep level of team trust that leads to a willingness to regularly point out errors, admit mistakes, and warn of potential problems or risks. As a part of the team you have to trust to your team every little thing that is team-related.

The team also needs incentives encouraging desirable behaviors and discouraging undesirable. Most difficulties in teamwork are project related issues, that can be solved giving ample feedback and data to team members toward improving their work, and caring about the tools and affordances to get their jobs done.

Responsibilities irrelevance

Team members’ tasks have to be well-defined and clearly specified. Team members’ responsibilities and job roles have to be carefully matched with their particular skills (team skills too) and abilities. Each team member’s unique skills and talents have to be valued and utilized.

Asynchrony

There must be a motivating goal or important objective that directs attention, energizes and sustains effort, builds synergy in teamwork, and encourages development of new strategies. Of course, challenges working in a team will arrive despite of want you or not, can say the same for project management issues. But if the whole team would believe enthusiastically in the vision for game and have ONE SAME VISION for game, then, at least, you most probably would have the game done. To reach synergy at work the development plan for game have to be clear and well-communicated to the team. Personal vision of the game may cause a lot of team work problems, so it have to be clear and well-communicated to the team.

“It’s common for different people on a project to feel that their contribution was the most important part of the game, and to try to solve without team issues and solutions that arise. And it’s not unhealthy, either! This just means that many different team members feel personal ownership and responsibility for that game. One great way to amplify this feeling is to avoid “over-fleshing” your designs. If you leave some ambiguity in the detailed design of your game, particularly for parts you aren’t sure about, it forces the developers working on that section of the game to think about what that section of the game should be like, and to come up with ideas for how to implement those fine details. Since they are often closest to that part of the game, their instincts about detailed design are often quite good — and if their ideas are good ones, and go into the game, they will feel real pride of ownership of those parts of the game”.

* Jesse Schell – The Art of Game Design

It’s a very common thing for gamedev newcomers, where romance of creativity meets lack of discipline and teamwork experience. To teach ‘em and to vectorize key aspects of teamwork is up to you as for experienced part (lead) of the team. Or up to recruiters to hire or not incompetent||unexperienced people.

Caring about your team is the first thing to get your game done. Encourage your colleagues, make them “want to create” instead of “have to work”. And your chances for success will increase drastically.

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