I've started to work on games when I was 9 years old with simple game concepts of Pokemon. Activily started working on games on my teen years. I've used Acknex 7 and 8 engine, Finnish CoolBasic, UnrealEngine2 and Unity3D which I'm using at the moment on my company Kinahmi Multimedia. Alongside game making I've also worked on Armed Assault modding, and Quake modding. On the other activities my hobbies include Boxing and running (plus intence dog picture watching with my girlfriend). My previosu work experience cosists G&A jobs, and one and half year service in Finnish Defence Forces.
In my earlier blog entry I talked about how the large project can be handled and how different difficulties in relationships between friends and collegues can occur. This post will continue with the good stuff when you're handling a large project and how it'll impact your brain and self esteem. I will also list my top ten points I've found you should think about even if you wouldn't be working on management level on current project.
In the end life's a allways changing thing, at first everything goes into a deep hole and almost a moment after you're away from that hole and staring at bright sun. But even larger holes, or chasms if you prefer to call them that way, must be handled with sufficent tools or you will allways fall to the bottom of the hole again. So in the end, don't waste your time thinking on every little thing, concentrate on more important things and if the hole grows large enough start using your tools to get from there: use your vocal chords. When you've worked with people long enough, even resolving a conflict without hurting anyone and leaving everyone happy in the end. I've found that even the small things where you can impact your staff and make a difference to them and to the project.
In my past experience with military service I've learned to be patient. You might not see the changes around you at first as they change little by little and one day you look back and see all the things that have changed. The retrospective to the past can give you a great feeling when you realize all the stuff that has happened and you've not even noticed it and you think yourself: "Wow... We did all that and I didn't even see it? Damn."The day you'll look back to your project will most likely be the day you'll release the product. But I encourage you to do these glances back in time when ever you have time. When you've looked back enough you'll start to notice you find the days when you make a fast progress even greater successful than before. This has happened for me several times, by the time I wrote the first notes which things I wish to write to this post, and this day I'm finally writing the last version.
Ever wondered what makes a great sportsmanship great in his/her field of expertise? The people who are professional boxers, the hobby I've been breathing for four years by the way, they aren't afraid of challenges because they've been pushed and pushed. They've been pushed far enough for them to realize that the farther you push yourself the more you learn about yourself and your profession.
The same pushing to the limits (and now that song started to play in my head, you know which song I mean) can happen when you're managing a large project. Imagine you'd be managing three small projects, how much would you learn about yourself or about your team? In worst case the teams you'd be working with could change for each project and you'd be spending first month learning to get known to the persons you'll be working with. In my opinion you wouldn't learn about youself alot, however you'd learn to behave with other people.
Let's compare the three project case to Kinahmi Games current project,Galactic Conquerors, where I'm CEO of the company and will take over project lead status as the company is founded. The team has worked together for a year and known each other far longer. We've done several not-game-projects together and spent time together away from school. The large project has thought me alot of different people, however less than three separate projects and team would have, and how important it is to find correct person chemistries. When you get the chemistries right you have achieved the best thing you could possibly achieve, a well working team. Along the chemistries you have to have social skills to sell the idea that the game will finish someday and people will see progress. You have to learn how to sell the image of finished product even when everyone's frustrated. Even yourself.
We're far away from finished at Kinahmi Games. But I've had a experience with long term job that consumed my time alot for six months. And I know from that job that when the final day comes you will not only feel amazed about the trip but also alot of other feelings like anger, happines and so on. That day will make your day, it's the pay-day for all your work you've done for the project. When you've done with the project you'll get a higher esteem and you'll feel more happiness in your life. In the end you survived the frustration, didn't you?
My girfiend looked to my writing half an hour ago and joked how long poem I'm going to write to her. When I showed the last paragraph she laughed alot how long text this became to be in the end. Still there's a lot of things I could've and would've wanted to put here, but I have to leave them to next time. What's your opinion about what's the most rewarding thing in large project management? How would you build your support list? Why do you do manage game projects?
In this blog entry, my first blog post on public world ever by the way, I wish to talk a little about project management. Most of us know what it means and how it works on a paper at least but I wish to share my opinions how the management can be giving and frustrating at the same time. I don't currectly work as a project lead or any other role that would be project management, instead I work as a "CEO" of our group handling all the stuff that's above the management. I will talk more about pain and frustration on this blog entry and more about the good stuff next time.
Everyone gets frustrated but I think on a manager of project team you get more pain than anyone else. Why? Because the poop falls on your hair from schedules being late, and someone telling you that you need to do this and this. If that wouldn't be enough someone from your team is pushing more poop to your poophole because they want X thing today and are difficult. Alongside this you have your own problems at home that would need to be sorted. Phew. How to solve it?
On my experience in service and project management that you need one thing: nerves. No matter what happens you have to be polite and calm at the situation. None would benefit if you'd break on the sight. Keep calm. Breath to ten and go kick some pigeons if you happen to have a population on your back yard.
Second thing I should point out is that don't trap yourself in situation where no-one else is right. Most of the time the other people are right, or at least have a seed that can grow larger. And from those little seed plants can grow a fantastic idea that benefits not only your project but everthing on your team starting from atmoshpere ending at personal emotions.
However don't ever,ever forget that you have to call it if there seems to be no resolution. Imagine you find yourself in situation where everyone's arguing on a little thing that isn't really that important? You have the power to shut it and you should use it everytime you find yourself in a dead end. Start the discussion again after some time again if you see there could be benefit on solving the situation.
Work with your friends? It can be difficult sometimes. I personally have days I hate it and could fire myself just so I wouldn't risk any relations to friends. Because when in charge you can't be anything else than the manager, leader or how else you want to call yourself. If your tasks include difficult situations like firing people it can be difficult even if you wouldn't have friends working under your lead. Try to balance it. Share me your know-how if you have figured it out. I'd be more than happy to hear your opinion on this subject.
The days your team work as charm are the days you should remember. Those are the days that help you get yourself through the hard times. Because let's face it we all have them on our personal lives and on management. The good stuff makes helps everything work as fluid and you get your team to flow mode. Personally those days are luckily more than the frustrating ones, luckily. I will talk about these more next time.
What is the most frustrating situation you've been in proejcts? How have you resolved it? What's the golden rule on working with friends?