In part 2, we addressed the topic of project management in a theoretical manner with a bunch of definitions. In this blog, I will cover how we run things at Codex Worlds and why. My hope is other indies will benefit from this information.
We have a mix of veterans and new game developers who contributed to the discussions and the eventual approach that we have taken in Codex Worlds' first product, Infinium Run.
First, Codex Worlds' challenges:
- 25 team members spread out all over the U.S.
- About 50% of the team are new game developers, many fresh out of school.
- Varying knowledge of management, production, and project management.
- Lots of projects at a very high level of quality.
Codex Worlds' Strengths:
- 8 of the team members have extensive management, production, and project management, including running their own companies, leading their own development teams, and managing decentralized game development.
- Strong cloud-based communication systems, including communication tools, source control, and management tools: Google Drive, Google Hangout, SVN, etc.
- Exceptional indie development tools (available to all!); Maya LT, Unity, Photoshop, and ZBrush (among others) provide our team members with AAA studio level development tools.
Codex Worlds Project Management Philosophies:
- Be practical. With limited resources, a full-time project management position is not a good use of resources. We do not strictly follow either Waterfall or SCRUM/Agile systems.
- We take the best of several PM systems and use what is practical for our team.
- We take into account we have strong, experienced leads for art, programming, design, producing, and publishing.
- We realize this is our first product, and half the team is training up to AAA standards as well as high efficiency goals in their respective disciplines, including art, programming, and marketing.
Codex Worlds Day-to-Day:
- From Waterfall, we take specs very seriously. Whether it be a design doc, technical spec, production doc, or project management doc, each lead is responsible for several documents to guide their respective groups. We treat this like a NASA mission. If any group fails to provide adequate guidance through documentation, the whole mission fails. We provide docs early and often.
- From SCRUM/AGILE, we meet early and often to analyze, comment, and course correct game and publishing content: prototypes, concept art, 3-D models, game builds, web review, video review, etc. Notes are taken, and tasks are assigned based on frequent iterations of content.
- We track progress through a system of weekly check-ins and task lists.
- We are developing a cloud-based QA and ticketing system.
We have extensive experience in full PM task tracking and task management systems, such as JIRA. We also understand the entire team must be trained and must follow rules in order to effectively use these comprehensive systems. Given our experienced leads, detailed specs, and frequent evaluation meetings, we decided against a company-wide system of project management. This doesn't mean we aren't benefiting from these excellent PM systems; it means we are being practical given our resources ... Especially for project management. For our next project, who knows? Odds are we will have more, not less, project management.