Couple of days ago I was asking our Dead Wake programmer how’s things and what has he completed. He said that “everything was fine until you came here…”
Luckily he was joking.
He had almost finished the list of tasks I’ve given to him, and said that he wanted to complete them before discussing with me. I was so curious to know where he was, so he continued joking that he couldn’t continue programming since I was asking all these questions.
Eventually he said that everything was indeed fine and explained what he had done, but this funny comment made me think how true this statement can be.
Are helping others to get their jobs done?
Producers from EA, Sony, Relic, Gas Powered Games, and others have given me hints about the role of the producer. All these producers agree that one key responsibility of a producer is to assist others to get their jobs done. If you keep bugging others asking what they are doing, when will they do this, could they do that, have they heard it, and thousand more questions – you eventually might get people to think “everything went fine until you came here”.
On the other hand, if you never ask any questions chances are that others start to think “what do you care – you never ask about what we want”.
So, how do you know whether you are assisting others, or just a hindrance?
The best way I’ve used is pretty simple: ask them.
If you encourage people to suggest how you could improve your game development practices, chances are that they will say something. Asking them “how we could improve our work” can be very effective, if you actually do something. Asking things “because there’s reflection phase in agile work” is not going to work unless you actually take time to implement those ideas.
Avoiding interrupting other people’s work while helping the team members to get their work done more effective is essential for every game producer.