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Producers shouldn't be yes-men; avoid agreeing to deliver every idea fed down from the client or senior managers, says Cartoon Network's Riggall.
"You should say 'Let me talk with you about this', not just take it, say yes, and run with it. Explain the reasons why something was done the way it was, or talk about ideas you might have, and what you think is better -- because your suggestion might be a two-day turnaround, while their idea might be a three-week turnaround. Being able to have that type of dialogue and not be a yes-producer is important."
In common with many studios, Sega Studios Australia experimented with the ideas of the Agile project management approach on London 2012. "I was constantly in the dilemma that we have X number of events to deliver, the license requires so much that there isn't much flexibility in the content or timescale -- so how do we do this?" says Sadeghian.
"We took a hybrid Agile approach that really worked well for us, where we used cross-discipline teams, got more complicated events out first, and benchmarked those compared to other events to pre-plan whether we can get it all fitting together correctly.
"I wouldn't say we were an Agile team in terms of doing everything Agile does correctly, but we picked what we felt worked, and it created more communication within the team because we had them in cross-discipline teams. And because we were using sprint meetings, it just felt like there was a bit more productivity, and it worked pretty well."
"If you're not certain about something, go figure it out, or ask that question," says Riggall. "If you didn't understand something an engineer was saying about why something was not working, sit down with him and get him to explain it in a way that means you completely understand it. Don't just let it go and say 'Well, he said he was looking and couldn't find it, and we're trying'. That's not an answer senior leadership want to hear.
"You need to understand what it is, so you can understand how to help, and that might be you going, 'I see you're having this issue, and I don't know 100 percent what's going on, but I do think it is tied to this other thing that this other engineer is working on, so let me get you guys together and chat.'"
It is important to establish a workflow early on, and get everyone involved in the development of the game to commit to not bypassing it, says Bigpoint's Stein. "Before we has established the final workflow, projects were sometimes 'laying around' for quite some time, because we had to get hold of the right person within the external studio, who had to find the time to evaluate certain aspects of the proposal," he says. By setting out a clear workflow and assigning individual personnel to different tasks "these delays are much more infrequent now".