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Building the Ship as it Sails: The Creation of Ubisoft Singapore
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Building the Ship as it Sails: The Creation of Ubisoft Singapore

June 18, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

Does it get difficult when you have this many people -- I mean, 300 people is a lot of names to remember, even. Can you actually identify everyone in the studio? I'm not trying to challenge you or anything like that. It just seems like it would be a really difficult thing, when you have this many people, to even understand who everyone is, especially when you've ramped up so quickly over four years. Have you kind of filtered down that information, or does it filter back up?

OdR: That's the challenge you have growing from one-person studio to a 300-person studio. When you are 10 people in a studio, you know everyone really, really well. When you are 50, you still know people pretty well. When you are 300, you have to really rely on your team, to be able to know that team pretty well, or very well, because, yes, it's not just me here in the studio. 

The managers need to do their check on the human side to make sure that they convey the right message, they convey the message that we are aligned on, and they also relay the message from the dev team back to me, and also able to identify what the key potentials are, and the best way we can out bring the best ideas. I try to keep a lot of contacts with the team, but, yes, I rely a lot on my team to do that.

I know Ubisoft has a lot of methodologies for different aspects of development. Do you have something for figuring out whether you are getting the right feedback from people? Do you have some kind of process to understand that your lead is actually paying attention in the right ways and that they're actually giving you proper feedback that you can use? 

OdR: We have different tools that we use both on Ghost Recon Online and Assassin's Creed. We do rigorous evals about team morale. We send them questionnaires like, "How did you feel?" etcetera. We do that maybe every three months on a regular basis. 

Ubisoft has also built some group surveys to measure the mood and the perception of the company message, and you can compare with other studios how your team received a message, what's the mood there. So that's at the team level. 

As an MD for the studio, I'm trying to very regularly organize breakfast with small groups, and meetings with small groups, where I tell them about where we are going and why we are going that direction, what's the idea behind this or that, and getting their feedback. It takes a lot of time. It takes me maybe six hours a week, at least, meeting people in small groups.

Some people will not be there, asking their questions about the games, or giving feedback, so in that case it's not the right format. But for some of them it's a good opportunity to discuss issues with me and to give their feedback, so it's a good thing. 

Also, we do performance reviews of our managers, a more 360 approach, where it's not only the manager giving feedback about how the game is doing, but it's the team around him that he's giving feedback about. Does he have the right approach? Does he give the right feedback?

So, yes, that's something that we take very seriously, because we know everyone will not give you feedback the same way, and they don't feel they need to give it the same way. We have to use different approaches to be sure that we have the right people on the team. The bigger the team grows, the more you need to deliver this more structured approach to feedback. 

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