Development Insight #1: Team Management and Leadership
Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Throughout the development of Consumer, some of the best things I learned is insights on team management and leadership. Consumer is the first project that I have worked with a team, and it made me realize how much I love working with people. As soon as I came to Full Sail, I begin to network and find people to join my team. I was lucky enough to recruit two talented writers and a fantastic sound designer to help with the project, and through this experience, I applied all the leadership and team management knowledge I've learned over the years through books and online courses. I realized that communication and leadership is one of my strength, and I love doing it. These are the insights I learned from the experience.
1. Leadership is all about people
Before this project, my definition of a good leader is someone who helps each member to be as creative and motivated as they can be. Although that is still true, through the development of Consumer I realized that what's more important is the fact that we are all human, and we all have emotions and needs. To be a good leader is to genuinely care about each member and help them in a personal way while at the same time keeping them excited in their professional tasks. For example, throughout the development, due to the deadline, I needed everyone to work hard on the project. Instead of just telling each member to do that, I felt the need to understand their situation first. So I will always ask about how they are doing and if there's anything I can do to help. This act of caring will create a strong bond and motivate them to follow my lead. I learned that leadership is all about people, not the goal, the mission, or the dreams. A good leader does whatever is needed to take care of his/her people.
2. How to stay focused as a team
Vision, deadline, and communication is the key to staying focused as a team. As the team lead, I arranged a weekly meeting for the team to share progress, give ideas and feedback. In the meeting, I will check if everybody has a clear understanding of the vision of the game and if their work reflects it. I find by having a deadline for events or showcases, each member take time more seriously. Outside of the meetings, daily check-in and communication are also essential for consistent focus.
3. Teamwork is all about communication
Communication is the essential skill to have when working with others. To have consistent and wholesome work, all the departments in the team must be communicating ideas with each other at all time. For example, when I have plans for new mechanics or art in the game, I will always make sure I tell the writers and check if it fits the lore of the game. Communication ensures all the parts in a game stay connected and united.
4. How to communicate visions and ideas
Communicating visions and ideas is not an easy thing to do. It is very easy for others to misunderstand and misinterpret the information. I find that throughout the development, everyone understood my vision, but had a different image of the final product in his or her mind. At first, I saw this as a bad thing, but then quickly realized that it is an excellent thing for the project. Is like we all know what the game is about, but our imagination took us on different roads. The right thing to do is to merge all the best ideas, as long as it follows the theme and central vision of the game; this can generate some of the most creative ideas in the development process. Also, I find that just through the act of trying to communicate my ideas to others, it pushes me to polish and refine my vision, and generate more ideas in that process.