Project Management

Over the past couple of years developing games at RPI, and participating in various internships and part-time jobs while in school, I have walked away with several important leadership lessons. I’ve found that a key component to the success of any project is to make a plan, and then plan for it to change! This has been true in projects that I have led, as well as my experience working under Project Managers and Producers at various companies I have worked at.

  1. Things happen. Managers need to be receptive to the needs of their team, while also being firm about deadlines and expectations. Constantly reassessing the scope and adjusting as needed is incredibly important to do as a game developer.
  2. Trust is essential. Micromanaging leads to a lack of enthusiasm, burnout, and general irritation. This was a critically important lesson for me to learn, as backing off can often lead to substantially greater team productivity.
  3. Establish the right tone. Setting a strong, productive example motivates people to strive for higher standards. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, then who else will.
  4. Make it fun. Connecting with team members on a personal level creates a fun, positive work environment. It is still important, however, to maintain a professional boundary and atmosphere. This latter point was also especially important to me in a recent project I led at school with close friends, where it was sometimes difficult to separate the business that needed to get done from our ongoing relationship.

Effective project management applies across the full lifecycle of game development, from planning and pre-production prototyping to launch, and everything in between. The good news is that there are several excellent project management tools available to help track progress.

While working at 1st Playable, I have become particularly familiar with several online tools including Miro, Trello, and Jira. I’ve found Jira particularly intuitive and helpful for task management and bug tracking, as it is well-structured to support development needs.

Previously, I leveraged budgeting and time management templates in Google Sheets to project manage our award-winning Veni, Vedi, Vici game developed as part of RPI’s Game Development II course.

I’m a natural born organizer, and clearly see a path forward in the gaming industry that includes project and production management.