Making games is hard! Just thought you should know if you’ve never tried or at least confirm your personal doubts about your own project, team or skill. It is not easy and to those who’ve made it past the 90% point and pushed through to public release we salute you!
Unfortunately for most, projects start off hopeful with enthusiasm and hope but tend to end in frustration and confusion before it can be considered complete with full features, polished and largely bug free. That is because entry level game devs or indies tend to forget that making a game is not a game, it is manufacturing complex software that can be more complex than most software based startups! This includes managing large and diverse teams or at least a small team juggling tasks involving music, art, animation, modelling, programming, business, etc.
That said there are plenty of fantastic resources out there for devs to learn about managing people, project management. More than I can cover in a single article at least. Fortunately the teams behind the in development MMORPG, Star Citizen, recently released a fantastic video showing the complexity of project management at the higher end of game development projects as an MMORPGs. While not all games or indie developer projects will reach this complexity it is something that we as game devs will encounter to some degree which is identifying, planning and executing tasks to get a game from GDD to launch.
My recommendation to you would be to start simple and use any project management methodology or framework that you think you can stick to or seems intuitive for your teams workflow. We’ve seen some great things come out of use from Trello, Slack, Google Docs improving projects without breaking the bank or becoming a massive time sink on their own. Remember keep it simple to start, stick with it and encourage your team to join you in taking ownership and maintaining the framework consistently. Even the best frameworks, tools and technology mean nothing if you can’t get the team to use them or stick with it. Still, it is possible, you just have to find what works for your specific project and team so get them involved and try it out.
So there you have it, games are hard, requiring seemingly tedious or boring things like project management but it does offer a great opportunity for you to expand your toolbox beyond game development or increase the likelihood that your game will not only make it to launch but be a better product from it.
Check out this video and try to pick up some strategies on how to improve your own team, project and workflow no matter the scale of project!