What I believe in, for Quality of Life

The furore[link] over the IGDA’s failure[link] to live up to it’s own precepts continues to snowball[link] [link] (as I suggested it would, if the IGDA Board didn’t ‘fess up and take a stand[link] against the unethical practices they were being implicated in).

(I’ll do a summary later this week; personally I’m aware of 6 different unique forum threads and several separate bloggers speaking out on the topic, each with their own comment threads – we’re gradually seeing the message spread, which is good. But it also means it’s getting hard to keep up)

One commenter, perhaps playing Devil’s Advocate for those at fault, has repeatedly posed the question: “What would you *like* the IGDA’s stance to be on this topic?”

There are all sorts of reasons that’s a dumb thing to ask, and it essentially misses all the points being made here by the unhappy IGDA members, but I thought it was a good question to answer anyway, philosophically.

Quality of Life for the Games Industry: Adam’s stance on “Crunch”

NB: this is only covering the crunch/working hours/overtime issues; there’s more to QoL than that, but it’s definitely the headline aspect.

(and hopefully you’ll also have a look at Darius’s stance on this and other related topics, since he’ll be standing for election to the IGDA Board next year, and he’s got my vote already ;))

  1. the term “crunch” is a euphemism for “unpaid overtime” used largely to disguise the true nature of what’s being described. No-one should ever use the term “crunch”. Everyone should actively encourage others to call it what it is (unpaid overtime). “unscheduled overtime” is NOT an acceptable alternative; it is simply another, slightly less positive, euphemism.
  2. no employer gets an opt-out from responsibility for Quality of Life issues, neither charities nor startups. Quality of Life is about the relationship between employee and employer, independent of individual industries, organizations, or projects
  3. the company must at all times actively discourage staff from doing unpaid overtime; if the company wishes to support overtime, it should be supporting *paid* overtime only
  4. no programmer, artist, or designer should ever stay late in the office “because it’s quieter then, and I can get more work done when everyone else has gone home”; if the office environment is that poor, the company needs to fix it, fast
  5. the MOST EFFICIENT (for the company) number of weekly office hours for programmers, artists and game designers lies somewhere between 30 and 50 hours a week.
  6. the MOST EFFECTIVE/DESIRABLE (for the employees) number of weekly office hours for programmers, artists and game designers lies somewhere between 20 and 60 hours a week.

Why does this even matter?

Most workers in this industry live to work, instead of working to live; this makes the industry especially prone, and the employees especially vulnerable, to abusive employment practices.

It also means that – handled correctly – most people ought to be happy and healthy. This topic has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people; that it will almost certainly also improve the quality of the games they produce is a secondary (although highly desirable) side-effect.

Details / explanations

1 – Terminology

Cynically, I’d like to point out that to many young males (the bulk of the workers in the game industry), the term crunch probably initially conjures up images of the painful gym exercises that build the widely desired abdominal muscles.

i.e. the base assumption of an English speaker is that Crunch is something that “hurts now, but is good for you, and in the long run you will appreciate it”.

Actually, I don’t think that’s even all that cynical, looking at the companies that actively use the term: I think they’re extremely happy to have got such a positively-connotated word used as the main term to describe their unethical business practice.

2 – Opt-outs

Several people (such as Erin Hoffman (EA_Spouse) EDIT: my mistake – sorry, Erin! – see comments below) have claimed that startups are “special”; too fragile to be held accountable to the same standards that ordinary companies are held to; that they could never adhere to sane and ethical working practices and remain in business.

As a previous founder, co-founder, or C-level exec in 5+ different startups, and a consultant or external adviser for a further 20+ startups, it is my personal opinion that this is absolutely not true.

Further, I believe it is deeply insulting to most entrepreneurs to imply that they are so incompetent that they need to be allowed to break with ethics or law in order to succeed. The majority of successful entrepreneurs I know are awesomely competent people, and have earnt (*earnt*) their wealth not merely through “having a good idea” but through being better and smarter and wiser than their equivalent salaried employees. They need no leg-up.

Of course, there’s also plenty who simply got lucky. But that’s another story.

3 – Working late in order to work better

There are two issues here.

Firstly, if someone is doing unpaid overtime, the company needs to either reward it or try to persuade them to stop; anything else is unfair. Simply taking the proceeds of the free work and paying nothing in return is perfectly legal (although arguably, since the work falls outside of the contract, if the company’s employment contract isn’t good enough the company could find themselves not entirely owning the output of that work), but unethical.

Secondly, unless the employees have strong legal protection against coercion (both explicit and implicit) then the claim that staff are “voluntarily” working unpaid overtime is often going to be a lie that – in practice – is almost impossible to uncover. A nice, comforting lie, but a lie all the same. I have many times worked with people in the games industry who have openly claimed their unpaid overtime was voluntary – until they buckled from stress a few weeks later, or got drunk, or met up outside the office, and admitted the true reason(s) they were doing it. Generally those were “to keep my job”, “because everyone else on the team says I have to”, or a variant on those. i.e. to satisfy the employer, or to satisfy peer pressure.

This is true even in Europe, where employees have fairly strong legal protection – but in many cases don’t realise the full extent of the protection. Generally speaking, only the inexperienced, younger staff are ignorant of the basic laws here. Within 5 years they normally see at least one friend or colleague go through some situation which uncovers the laws involved, and they gain a basic understanding of what their own rights are, under the law.

4 – Optional isn’t always optional

I’ve worked with many programmers who felt forced to work late hours because of this, and a few artists. I haven’t worked with any designers yet who were *seen* to, but I know plenty who have done it – they simply went home and worked from home instead.

The main reason programmers show up with this problem more than others is that they are entirely dependent upon the tools at their desk to get any work done (software, hardware, office systems, etc). It’s *not* that they are the only ones who work hard and have to concentrate to get good work done!

5 – Efficiency

As far as I know (please correct me!) … no-one currently knows via research what the MOST EFFICIENT weekly office hours are for programmers, artists, and designers in the games industry; the research I’ve read summaries of, and in a few cases read myself, from other industries and anecdotal evidence, plus the experience of skilled game developers, suggest that it lies somewhere between 20 and 40 hours.

Further, the majority of research from other industries and evidence and experience strongly support the claim that values over 60 hours are less efficient than ANY value between 25 and 60 hours.

6 – Quality of output, quality of life

As far as I know (please correct me!) no-one currently knows via research what the IDEAL (for the staff work/life balance) weekly *working* hours are, but assuming 14-16 waking hours a day, i.e. 70-80 waking hours a week, and assuming a work/life split somewhere between 30/70 and 70/30, you get between 21 and 56 working hours per week

16 Replies to “What I believe in, for Quality of Life”

  1. Hi Adam. I realize that I didn’t fully respond to your point before as the particular thread started ballooning, so I’ll go ahead and post a more specific reply here, as my snap reaction is that you mischaracterized both what I said and what my thoughts are on startups, whether that miscommunication happened on my end or yours.

    I have worked for startups for most of the latter half of my career. I find them more interesting and possessing more potential. I also have in most cases had part equity in these companies. It seems to me that in how you paraphrased my words on the IGDA board you’re using terms like “special” in a derogatory fashion that strikes me as manipulative, though this is of course your blog and you’re within your rights to paraphrase on a slant as much as you like. :)

    I do not think and have never stated that it is impossible for a startup to work without excessive overtime — though I realize why you needed to characterize my having said this to support your point (the ethics of such aside). However, not only is it untrue, it is counter to my own experience — the startups I’ve worked for have had an emphasis on quality of life. But they have also involved voluntary overtime, which I participated in because I believed it would make a better game. And it was seen as a negative necessity, not something to be proud of — it was indicative of a flawed process, though in my experience that flawed process comes top-down from the publisher-developer relationship, not from malice on the part of studio heads. One of the reasons I choose to work for startups and small companies is because I believe that with the right people they tend to be _better_ about nearly all aspects of employee treatment than large companies. But I also object to the attitude from older developers that basically says “the way we ran all of our startups back in the 80s and 90s? That was fine, but you’re not allowed to do that”. Starting a company that is going to survive is intensely difficult, and there is a major difference between setting ideals (which is fine and I think the IGDA should do) and flatly condemning a startup studio NOT for malicious processes (e.g. deceit or illegal business practices, which should be condemned as unacceptable) but for inefficiency.

    The fundamental danger here does not concern whether startups are “special” or not, but concerns whether the IGDA — or anyone — can tell a person they’re wrong for working for studio X, or for making games in a particular way. “More efficient”, “healthier”, etc are more concrete terms that can be offered for consumption (and so I am 100% in agreement with your points 5 and 6) — the problem is when we start using words like “right” and “wrong” (and worse). The push that follows this, for instance, for legislation of more stringent labor codes for the US in tech industries, is highly problematic and I believe ultimately detrimental to the quality of life of game developers.

    My thought is that all of this moral uprising is not only ethically ambiguous but ultimately moot. I believe that if developers are instead shown that great games can be made without excessive overtime, they will of course want that to happen, and when studios offer environments conducive to more efficient process, developers will follow. Importantly, I do not think that intentional overtime makes Epic wrong — I just think that it makes them less efficient than they could otherwise be. And they are free to disagree, and I am free not to work there. Last I checked there is no one abducting developers and throwing them into buses bound for North Carolina to bind them into forced labor for Mike Capps.

    If you’ll be voting for Darius, I assume that means you’ve re-joined the IGDA?

  2. Thanks for the clarification.

    Perhaps I misunderstood when you said:

    “the danger…is that we destroy small companies who are fighting to survive” (from page 5 of the main IGDA thread, but iPhone cannot copy/paste URL here :()

    What did you mean by that statement? I (apparently incorrectly) took it to mean that you felt we couldn’t declare anti crunch guidelines/standards/etc unless we provided opt-outs to such companies (I assumed that you felt we mustn’t “destroy” such companies?)

  3. re voting: I meant philosophically; it was a lazy use of a particular turn of phrase.

    If I were still a member in time to vote then I would vote for Darius. I resigned from my volunteer position at IGDA, as a SIG chairman, I didn’t quit as a member (I am not aware of that even being possible, or if so of how to do it). i resigned because I was no longer willing to give my free time to an org that was overtly defending a position that i personally cannot and will not support. It is extremely unlikeley that I will be renewing my membership next year.

  4. “What I Would Like the IGDA’s Stance To Be On This Topic.”

    Just this:

    “The IGDA believes that employers who -require- employees to work more than the statutory 40 hours, or which punish those who do not, are behaving unethically; moreover, our research, fully document by our Quality of Life committee, shows that excessive working hours are both unproductive and destructive of employee morale.”

  5. Hi all,

    Erin, I agree with what you said above regarding start-ups and terminology. However, I have to disagree with you on one particular set of statements. You stated above:
    “Importantly, I do not think that intentional overtime makes Epic wrong — I just think that it makes them less efficient than they could otherwise be. And they are free to disagree, and I am free not to work there. Last I checked there is no one abducting developers and throwing them into buses bound for North Carolina to bind them into forced labor for Mike Capps.”

    I agree people are free not to work at Epic if they don’t like it there. And it seems that some people are fine with working long hours so long as they are working on their “dream game” or something similar. However, I don’t think it would be too hard to imagine that there are people at Epic that merely tolerate the working conditions, even though they don’t like them. Perhaps they just moved into the area, bought a house, etc. specifically to work there. Then it turns out that they didn’t like the job as much as they thought. The person may think: “With the economy the way it is, it is getting harder to find any job, so I might as well just stay here. I don’t like the long hours, but hey, all my friends are here. Besides, where else would I get to work on something that is sold in stores all over the world?” It’s tough to give that up and begin the job search all over again, especially when the next company might have just as much overtime. Correct me if I’m wrong, but switching jobs and moving is even harder for the people that have a family to support.

    I hope I don’t come off as too argumentative. But just because the president of Epic is ok with the working conditions, I doubt all the people under him agree. And I guess the main issue I have with that situation is: whose interests does the IGDA represent? If the IGDA does not truly represent game developers, than it seems these people have no one to turn to. Do we need to survey the developers at Epic think of the working conditions at their company? There was the QoL survey back in 2004 (http://www.igda.org/qol/whitepaper.php). Perhaps we need to have another one?

    That’s just my two cents, anyway. What are everyone’s thoughts? Anyone agree? Anyone disagree?

    -Rob

  6. Gotcha, re the Darius vote. I hope he wins if for no other reason than to up the ante on the campaigning process, which thus far has been so lightweight (and it would seem in the case of Mike Capps lip service only) — though admittedly perhaps because BoD positions amount to so much thankless work that it’s more a duty than a privilege to be campaigned for… regardless, I do have hopes for this new board, and also hope that the recent kerfluffle will help arm/train them better to respond to things like this in a proactive fashion.

    My concern on startups somewhat depends on what the definition of ‘startup’ is. The lines between indie, hobby, and startup are blurry, and it’s only a certain percentage of them that are pulling in some kind of outside funding and therefore have more solid control over their destiny. But mainly, a small company doesn’t have as much leverage to push back against unreasonable demands from a publisher. The first project can be rough because they have to prove themselves and take some ugly in order to achieve a greater goal of developing a reputation that will allow them to call their own shots on what projects to take and not to take. This is all assuming our standard third party development model. In this nascent phase of a non-venture/angel-funded startup, asking a company to exit a publisher contract is asking for it to die, whereas a larger company has more stability. I don’t believe that a company in that position necessarily deserves to die and that eradicating those companies potentially destroys the future development of a company that is quality-of-life oriented and produces great games while making people happy. I don’t believe that the measure of that company’s character can be quantitatively calculated based on hours worked on a first project.

    The other “type” of startup is the hobby or indie type born from side projects, which has always been somewhat common but in the last 10 years is becoming significantly moreso. How do we apply hours-worked standards to an enterprise that is by-definition overtime-based since it exists outside of paid work? Where do you draw the line between “collaborative hobby” and “startup”?

    I think that these questions all have answers, but they’re why I hesitate to say we should apply a flat standard to all companies in the process of making games.

  7. Hi Rob — whoops, your comment popped through while I was typing the last.

    You are not at all coming off as argumentative (at least to me) and I agree with everything you’ve said there. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to know what people working at Epic actually think. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that even they don’t know what they think on a given basis. My experience is that developers’ thoughts on crunch and overtime vary greatly depending upon what phase of the project they’re in. In the beginning it seems manageable, in the middle when their families are suffering it seems unbearable, and after the game has shipped it seems worthwhile — at least for those who choose to stay.

    The trouble is that we get into very murky water when we try to extrapolate what they think or what they feel without asking them. And ultimately even in all the situations you describe, they have made a choice to work for Epic, probably for many of the reasons you cite (getting to work on very popular games). For some people, that’s worth it.

    I think where a lot of the disagreement comes is over the term “mandatory”, which I don’t believe the Epic guys used (they’d be kind of dumb to do so because it’s asking for trouble legally to quantify required hours for a salaried worker), but are certainly implied.

    The thing that makes me hesitate to condemn them is that they emphasize how up-front they are with people they’re hiring. There is no ambiguity. People go to Epic knowing what they’re getting into. They’re reading the warning label on the cigarette and they’re smoking anyway. There are all kinds of things that are bad for you in life and in society, but that doesn’t always mean we make them illegal, and I’m not sure I want to live in a place where outside organizations decide that much about the choices of individual people.

    To me, the solution here is to educate those people who are working for Epic and show them that there’s a better way — not just to put a top-down lid that really can’t be enforced on Epic itself.

    And if people are choosing to work there, I’m not willing to say they can’t, or they’re wrecking game development, or what have you. If the majority of the development environment said that they didn’t want to work that way, Epic would have no employees, and would be forced to change. But they’re not, and I try to pause and think about what that means about the opinions of the development community.

    Which brings us to the survey, which, yes, is the IGDA’s QoL committee’s top priority right now. Judy Tyrer and Tom Buscaglia are heading it up, it’s received input and advice from rigorous academic survey folk, and should be going out very soon now. I really hope we can get as many developers as possible to participate.

  8. Wow this is such an old issue and it still has legs to drag on… I do not have much to add but some useless comments – but hey that is what blogs are for…

    #1) I totally agree that crunch = unpaid overtime, and I firmly agree from an ethical standpoint large organizations to small organizations should use the most clear label possible = unpaid overtime

    #2) We live in a liberal world with freedoms to work where ever you want. Unlike many people in the game industry I grew up in a blue color construction family. Specially glass and mirror installation. I got paid to be cut. Big cuts. My father has been cut countless times, I have numerous scars across my body, and I have seen people lose an arm. In comparison I generally regard what we do artist, programmer, designer, producer, and business development as hardly even work. I know it sounds harsh and I meant it to be harsh. For the most part we sit in nice chairs with AC and we get to make games – it is a very difficult hobby.

    #3) Epic and its employees are free to work with each other or not. It is great that Epic says that they are expecting 60+ hours a week upfront.

    #4) The IGDA is broken when it takes money from studios and developers and tries to claim that it represents developers. The money dominants, everyone works for who actually pays them observe our politicians & lobbying vs. citizens. The IGDA should be broken into two organizations – that takes money from employee developers and another that represents development studios unaffiliated with a major public publisher.

    #5) If it turns out that without the studio money that the IGDA is starved for cash – well then we will have an answer – people do not care enough about work life balance to invest in their own welfare and so it will naturally whither away

    #6) The independent studio thing can try its thing, but it will too fail away because each studio is an independent entity without any reason to share profits (money) with other less successful studios.

    I am sorry that this is coming off so harsh, but I think people are being entirely unrealistic and impractical when it comes to work-life balance in games.

    You might as well rant against free iPhone games, or $0.99 games, or simply too many of them. It is well known that with a totally free market margins will be beaten down until their are razor thin, and that cartels and monopolies can artifically keep profits up at the expense of innovation.

    If you want great lifestyles for developers then you should campaign for the world”s governments to authorize only a very limited # of game development and publishing licenses, then you should unionize the world’s game developers and have mandatory licensing that releases a fixed # of workers per year. Then you will get artificially high margins and profits…

    If you want to be able to make your own game, and you want to be able to sell your own game on iPhone, Steam, or on a website then you must accept all the associated elements that come with free competition.

    -Erik

  9. I’d like to point out that in some cases, short term overtime can be effective at getting builds out the door. Say, alpha beta and release, where you do need people there to fix last minute issues. But we’re talking a few days overtime during every full product release cycle, and I believe that time off in lieu is appropriate.

  10. I apologize in advance Adam if perhaps I have gone a little too off-topic from the original blog post, but I would like to respond to some of the individual comments above.

    —–

    Erin, thanks for responding. From my experience as well, people seem to enjoy game development the most in the early stages and after the game is done/has shipped. But that middle lasts an awfully long time while you are in it, especially when you know that final push for that last big milestone is looming at the end. I’m wondering what can be done to sort of “even out” the development process, so more work can be done at the beginning of the project instead of having the majority of the work in middle and end of the project.

    Regarding the conditions at Epic, you said “People go to Epic knowing what they’re getting into. They’re reading the warning label on the cigarette and they’re smoking anyway.” I’m not sure how well everyone knows what their getting into unless they’ve been paying attention to the recent events surrounding the leadership video. I mean there’s no “Hey, work here if you want to live in the office.” sign at Epic. There are words like “strong work ethic” on their hiring page (http://www.epicgames.com/epic_jobs.html) which hint at the amount of work required. But they don’t explicitly state in their job description that if you are hired, you will be expected to work 60 or more hours a week. One might even say a “strong work ethic” involves knowing when to call it a night and go home in order to be productive the next morning. And there are a lot of other companies, which don’t make quite as well known games, that aren’t as up front about their work-life balance policies. As you said, the solution is to educate people about improving efficiently – it is better to work smarter, rather than harder.

    One last thing I wanted to ask you, would there be anyway to get involved in the new QoL survey? I haven’t been very active in the past regarding quality of life issues, but if possible, I would like to play a larger role in the new QoL initiatives in the future. If you want to survey college students to see what they think the game industry is like and how they prefer to work, I could help you with that.

    —–

    Erik, I completely agree with you on your first point. Crunch for salaried workers is unpaid overtime, and people should do a better job of highlighting that fact. Regarding your second point, you are right there are many other jobs far more dangerous than game development, but I still think our industry isn’t free of health risks. As you said, construction is tough, dangerous work. But that’s why we have OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Construction workers wear hard hats and put on safety goggles when using power tools for a reason. And while video game development is done in air-conditioned office buildings; there are still health hazards, even thought these hazards may not be that obvious.

    Take for example, one poster on the IGDA forums who stated the following: “In the last four months of the project, I never took a day off, never worked less than 100 hours a week, was stopped twice on suspicion of drunk driving because I was so fatigued, and very nearly lost my marriage.” – http://www.igda.org/Forums/showthread.php?&threadid=35129&perpage=15 This story sounds all too familiar. If he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, I’d still say there are plenty of health hazards associated with game development. In other cases though, the situation isn’t as extreme. Someone comes in sick to the office because “the team really needs them,” but the person doesn’t do as good a job as they would ordinarily. So they might continue to come into work because they really want to perform well, but instead they get more people sick. I think we as an industry, need to recognize unhealthy work habits and know when to tell people they are sick, or overworked, or whatever and they need to go home.

    I’m currently a college student right now and I’ll be graduating in a few months. I was hoping to work at a game company which either does, or at least makes attempts to, have employees work 40 hours a week on a regular basis. I know this is very rare, but is that really so much to ask? I was interested in video games, but I was interested in a lot of other things too. I turned down many other jobs that required less work and were just as interesting to me in order to purse game development as a profession. According to the last QoL survey, there actually are many others like me. “Contrary to expectations, more people said that games were only one of many career options for them (34%) than said games were their only choice (32%).” – http://www.igda.org/qol/whitepaper.php Many people have argued it is unrealistic and impractical to have 40 hour work weeks making games. And perhaps they are right, but I think we at least need to try to make things better. They are rare, but there are a few game companies out there that are successful with 40 hours of work a week or at least have that as their stated goal. Again it’s not many companies I admit, but there is enough of them to make me think reducing the number of hours worked per week at any studio would improve the work-life balance of the developers there.

    Finally, that same QoL survey from 2004 stated “34.3% of developers expect to leave the industry within 5 years, and 51.2% within 10 years.” The first time I read this, it immediately struck me how volatile the game industry really is. Now one could argue this might actually “weed out” all but the truly dedicated people – perhaps the people who said games were their only choice as a profession. While many people that remain in the industry after a long time; it seems that the game industry will never “mature” at this high rate of turnover. People keep making the same mistakes over again because after many developers gain experience, they leave. Remember the person who posted on the IGDA forums; I looked at his profile and apparently he quit game development after 11 years in the industry. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to us as an industry to keep people like him? I think we could grow and learn if did our best to keep as many senior people as possible.

    —–

    As someone with probably the least amount of experience compared to any of people that posted here, I’m curious to hears what everyone’s thoughts are. Last but not least, thank you for actually reading this rather long post. :)

    -Rob

  11. Comparing office work to construction work will never fly in terms of health dangers. Never mind commercial fishermen and coal miners who are literally paid to die with the highest mortality rates.

    In short Quality of Life will most dramatically improve if the supply of labor shrinks relative to the demand.

    It would be great for the current game developers if the current crop of college graduates all worked somewhere else and made some money and bought the games we make…

    We need less workers in order to drive up QoL.

    But as I said above the iPhone app explosion is just an easy to see microcosm of what I am talking about.

    As long as there is a world of people who want to make games and are willing to do it for less, and work longer hours then you will have all this unpaid overtime.

    The guy who drove after 100 hours of work is truly a dumbass and was a hazard. I have worked 125 hours, I have done 100, 80, and all the rest. You must take a responsibility for the choices that you make and not blame your employers.

    Another way to look at it is how can a studio promise you not to compete with its industry peers? If working less hours TRULY makes better games and profits then Epic would be all over it. I know those guys well – especially Marc Rein. He would love to make even more money. If that meant everyone in teh studio works 4 hours he would do that in a flash. The truth of the matter is that for most people, you can work 50-70 hours and still be productive. For the more straightforward stuff like refactoring tons of code or much of the art skillsets hours over quality can be measured. For some of the more special talent and genius stuff like true architecture, concept art and high level design I can see where a 30 hour work week could produce better work. But I do not see a 25 work week for your average 3D modeler out producing the 50 hour work week…

    In general though we are debating the wrong thing – hours. We need more forms of metrics for what people produce. If we could measure a designer, programmer or artist on a daily, weekly or even monthly fashion then we could practice the simple system of do whatever you want just get it done. AND allow your peers to fire peers.

    How many people are ready to actually have their day’s work measured?

    -Erik

  12. Erik:

    I think what you just wrote especially the question you pose hilights for me one of the understated issues: we’re not talking about individuals, we’re talking about teams.

    Two massive things come out of that which invalidate a lot of otherwise logical conclusions (not picking on your suggestions alone, this affects a lot of other statements):

    1. a team is more than the sum of it’s parts, and measuring an individuals output in a vacuum will produce many false results, especially in the unusually interdependent disciplines of game dev

    2.unless you want to throw away the unique benefits of teams, including tv above one, then team membership is more than an organizational factoid: it is a personal relationship, with particular commitments implied and explicit. hence time and again people stating they did crunch despite not needing to, because the rest of the team was – even as far as whole sub teams (eg “art”) working overtime when they had nothing to do just because the other teams (eg “code”) were having to

  13. …because – by ignoring the individual – scrum does work the way you suggest we might achieve, and it ignores hours worked, and instead just says “whether or not you work hard (enough), if you do not make the team better, thrnthe team will push you out – not as a judgement on you or your ability (although that may also happen) but as a simple recognition that the teams output AS CHOSEN BY THE TEAM NOT ANY MANAGER is more important than the individuals within it, and management will allow each team enough rope to hang themselves or to pull themselves up to glory, and not interfere at such a petty and pointless level as hours of “facetime” etc”

  14. Adam, you might want to check out a book called “The Seven-Day Weekend, Changing the Way Work Works” by Ricardo Semler. I think it’s rather poignant in relationship to the “crunch” issue being talking about in the gaming industry in that it shows how a company can work outside the box (kind of like your Manifesto post), treat people like adults rather than children, and achieve amazing things because of it (both from an economic perspective and a work-life balance perspective). BTW this book is based upon a real company which has been successfully utilizing this alternative approach for years.

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