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Focussed work-hours, and the Studio Manifesto

David Sirlin’s just done a writeup of Flashbang studios recent experiment with work hours:

“The first part of their theory is that we really only get about 2 hours of seriously focused, amazing-quality work per day–if we’re lucky. Maybe you can get 2.5 or 3 sometimes, but that’s pushing it. There are so many distractions and blockers, so many times when you’re too tired or hungry or upset about something, or whatever. Flashbang is saying just be real here: accept that you’re only going to be able to do amazing work for a short time each day. Knowledge work as it’s called, is the type of thing where you could spend 20 hours on a problem and not solve it, but just *one* hour of your fully charged genius-time could solve it.”

Unfortunately (tragically!), David’s set his blog to be “no comments”, so there’s no public followup discussion (you can try registering in the forums. On a different page. Not even linked. Have fun with that!)

There are serious flaws with taking general conclusions from this experiment – as someone from TCE pointed out, there’s probably some Hawthorne Effect going on – but I think it’s an interesting data point to add to the game studio manifesto. Specifically because it’s from a games company, and the particular set of changes they experimented with is different from most of those we’ve seen tried before.

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