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Metorical

Motivation of team members and project failure

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There's a vast collection of projects which all need help and inevitable many of these fail. In response to this and with the intent of forming my own team in the near future I thought it prudent to discuss why people are motivated to join a team and why teams fail. I believe both of these elements are heavily connected and addressing these issues is important to a teams success. Motivation for joining a team: 1. A passionate interest in programming. 2. A desire to produce a finished product which would be difficult/impossible alone. 3. A need to produce portfolio work. 4. A genuine interest in the final product. 5. A chance to learn from other members. 6. Monetary compensation. Reasons a team fail: 1. Unrealistic expectations e.g. an mmorpg where the player can do anything they wish. 2. Bad project management a. through bad communication. b. bad forward planning. c. indecision/unclear vision. 3. Personal conflict. 4. Real life commiments. 5. Loss of interest in the subject. 6. Failure to recruit sufficient members. 7. Too slow progress. Please expand upon these points to help identify the problems. If you have joined a project that has failed then please post your experiences so we can disemminate the information. I have personally been on several failed projects and the number one reason they've failed is lack of communication. Hopefully we can revisit the completed list with solutions to these problems. Thanks in advance for your input, Meto

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Much research has been done into teams; rather than reinventing the wheel by exploring these lists I'd suggest reading a book or two.

Greetz,

Illco

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An experienced one will join for money, a beginer for any of your reasons.

Most of indie projects I've seen failed for reason #1.
If a project passes the first few months the danger goes to #7 and #5.
And if the project reaches and advanced stage the danger is in #2b and #2c.

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Alot of people around here seem to just want to make a game, but few actually want to put in the work required to accomplish it, or even begin it for that matter. They just want the end result. Most don't even grasp the amount of work that it takes.

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Illco: Could you provide me with some examples which you think are particularly useful. I'll go and have a google and see what I come up with myself. Are these refering to indy projects?

c0mas: That makes perfect sense to me :)

DrEvil: So would that come down to recruiting the wrong members for the team? I can understand the desire to get people on your team and people lowering their standards to fill slots. Ofcourse it's easier to recruit 'better' people when you have a fuller team.

More to come...

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I think one of the most important factors in a team's success or failure concerns goals and incentive structures.

I have owned a number of businesses, and i have always tried to align my employees goals with my own. One of the first things you should do when forming a team (whether it's just a bunch of friends, or a formal business entity) is to define a mission statement. It only needs to be maybed 1 sentence to 1 paragraph in length. The mission statement should clearly set out your goals for the project. Are you just trying to make a game to know you can? Or are you trying to make the best FPS ever? Maybe you want to make an MMO so everyone has enough to buy a new Ferrari? What ever your goal quantify it: put it on paper. Again it doesn't need to be long, and infact shouldn't be longer than a paragraph. It should, however, clearly state exactly what your team plans to accomplish.

This will help alot: If your goal is to make $1 million and someone else's goal is to make an the best isometric singleplayer RPG of all time, then you guys probably shouldn't be on the same team. If you guys have different goals, then one of you will be disapointed when the team is not moving toward your goal.

The other involves incentives; by this i am referring to financial ones. If you are president of a corp, CEO, majority stockholder, or whatever, then you already have a strong vested interest to see the team succeed financially. If everyone else on your team is only being paid an hourly wage, or a salary, then at the end of the day they really don't care if the game sells or not. I have never understood companies (typically big companies) that hold their "rah rah! go team!" corporate pep rallys for employess. The guy who is getting paid minimum wage to work at target doesn't give a damn whether the store makes it sales goals or not. He is still going to get a check for the same amount either way. Sure to management it makes a big difference because part of their compensation plan is usually tied to store performance. What management fails to often understand is that the guy making minimum wage could care less about meeting a particular sales goal. This sort of thinking permeates american business.

If you want people to care even half as much as you do about the success of a project, then you need to tie their success in with your success. Make sure that everyone (and i do mean everyone) has a vested interest in seeing the venture succeed. If you are corp, then make their compensation package include either stock options or stock grants. Don't pay them full wage + the options/grants, pay them somewhat less than the going rate. Make sure that if the venture succeeds that the money they get from their base salary + the stock would be higher than if they had just worked for their normal wage the entire time. This way they share in both the risk (and the reward) of your venture. Do this for everyone. I don't care if they are the ones emptying the garbage cans at night, make part of their compensation based on the performance of the organization. If they won't take a somewhat lower salary + stock and instead demand to be paid at full price, then they don't really believe in the potential success of your project in the first place. If that happens, then i suggest start looking for their replacement.

regards,

~don

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I think DrEvil basically gets it right first time. People say "Hey guys, let's make a game, it'll have cool guns and stuff", but they don't appreciate how difficult it can be, even for the professionals.

I'd like to expand on that by saying that people can be really creative and come up with all kinds of stuff, but can't implement it in the form of a complete, polished game. Or even get started, for that matter. And people get bored with slow progress, as c0mas said, and eventually end up dropping out and the project dies.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Motivation for joining a team

The desire to realize something close to perfection (and from scratch, mind you), make so much better than any other MMORPG / RTS / FPS / etc AAA game out there, along with the goal of selling for millions. Eventually.

Quote:
Reasons a team fail

Sudden realization that not all team members are on the same page, that going beyond the first engine screenshots takes an exponential amount of resources and time to complete the game, and that the land of the promised millions is far far far far far far far far far ... far far far away.


You should instead focus on those teams that have been successful. This thread names a few along with some recipes for building your team: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=295189

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