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viptampa

How to reinvigorate a team?

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Hey everyone,

I've been managing a udk game project for a few months and it seems that my team has lost momentum. (Its a single map UDK demo)

I did a survey and in short the trend from the team members seemed to be 'I don't see anyone else doing anything, so I don't feel like doing anything'.

The GDD has taken a while to flush out which I can understand can take some wind out of the sails during the prepro. (I try to live by its a living document and update it daily based upon questions that need to be answered.)

I've recruited some replacements for those that seem to be uncommunicative for the past month, however I don't want to repeat the issue.

Any suggestions?
Any questions I need to be asking myself or the team?

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If people lose motivation because noone seems to be doing anything then the project leader needs to do some highly visible things to get things going.

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Ok, can you make a suggestion for me to test? I'm open to anything.

I've emailed the team, keep updating our project management system with back end, recruitment updates, and tasks that have been completed/assigned. I've written out more backstory, updated the website with game dev bios, and even allowed time for a dedicated team meeting time for our international devs who seem to miss out on the domestic team meetings.

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I assume that you have not gotten everyone in the team to sign a collaboration agreement. I hope I'm wrong there.
Have you talked with each member of the team to determine what his or her motivations are? Why he or she joined the team in the first place? You need to know what each member of the team hopes to get out of the project, so you can apply motivational techniques.
You could also google information on ways to boost morale. Being a spread-out team imposes unique challenges, but there ought to be ways.
Do you have a website, a central repository of team information? Do you do regular team communications?

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Getting the momentum up is the hardest part. One thing I had some success with was deciding on a time amount each team member was supposed to work each week (in our case 30h/week, for a hobby project it would likely be closer to maybe 5-10). We then setup a time reporting system in which members would login, enter a start and end time as well as what they worked on during that time. That way we could easily see who worked and on what, even when there were stuff that didn't give any visual indication of progress (stuff like testing or designing).

Another thing is communication. We used an internal wiki (MediaWiki) and an IRC channel with a history-keeping bot. The IRC channel/bot can help alot, if one person posts "I'm currently working on X, what do you think of this? <link>" then it often triggers responses causing other people to work as well. A Wiki on the other hand is great for storing documents and decisions. It's easy to collaborate and you get stuff like history for free which also means you can follow activity.

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I assume that you have not gotten everyone in the team to sign a collaboration agreement. I hope I'm wrong there.

You are not wrong on your assumption. I inherited this project as the originator landed a job at Bethesda. It was either step up from dept lead to project lead, or let te project die. I didnt want to let a lot of man hours go for naught, so I stepped up and organized the project better and have been trying push things forward to get our demo done.


Have you talked with each member of the team to determine what his or her motivations are? Why he or she joined the team in the first place? You need to know what each member of the team hopes to get out of the project, so you can apply motivational techniques.
[/quote]
Yes and no. Yes I've asked each new member I've recruited, but no to the old members. The reason of each person varies, but in general it's to add to a portfolio or help others.

Do you have a website, a central repository of team information? Do you do regular team communications?
[/quote]
Yes and Yes.
We have weekly team meetings via TeamSpeak on Sundays and another team
Meeting on tuesdays for the international devs.
We do have a website, however each person int listed yet as they have not provided a bio. www.frakturedgames.com
It's something I'll need to followup on.

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You must have a collaboration agreement. You should not be involved in a project that does not have a collaboration agreement in place (you should drop out, if one can't be written and signed). http://underdevelopmentlaw.com/collaboration-agreements-and-online-development-teams/
And you need to find out every team member's motivation. That information will aid you in getting the project back on track.

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Could be difficult at this stage, especially since I guess this would be considered a 'hobby' project since no one is getting paid for the demo. Even more so difficult since we have collaborators from around the globe... (USA, Canada, England, Sweden, Bulgaria, Australia), some of which are 17, which would make the agreement unenforceable for those younger individuals in the USA..

I can setup an online form which I have everyone fill out and agree to and have them write out their initials as a signature. (or other simple identifier).

The question I have now, are you recommending it as a 'motivational' tool or a legally binding agreement to protect myself?

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I am saying that problems will happen if the project goes much further without any kind of written agreement between all members. It's inevitable, if a game starts coming together, that some members will push for getting the game published, to try to make some money from it.
Other problems can occur, too, and the agreement is a useful tool. Read that article I linked you to.
And again I say, I would not want to be involved in a project without any written agreement. My recommendation, if you cannot get one drafted and signed, is that you yourself run, not walk, to the nearest exit.

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