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How to Motivate a Team

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Me and a few of my friends from school are trying to make a game for the Oregon Game Projects Challenge. The problem is that we all have the work ethic of an overweight house cat, myself included. We started working on the game in December and we've basically wasted the last 4 months by doing next to nothing. We don't even have the first level done and we have a month left until the main competition on April 23rd. Our de facto manger cares about anime too much to care about the game and our main programmer has barely touched the game and would rather play Skyrim instead. How can I motivate them to actually get work done, or should I just give up on the project altogether?

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How can I motivate them to actually get work done, or should I just give up on the project altogether?


Why don't you ask your "team" these questions? To begin with, you need to understand what motivates each person, yourself included. Also ask them if even just participating in the competition is still of interest to them - pointing out that it's unlikely to win it (I said unlikely, not impossible). Ask yourself, too. Then you'll have a better idea of what to do next.

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The sad part: most hobby projects will end up this way. When I was younger, I've had the chance to see at least 20-30 projects die miserably this way. Flash forward, of all of the team mates I've tried making games with in this era, none actually ever finished one, and most have turned to other aspirations shortly after. 

 

This is 110% correct in how these things tend to go. Frankly, many people (myself included) can't come up with the motivation/drive to complete full projects. Keep going ahead with what you can, though. Knowledge you gain while struggling is valuable/useful even if the project never comes to fruition. I learn more working on my hobby projects than I do during my day job, but it's surprising how much of that knowledge is transferable.

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Me and a few of my friends from school are trying to make a game for the Oregon Game Projects Challenge. The problem is that we all have the work ethic of an overweight house cat, myself included. We started working on the game in December and we've basically wasted the last 4 months by doing next to nothing. We don't even have the first level done and we have a month left until the main competition on April 23rd. Our de facto manger cares about anime too much to care about the game and our main programmer has barely touched the game and would rather play Skyrim instead. How can I motivate them to actually get work done, or should I just give up on the project altogether?

 

Find out which of your team members DID do their work. Add them to your list of people you would like to work with again. Find out which team member EXCEEDED their targets by far and where actually trying to fill in for others above their own work. Add them to the shortlist.

 

Then bail out of the project as fast as you can.

 

Start your own project, see if you can motivate the good team members from your past project to join you. If you need to, find new people to replace the failures from the last project. Don't waste a spot on your project on them. They will most probably NOT change their way.

 

 

IF it is your project, and its just a single person that is procrastinating above a certain threshold (nobody can work 8 hours a day straight... SOME procrastinating can actually raise productivity), kick him out. If you feel bad about that, talk to him and explain how his behaviour is endangering your teams deadline and sapping away the motivation of the other team members. Then kick him if he does not improve.

Yes, that can be hard among friends... which is why it is often not so a good idea to work with friends on such a project.

 

 

Above all, respect that this is a hobby for all, not a job. Deadlines are good to have something to work to. Most hobby projects, without deadlines, will just carry on for years, and feature creep to death (guilty of that myself several times), even if the team members are really motivated and work hard.

 

But still, as hard as the deadline is, you shouldn't expect people working in their free time to give you 120% of their capacity.... everything above 50% is actually pretty good.

So plan in reserves, and scope your project with respect to that.

 

 

As for your current project: its most probably too late. Without some serious crunch, you will not get much done in that one month. Asking a team that is not motivated at all to do crunch is most probably useless, unless you want to force the slackers out of the project without having to talk about the real issue at hand.

 

 

End it, put it down as expierience, and move on.

 

 

As an advice, finding a hobby team that WORKS as a team is going to be quite hard. Your expierience there will be the rule, not the exception.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Usually, I am not that person who encourages someone to give up. So I'm not going to do that now. But I will encourage you to find another team.

 

I've been there. Several times. And after a while it becomes unpleasant to say the least to

work [unquote] endlessly on a game that will never reach completion because no one is actually working on it. Or even worse, you are the only person actually working on it. This is the primary reason why I myself am now quite hesitant to do an indie game with someone other than myself. I spent a lot of time that I'll never get back.

 

I say this with the knowledge and the experience of being in your shoes, not negativity or prejudice. At this point, you should either search for another team or try to do it on your own. Unfortunately, you can't make someone do something that they don't want to do themselves. Eventually, even you won't want to do it anymore. Find people who share your enthusiasm and passion. I didn't enjoy having to plead with my teammates to help me, so I am confident that you wouldn't find that agreeable either.

 

 

End it, put it down as expierience, and move on.

 

As an advice, finding a hobby team that WORKS as a team is going to be quite hard. Your expierience there will be the rule, not the exception.

 

 

Happy hunting! :wink:

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