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Is Your Team Antifragile?

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In the context of a hyper-competitive and volatile market, we cannot control all the parameters to lead the game to a success, but we can control the way we deal with repetitive failures until success. How do we better equip teams to build resilience for the tough journey ahead? That talk will provide an unconventional approach on building team's mindset for growth and performance on delivering high quality games.

I will share a framework on how to build antifragile teams to go through the hurdles of F2P game development towards success. That framework is meant to be applicable for any teams, from a big or small organization. To demonstrate my approach, I will use concrete example from the new game I developed at Rovio.

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Is Your Team Antifragile?

  1. 1. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Is your team Antifragile? Sophie Vo, Executive Producer Rovio Entertainment
  2. 2. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  3. 3. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Sophie
  4. 4. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  5. 5. Rovio © 2019 Confidential April 2019
  6. 6. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  7. 7. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Antifragile teams What the..?
  8. 8. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  9. 9. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Fragile Robust Antifragile
  10. 10. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Teams ??? Fragile Robust Antifragile
  11. 11. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Why should we care?
  12. 12. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Goals VS Reality 1-3 years 90% F2P reality
  13. 13. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  14. 14. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  15. 15. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  16. 16. Rovio © 2019 Confidential So, how do we prevent that?
  17. 17. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  18. 18. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  19. 19. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  20. 20. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  21. 21. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  22. 22. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Game development is unpredictable.
  23. 23. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  24. 24. Rovio © 2019 Confidential The only thing we can influence: How we react to unpredictability.
  25. 25. Rovio © 2019 Confidential So what kind of people does it take?
  26. 26. Rovio © 2019 Confidential “A team that gains from adversity and unpredictability.” An Antifragile team
  27. 27. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Do you think Antifragile? Robust Antifragile “Let’s push the limits and learn something by failing.” “We are prepared in case it goes wrong.” Fragile “It’s risky, let’s not do it.”
  28. 28. Rovio © 2019 Confidential HIT!!! The goal The Antifragile team Development forward The Fragile team The Robust team “OK”
  29. 29. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  30. 30. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  31. 31. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Great! So how to be Antifragile?
  32. 32. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  33. 33. Rovio © 2019 Confidential My 4 steps
  34. 34. Rovio © 2019 Confidential 1. Start with the Why
  35. 35. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  36. 36. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Why does it matter?
  37. 37. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Our team’s Why Bring a new twist and strategic layers to solve a puzzle in a bubble shooter for the Puzzle Challengers.
  38. 38. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Bubble shooter with characters
  39. 39. Rovio © 2019 Confidential 2. Develop Trust
  40. 40. Rovio © 2019 Confidential The stages of a team
  41. 41. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Forming trust
  42. 42. Rovio © 2019 Confidential How we built trust
  43. 43. Rovio © 2019 Confidential From Trust to Conflicts...
  44. 44. Rovio © 2019 Confidential ...to Psychological safety
  45. 45. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Our team pulse surveys
  46. 46. Rovio © 2019 Confidential 3. Nurture the Growth Mindset
  47. 47. Rovio © 2019 Confidential My team principles
  48. 48. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Our Trial & Errors... “How do I finish the level? It looks endless. I want to feel I complete something”
  49. 49. Rovio © 2019 Confidential ...to a big pivot decision
  50. 50. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Result: Fast forward to SL 2 m. 1.5 m. 4 m.
  51. 51. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Better, faster, stronger
  52. 52. Rovio © 2019 Confidential 4. Confront the fears
  53. 53. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Our deepest fears • “The game is not fun” • “We don’t have the competences to make that game” • “The game doesn’t have a big audience” • “The game won’t go global launch”
  54. 54. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Conclusion
  55. 55. Rovio © 2019 Confidential The 4 steps of the Antifragile team • Start with the Why • Develop Trust for Psychological Safety • Nurture the Growth Mindset • Confront the deepest fears
  56. 56. Rovio © 2019 Confidential
  57. 57. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Thank you! My contact: sophievo.com
  58. 58. Rovio © 2019 Confidential Sources • Casual Connect 2018 (Sophie Vo): What can games learn from He-Man • PGC London 2019 (Sophie Vo): Testing with players in early prototyping • GDC 2019 (Brawl Stars) : Designing two tasty cores three times over • GDC 2019 (Subnautica) : The Design of Subnautica • TED talk (Frances Fei) : How to build and rebuild trust • 5 dysfunctions of a team

Editor's Notes

  • "How many of you have been on teams that have not succeeded" or "been on teams where people have left due to the team not performing" etc.
    right now you are introducing Anti-fragility right off the bat without context about how it applies to games
    or how it resonates with me personally
    or at least it didn't feel right away that it was clear why you are talking about Anti-fragility. Ultimately it's a skill and mindset to help you gain value from failure
    I think you have all the stuff ehre
  • Who is working on a new game here?
    Who has a leadership role in that team?
    Who has experienced failures in their teams where teams have fallen apart and dispersed to other projects?
  • Telling the story of a new game in developpement
  • That’s my team; happy to have soft launched the new game and celebrating
  • One could think that it was all planned out how we evolved and made it to SL, but the reality is more like that. It’s a pretty lonely journey with a lot of self doubts along the way: to kill, persevere or pivot. And you cannot see too far of where you go and drag along with you a group of people
  • So the unknwown of the game development led me to believe that we need antifragile teams for this journey!
    Now you wonder what the heck I am talking about. Bear with me through the talk to open more your mind about that concept.
  • The first time I stumbled on that word was after reading that book which inspired me a lot to correlate with the work I was doing with teams and game development.
  • What is approached in the book is that there all the things in the world can be categorized in 3 properties: fragile, robust and antifragile. Example of what is in each
  • Robust: this is what most of the teams aim for, and this is good! (live ops teams)
    But then, What’s an antifragile team? And why do we need one?
  • While it’s great to talk about antifragility concept and theory here, why do you care? Why should you care?
  • That cycle of starting over again and killing can be tedious in the extreme demand and competition of F2P development
  • As a reality, a lot of people give up and move on. Even quit the industry and I don’t blame them, it’s hard
  • The team breaks up, and we need to reform a team, recruit more people, it takes time and money
  • As leaders/managers how do we prevent that?
  • Adding a lot of failsafe, control, risk management… this is FRAGILITY, and at best ROBUST
    Predictions
    Foreseeing the future
    More managers and reporting
    More protection
  • I see it as helicopter parenting while there are the best intentions to help and protect from danger, it can have long term effect on the children and ability to approach life in the future.
  • The reality is there are so many unpredictable stressors that you cannot control/prevent what will happen. The worst and most difficult one is especially yourself: your own fears; doubts and emotions, and I had many....
  • No matter what we do and how hard we try to prevent a danger,storms will always happen eventually. They will always do.
    And we make the team pissed by trying to hard to protect and control them .
  • The team breaks up and fall apart, and we need to reform a team, recruit more people, it takes time and money
  • Design director, almost ran out of money and had to expose the game earlier to make money to finance future development.
  • Let’s do a little exercise here and raise your hand if you have seen yourself in that situation?
  • Make revenues, and a happy team and players.
  • While I wish to give you the magic formula to be Antifragile, it is more a hard work than just a shift of mindset
  • I want to share my personal 3 key pillars of how I build a team and particularly antifragile team
  • Ikigai concept: Ikigai is a Japanese term for "a reason for being." The word ‘Ikigai’ usually refers to the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile.
  • Ikigai concept: Ikigai is a Japanese term for "a reason for being." The word ‘Ikigai’ usually refers to the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile.
  • Ref: https://www.ted.com/talks/frances_frei_how_to_build_and_rebuild_trust
  • Trust is the fundamental pillar to be able to have conflicts and we know many will happen during development. It’s inevitable, the question is more How to have better conflicts, rather than not have it.
  • And 1:1 discussions
  • My core values I present to any new team members and when recruiting
    We live and act by it.
  • Ex on POP2
  • Give more ex on POP2
  • Give more ex on POP2
  • 1 failure/challenge for 3 opportunities for growth
    Staying in the game matters more than winning the game!
  • ×