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Saying No to the CEO: A Deep Look at Independent Teams - Adam Telfer

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GDC Europe 2015

Truly independent teams within a game studio are an interesting idea. Wooga, Supercell and others have promoted having this type of structure. Each team having full ownership over decisions in their game. Teams saying no to the rest of the company when they believe in a product. This all sounds great on paper, but what happens in practice? Adam Telfer goes into details of the ups and downs of working in an independent culture. How Wooga has adapted its processes through the years. A culture where you have full control, but also full responsibility.

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Saying No to the CEO: A Deep Look at Independent Teams - Adam Telfer

  1. 1. Saying No to the CEO Adam Telfer @adamwtelfer Product Lead, Wooga GmbH
  2. 2. all@yourcompany.com Dear Everyone, Effective Immediately: No matter what, Teams can work on whatever they want. Any Product they want. Using any technology they want. Management cannot stop you.
  3. 3. Independent Teams build better People build better Products build better Businesses
  4. 4. 1 How & Why 2 Challenges 3 Benefits
  5. 5. 1 How & Why 2 Challenges 3 Benefits
  6. 6. I’ll fix everything!
  7. 7. BIG FEATURES!!!
  8. 8. Woops...
  9. 9. You take care of this...
  10. 10. Teams make their own decisions. On what to start On how to execute it On if/when to stop it Teams have full autonomy
  11. 11. Enter me, 2012 I can do whatever I want?
  12. 12. Monthly Reviews
  13. 13. 1st Review It’s okay... Huzzah!
  14. 14. 2nd Review Not good enough... YOU CAN’T STOP ME!!!
  15. 15. 3rd Review!
  16. 16. I made the call to stop.
  17. 17. I asked: “Why didn’t you tell me to stop it in the beginning? We could have saved 3 months of effort!”
  18. 18. Autonomy Culture > Cost of 3 Months
  19. 19. Why?
  20. 20. Hit Driven Business
  21. 21. How are Mobile Hits Made?
  22. 22. Unpredictable Unpredictable
  23. 23. Small Teams
  24. 24. 66 10
  25. 25. Great Games are built around Small, Creative, Autonomous teams Our process was built with this in mind.
  26. 26. 1 How & Why 2 Challenges 3 Benefits
  27. 27. 3Challenges
  28. 28. #1Stuck on Repeat
  29. 29. No Shared Tech
  30. 30. Repeated Mistakes
  31. 31. Agility & Ownership Saved Time >
  32. 32. No Shared Tech?
  33. 33. (Optional)
  34. 34. #2Hiring
  35. 35. 20 Game Teams 300 People 200 Art, Dev, Design
  36. 36. PROJECT 1 PROJECT 2 PROJECT 3 PROJECT 4 PROJECT 5
  37. 37. +People! +People!
  38. 38. Where can I move to? Where can I move to? Where can I move to? Where can I move to?
  39. 39. MORE PEOPLE!!
  40. 40. Resource Waves
  41. 41. Where can I move to?
  42. 42. Different Cultures, Different Genres, Different Tech
  43. 43. Generalists vs Specialists
  44. 44. Lab Time
  45. 45. Lab Time (but not for too long)
  46. 46. Resource Managers
  47. 47. #3Killing Games
  48. 48. Killing your own idea
  49. 49. Can you be Objective?
  50. 50. Us Against Them
  51. 51. Failure is Acceptable
  52. 52. 3Challenges Stuck on Repeat Hiring Killing Games
  53. 53. 1 How & Why 2 Challenges 3 Benefits
  54. 54. 3Benefits
  55. 55. #1Adapting
  56. 56. Adapting to Technology
  57. 57. Adapting to New Genres
  58. 58. 12 Teams 8 Teams
  59. 59. Less Politics #2
  60. 60. Meetings aren’t for Selling
  61. 61. Executives Influence, Not Command
  62. 62. #3Ownership
  63. 63. Creative Control Commitment, Confidence Quality
  64. 64. 3Benefits 3Challenges
  65. 65. Adapting Politics Ownership Reinventing Hiring Killing
  66. 66. all@yourcompany.com Dear Everyone, Effective Immediately: No matter what, Teams can work on whatever they want. Any Product they want. Using any technology they want. Management cannot stop you.
  67. 67. It’s time to hit send.
  68. 68. Thank You! Adam Telfer Wooga GmbH @adamwtelfer mobilefreetoplay.com

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