Shadow Puppeteer team meetings

This is how we do it: Scenes from a week of development

Hi everyone!

We’re finally back in full «work mode» again. Which also means a new topic for the Development Blog. Today we want to share with you the day-to-day office life in a week on development. Our routines, our work spaces, meetings and more!

We hope you will find this useful, interesting and somewhat funny.

Day 1: Mondays – A day for meetings
As you know, we have morning meetings every day. On Mondays we review last week’s goals, look over our main plan and set new goals for the current week. On Mondays the meeting can last up to an hour, depending on how much we need to discuss.

And of course the Morning meeting always ends with our stretch. We do that do wake up and get ready for a day of work. If you want to know about what the morning stretch is like you can read about it here: http://shadowpuppeteer.com/morning-stretch-routine/

Morning meetings

An important function of the Morning meeting is to figure out who needs to talk with who during the day, and schedule time to help each other out. As we account for what we did the previous day, and what we’re planning to do today we stay connected and updated on each others’ progress. And we have also experienced that it prevents mistakes that could have been made from poor communication.

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A great meeting where we planned one of our in-game cutscenes.

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You know a meeting is good when, afterwards, your face hurts from smiling and laughing too much.

We try to include everyone in creative meetings; if a member of the team wants to contribute they are welcome to join in. But of course, leads need to be present when the topic is directly related to their area.

Day 2-4: Tuesdays – Thursdays
Tuesdays are audio meeting days. It’s when Catharina and Marianne sit down to Skype with Ragnhild and Peter to discuss new pieces and visual materials. We upload in-game videos and cutscenes to a dropbox folder. Ragnhild creates her magic and adds the music to the video files so that we can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

Marianne efficiently taking notes while Catharina tries to understand any of the music lingo being used.

Marianne efficiently taking notes while Catharina tries to understand any of the music lingo being used.

Peter shares his vast knowledge and helps in translating Catharina’s comments, like “make it less music-heavy” into something actually useful, like “Try to make it more legato in stead of staccato and removing half of the notes”.

Most of the week is about getting things that were planned on Monday done on Friday. Our team works very independently on their tasks. We use Asana to distribute tasks between team members. We find this to be very efficient, most of the time.

Asana

Of course it helps to create tasks that others can understand

Sitting so closely together makes it also easy to have small discussions. This may be our strength and weakness.

blog10We want to be as efficient as possible, but that will open up to the risk of miscommunication. A lot of our meetings, because of this, are quite spontaneous and it becomes very important to take notes along the way.

Example of meeting summary. Pretty sketches don't win medals when you're short on time.

Example of meeting summary. Pretty sketches don’t win medals when you’re short on time.

The programmers sit together, working very tightly and we keep the administrative busy bees to themselves as the buzzing might end up becoming a bit distracting.

We work as a team, but have separate desks. These are customized to suit our different tastes and preferences. For instance, Marianne has a high desk because she has had some problems with her back.

Seating arrangementEven though we are a game development company we try to be very consistent with our 7,5 hour day work (the Norwegian standard set by the government). But even with standard working hours we are still exposed to wear and tear from just working with computers all day. Because of this we try to make sure that people take 5-10 minute breaks at 11:00 and 14:00 while also having a 30 minute lunch AWAY from the computers.

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We have a small kitchen so people must wait their turn

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Eating together is always nice

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Although the programmers are sometimes hard to convince

Day 5: Friday – Judgement day and day of fun

Fridays are special because we sum up our efforts for the week in a special “End of week” meeting. We look at each others’ work, evluate and praise. Sometimes small discussion break out. We look at what goals we managed, and which we didn’t (if any, but there are usually some).

After we’ve had our End of week meeting everything’s set for our favourite office tradition: “Friday Fun”. We’ve written about this event in an earlier blogpost: http://shadowpuppeteer.com/friday-fun/

And that just about sums up our working week.  If you have any questions or want to know more details about parts of our process, please add a comment.

Epocu_promo_headerWe’re still on Epocu and we have quite challenge ahead of us: 180 people in just 6 days! You can pledge with a either Teet, a FB post or a Tumblr post. Actually, if you want, you can pledge with all three. It’s totally free, except that it takes you a few seconds to set up. Thanks so much to everyone who’s already signed up and helped us spread the word about Shadow Puppeteer. We are incredibly grateful, and it would be awesome if we could spread the work even more with Epocu.

 
 

Shadow Puppeteer available on Steam

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