November 18, 2007
Chairperson Update November '07
Although it's been awhile since I last did an update, the Production SIG has seen some activity in the last few months. The biggest thing of note is the SIG's participating in the first ever IGDA Production and Leadership Forum, which was held in San Francisco on November 8th and 9th. The forum focused exclusively and production and leadership issues and was well attended by producers, studio managers, leads, and others interested in improving game management issues. To see summaries of the presentations and to download the slides, please go to : www.igda.org/leadership.
I hosted a round table where we discussed the future of the Production SIG and how to make this a valuable resource for all of us. Generally, many people felt that there was a need for some type of standard production terminology and job descriptions - just to get everyone on the same page when discussing production issues. The wide variety of producers and their role on a project, along with how producers can develop their career path were also major areas of interest. Here are a few ideas we came up with for some resources and information the Production SIG can provide:
1. Job titles and descriptions
2. Blueprints for producer career path
3. Identify core competencies
4. Outsourcing Database
5. Developer database
6. Case Studies on different situations a producer faces. (Perhaps modeled after Harvard Business Review)
7. List of due diligence questions to ask developers and vendors
8. Creating bid packages
9. Information on PMP certification - game module?
10. Help people plan for career development. Identify core competencies for each producer type, and then determine why type of training is necessary for these.
11. Information on Project Management Methods. Case Studies of different methodologies.
12. Information on scoping out a project
13. Information on Risk assessment and how to do risk analysis
14. Samples of project schedules and plans? Project archives?
15. Standardized naming conventions for different parts of production. Alpha/Beta mean different things to different companies.
16. Suggested Reading list
I will be working to implement some of these suggestions in the next few months, and create a plan for enhancing the usefulness of the production SIG to all of our members. If you have any feedback or suggestions, or are interested in volunteering, please contact me offlist at heather at mediasunshine dot com.
In addition, I will be hosting a gathering of the Production SIG at GDC in February. If you are attending GDC, please plan to attend. Talking to you in person is a great way to get feedback on how to make the SIG more viable for you.
April 22, 2007
Chairperson Update April '07
As always, the mailing list has been active with people asking questions and offering information and feedback. This is a great way to interact and learn from you peers. In addition, a small group has been adding some content to the Production Knowledge base, which is located here:
This is an area where anyone is free to contribute their production knowledge, add to the list of resources, or suggest new areas we should explore. I hope that this will eventually become a widely used and centralized production resource. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Adrien David (adavid at soulsndrakes dot com).
Finally, the IGDA has been organizing a the first ever IDGA Leadership Forum that will be held November 8th and 9th in San Francisco. This is geared towards producers, managers, and leads and will feature a production and leadership track. Please watch the mailing list for more details.
January 28, 2007
Chairperson Update: Jan '07
First, welcome to the new members who have signed up for the SIG in the past few months. The mailing list is generating some very interesting discussions on hiring practices, getting into the industry, and documentation standards. I really hope people continue to use the mailing form as a way to get input from their peers on production issues.
In other news the Production Wiki has officially launched. Several people have volunteered to write content and we should soon be seeing some updates on the Wiki. If you are interested in contributing to the Wiki, please contact Adrien David (adavid at soulsndrakes dot com).
Some progress is being made on an IGDA sponsored event geared towards producers and managment. Look for details soon.
As always if you have question or suggestions about the SIG, please contact me - heather at mediasunshine dot com.
December 03, 2006
Chairperson Update: December '06
More members have joined the SIG in the past two months and we are having some really interesting discussions on the mailing list. In addition, we officially launched the Production SIG Wiki: http://www.igda.org/wiki/index.php/KB, which is being managed by Adrien David. Check it out and feel free to contribute something.
Also, in this month's IGDA newsletter, Brian Reynolds announced that the IGDA has begun a relationship with the Talley Management Group, a company specialized in the complexities of running operations for membership associations.
What does this mean for the Production SIG?
Well, we now have an easy way to set up organize and run dedicated Production SIG events. I know that a Production Retreat was discussed last year, but has been on the back-burner for awhile because of logistics. However, with this new relationship with the Talley Management Group, we can look at starting with some small with local events first. I would love to hear what everyone's thoughts are on such events. For example, we could do a 2 hour workshop on motivation, a one-day production conference, or anything else where people would like to meet others and get more in-depth information.
October 03, 2006
Chairperson Update: October 06
I've been talking with Scott Russo of the Producer's Guild and he wanted me to put the word out that the Producer's Guild has a new media division that provides support and resources to producers of interactive content (which includes serious games, educational games, and entertainment). I am sending the application and member benefits to the mailing list and will also be posting this on the website. Please contact me directly if you have questions about this.
Also, I have compiled a list of production blogs that you might find interesting, if you have any others to add please let me know:
Hope everyone is having a good year, I see lots of interesting discussions happening on the mailing lists. Don't forget the forums are also a good resource for you to utilize. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to email me at heather at mediasunshine dot com.
July 25, 2006
Chairperson Update: July 06
First, I'd like to welcome all of our new members to the SIG. We've got a lot planned for the next few months, so please stay tuned. For those of you who are long-time members, thanks for bearing with us as we gear up for some changes. You may already know that we're going to be updating the site layout in the near future. To that end, if you are proficient with Movable Type, and would like to contribute to the SIG, let me know.
Please let me introduce myself. My name is Heather Chandler, and I've been working in game production since 1996. I've worked on over thirty games at Activision, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Media Sunshine. In my spare time, I have taught seminars on game production, lectured at college classes, and published several books and articles about game production and localization.
I'm really looking forward to working with everyone to make this SIG useful and productive. If you've got ideas or suggestions, please send them my way (or post them on the forums).
I'm interested in learning what you need from this group, and how it can help you.
June 25, 2005
Chairman Update: June 05
It's been a while since I wrote the last SIG update, but that's not to say that things aren't moving forward.
First, I'd like to thank Maja Persson from Shiny who has been handling our SIG mini-site since the beginning. While I wish Maja could continue to lend us her time and expertise in managing the site, she has taken on new responsibilities at Shiny and unfortunately cannot maintain the mini-site going forward. Dan Magaha from Firaxis who has been acting as our membership coordinator will now be taking on the added responsibility of maintaining the site in the future. Thanks for stepping up Dan!
While the SIG mail list discussion activity hasn't been as strong as it was a couple months back, we've still heard from some of you that the format has been problematic either due to the volume of SIG mail that's been hitting your inbox or because it was difficult to follow the discussion topics. Once again Dan Magaha is taking some initiative here and is experimenting with setting up a private forum for the production SIG community to take the discussion to. We'll keep you posted on how that shapes up as we perform more tests on the forum possibility.
I've been in contact with Dan Irish lately who as many of you know is heading up our first production SIG initiative, "Formalizing the Production Process." Though this one has taken longer than we expected to get rolling, we chalk that up to it being our first initiative and we're continuing to move forward. Dan and I will be making a renewed push to get this one on track in the coming month, so if you have already volunteered for a section keep your eyes out for a mail from either Dan or myself. Special thanks to those of you who have already submitted the section you volunteered for!
For those of you who were following Jason Della Rocca's thread recently about the proposed "Production Summit" we have some exciting news. The IGDA board of directors met recently and have green lit some more study into the possibility of making this conference a reality. Jason will be in contact with the mail list shortly to form a task force of volunteers to do some more ground work on the next steps.
As always, thanks for your participation. We have almost 200 producers and project managers involved with the SIG and appreciate your interest and involvement!
If you have any comments or suggestions on how to make the SIG more engaging or valuable, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG
March 25, 2005
Chairman Update: March 05
Things are busy, so this may not be the longest update on record for the SIG.
Of particular note in the past month, Dan Irish is moving along nicely with the "Formalizing the Production Process" initiative. Along with getting everything in order with the section assignments, Dan has also generated a style guide as well as writing examples to keep the white paper cohesive. Frank Rogan at Shiny has stepped up to edit the paper, and based on my experiences with him in the past, I know he is going to do a great job. A private mail list has been set up for the contributors to this first initiative and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has volunteered to contribute to this initiative. Dan has also worked out the schedule for our first initiative's delivery as follows:
First drafts of sections done April 5.
Edits done June 5.
Final drafts done June 10.
Outside of the initiative work, I'm sure many of you are planning on attending GDC. If you have the chance, be sure to stop by the production SIG roundtables on Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:30 and on Friday from Noon to 1:00. We'll be discussion production challenges facing us as well as identifying areas of focus for this SIG in the next year. At the very least it would be great to meet you all face to face. In addition to the roundtables, I highly recommend the Quality of Life summit taking place from 10:00 to 6:00 on Tuesday. Log in to the Game Developers Conference web site (http://www.gdconf.com/) to learn more.
So over the next month we'll be focusing on the first drafts of the initiative. I'll send another update to you all in April and let you know how that's progressing.
As always, thanks for your participation!
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG
February 25, 2005
Chairman Update: February 05
As is traditional with my monthly updates, let me start be welcoming our newest members of the production SIG to the group. As of today, there are over 170 producers and project managers contributing to the SIG - a major increase since our last update.
In terms of the SIG activities, things are kicking into high gear with the start of the New Year and the busy holiday season behind us. Dan Irish has been in contact with many of you, putting names to sections of our upcoming initiative, "Formalizing a Production Process." The last Excel sheet I received from Dan was nearly filled out so thanks to all of you who have offered your time and effort in getting this initiative cranking. The next step will be setting up a schedule for the initiative so that we can begin to put some deadlines on the section work and give the contributors some goals to work toward while balancing the initiative contributions around your busy production schedules. Dan is one the east coast at the moment but will be sending an update himself in the coming days to fill everyone in with more detail on this important initiative.
In other news, I'll be hosting a roundtable at Game Developers Conference this year titled "Pro Active: Tackling Production Challenges." This roundtable as part of the IGDA track of GDC will be instrumental in highlighting pressing production issues facing our industry today. While this session will inevitably raise some important topics for us all to consider, it is also intended to be a forum to target topics worthwhile for this community to consider when planning our next initiative for 2005-2006. I encourage you all to attend if you'll be traveling out to GDC this year; the session is offered at two times during the week - Wednesday from 2:30-3:30 and on Friday from 12:00-1:00.
While at GDC, I also encourage you to attend the IGDA Quality of Life Summit offered on both Monday and Tuesday. We can all agree that production faces difficult challenges as we move into the next generation of hardware, and it can be easily argued that quality of life concerns are increasingly important problems to address as we look to the future. Production is in a unique position to manage these quality of life issues and these GDC sessions should be considered some of the most important features of the conference for producers attending the conference.
As many of you noticed, the IGDA itself went through a major evolution at the beginning of the year by ending its agreement with CMP. While I believe that Jason Della Rocca's update covered all the important and exciting details with regard to this transition, I wanted to point out again that the membership fee structure for the IGDA has changed as well. Individual memberships which were previously $100 have dropped substantially to only $48 per year. If you're not already a member of the IGDA I encourage you to support the organization by signing up as a paid member to take advantage of the membership benefits the IGDA offers. www.igda.org/join
That should cover us for now; I hope to have some more details on the initiative activity in my next update.
Thanks for your support - be sure to tell your friends to sign up on the mail list if you find the mail list discussions and future projects to be of interest.
As always, if you have any questions or comments on the SIG feel free to drop me a line.
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG
November 25, 2004
Chairman Update: November 04
Welcome to the November edition of the Production SIG update!
Things have been fairly slow in the past month - understandable as most of you are in some sort of crunch or another leading up to the crucial holiday season. Even so, we've been making progress in launching our initiatives.
First, Dan Irish is making great progress toward the official launch of the "Formalizing a Production Process" initiative. Dan sent Jason Della Rocca and myself a draft of his proposed outline the other day and it looks like the project is going to be both timely and pertinent for delivery to the development community in 2005. As you may have seen, Dan is looking for more contributors to this initiative. If you can spare even a little spare time between now and 2005 I'd encourage you to contact Dan and offer your assistance. Dan's e-mail address is
Our second initiative, "The Producer: The Total View" has been put on hold for a while. We've decided that given the busy holiday season approaching and the breadth of the "Production Process" initiative that it would be better to throw all of our support behind Dan and launch this second initiative early next year.
As always, you can check the status of the initiatives in the "projects" section of the mini-site. http://www.igda.org/production/currentprojects.php
Speaking of the mini-site, Maja continues to update the pages on a regular basis and has made some minor tweaks over the past 30 days. We're still looking for some of you to submit some book reviews of the critical reading in our "resources" section. I can tell you that the book reviews do get regular hits from people searching for qualified reviews so submitting your critique will not only impress your friends but grant you instant international fame! Well, perhaps not - but it'd still be great to have some of your contributions. http://www.igda.org/production/resources_main.php
Thanks for your support and be sure to tell your friends to sign up on the mail list if you find the mail list discussions and future projects to be of interest.
If you have any questions or comments on the SIG feel free to drop me a line.
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG
October 25, 2004
Chairman Update: October 04
With October upon us, its time for another production SIG update!
WELCOME to all the new members who have joined during the past month! Our active membership totals nearly 140 members - a BIG increase over the 80 we had signed up in September. The contributor's page on the mini-site is becoming an impressive list of producers and project managers from a variety of interactive backgrounds and is worth taking a look at when you have a free moment. http://www.igda.org/production/contributors.htm.
The mini-site itself is continuing to evolve through your suggestions and the support of Maja Persson who updates the site regularly. For those that haven't noticed, one of the most exciting additions to the site is the resources page, which at our member's suggestion, now contains a list of some of the most important project management books on the market today. The group noted that we'd like to have a list of secondary reading such as art and design books, and while this will appear in the future, we've initially kicked the page off with the primary reading list. Be sure to click the link and be the first to offer a production SIG member review of one of the titles. http://www.igda.org/production/resources.htm.
One of the most important reasons for the production SIG to exist is our upcoming initiatives. The outpouring of support for our first two initiatives was really amazing over the past month and I'm happy to report that both initiatives are getting organized with the recent selection of chair people and committee members. Special thanks to Eric Marcoullier who has volunteered to chair the "Total View" initiative and Dan Irish who will chair the "Production Process" initiative. For a full list of the committee members who have graciously volunteered their time in advancing these initiatives you can check out the projects page on the mini-site. http://www.igda.org/production/future.htm. If anyone else is interested in getting involved, feel free to drop me a mail - I'm sure both groups would welcome additional talent contributing to the initiatives.
While I was initially handling the mail list, Dan Magaha from Firaxis has taken responsibility as membership coordinator. Thanks to Dan for helping out! If anyone has any friends or co-workers in project management who you feel would benefit from the production SIG feel free to send them a mail and point them to the mail list. Dan is not only working to handle incoming requests but also to actively gather more support and would be more than happy to welcome new members. http://www.igda.org/production/mailinglist.htm.
On a general housekeeping note, a couple of people have reported problems with the mail list. If you are having trouble getting messages through to the group or have mail list questions, please feel free to drop me a mail. If anyone needs to unsubscribe for any reason feel free to drop me a line and we'll help you out with the request as quickly as possible.
Next month we'll have a larger update on the progress of our first two initiatives as work commences. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you have any thoughts on making the production SIG a more engaging and beneficial community for us all to be a part of. As always, thanks for your support!
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG
September 25, 2004
Chairman Update: September 04
It's been a while since I sent an update regarding our SIG activities. Going forward, I'm planning on sending an e-mail monthly to communicate our progress and offer general updates on noteworthy activities and achievements.
To start, let me offer a big WELCOME to everyone out there who has recently joined the production SIG!
The SIG was founded to open channels of communication between project managers and give producers an opportunity to contribute to the greater interactive community. Via our upcoming production initiatives, we not only plan to strengthen the production community but also to respond to our development teams more effectively by offering greater levels of service through enhanced project development techniques.
In response to our initial word-of-mouth campaign and the more recent e-mail blast by Jason Della Rocca and the IGDA, we have been able to attract over 80 project managers from leading companies in the console, PC, mobile, and indie development fields. The support we've received in a little over a month of existence is really quite impressive and I encourage you to check out our contributor's page to get a feel for the powerful support behind us. http://www.igda.org/production/contributors.htm.
Which brings me to my next topic; the mini-site is now up and running thanks to help from Maja Persson who has graciously volunteered to help us out with our web design needs. Chris Burke and Drew Sikora continue to moderate our forums which remain a valuable resource for both aspiring producers and professional project managers alike. Be sure to check the full mini-site out when you get a chance and feel free to send any suggestions or comments along. http://www.igda.org/production/index.htm.
As you peruse the mini-site you'll undoubtedly notice that our first two production SIG initiatives are posted in the Future Projects section. We hope that these first two initiatives will not only be creatively engaging to the SIG community but will also serve the industry once we complete these initial goals. Please take the time to check out these initiatives and consider contributing to them in the future. I'll be sending out a separate mail calling for volunteers during the months of September and November outlining the proposed volunteer contributions and initiative goals in more detail.
Until we get the first initiative off the ground I encourage you all to continue using the forums as a production resource as well as our private mail list for more sensitive production topics you'd like feedback from your peers on. So far the mailing list has been utilized for some good questions and requests for support. We've been able to keep the mail list from becoming a conduit for spam so I thank you all for limiting use of the list to address relevant topics pertinent to project management and the SIG goals.
As mentioned above, the initial response to our SIG has been fantastic but we're of course always eager to strengthen our knowledge base. If you have producers or projects managers you work with, or professional acquaintances who you feel might benefit from this SIG community, please feel free to direct them to our mail list page. http://www.igda.org/production/mailinglist.htm. We're always looking for more talent to drive our future endeavors.
On behalf of the production SIG and the IGDA, let me thank you all once again for your support. With your help, we expect this SIG to make meaningful contributions going forward!
Chairperson, IGDA Production SIG