Warner Bros. boss calls out “slash and burn” management

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 21 July 2011 02:07 GMT

Warner Bros. Games general manager and vice president Laura Fryer has criticised the practice of hiring, burning out, and then firing development staff.

“This is like ploughing a piece of land incessantly until, after three-or-so years, the plot of land becomes unusable,” she said at Develop yesterday, as reported by Gamasutra.

“I believe this is an unsustainable model for the games industry.”

Fryer, whose impressive credits include a stint as a Gears of War franchise executive producer, said developers should stop trying to treat every game the same way.

“There is no one way to ship a game, period. Every game is different and every team is different,” she said.

“It’s very important that you do not become a slave to dogma. Sometimes the processes we have don’t make sense in terms of our ultimate goal, namely to ship a good game.”

The executive encouraged developers to create a box of “tools” for various situations, rather than assume a single approach will work in all scenarios. She recommended holding regular post-mortems throughout development rather than just at the end, and to ensure staff are always working on the answer to a specific problem.

Fryer also encouraged management to make individual staff responsible for deadlines rather than handing them down paternalistically, and to encourage an honest atompshere in which delays-causing problems can be discussed and identified early.

“I believe the key is to find a way to create a permaculture in game development, to foster creativity in such a way that it becomes entirely sustainable,” she said.

Thanks, IndustryGamers.


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