If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend that you read a recent SD Times article, What games can teach enterprise developers, by Alex Handy.
In the article Handy quotes Randall Ward (cofounder of Appfire Technologies), who says that he can tell a lot about a development shop by looking at the offices. “…making your environment fun to work in is something enterprises can learn from game companies,” he says.
“You walk into a game company and the walls are different,” Ward continues. “The signage is different, everything is much more visual, everything is electric and exciting. You're vividly aware you're within a different type of environment. I'll walk into a GE or an Abbot Laboratories, and you feel cold, stark and dark. Whatever the adjectives are, you feel that when you walk in and that reflects on the outcome of your work.”
In a nutshell, if you want creativity, foster it by making your work environment fun. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes. Have a release party! As Ward says, “If we can celebrate our deliveries, we'll build cadence and momentum. I see it all the time in gaming.”
Randall Ward also makes some other great points:
- Development teams are wholly invested in their products, with everyone deeply involved in all aspects of the development process. If a challenging problem emerges, everyone pitches in.
- Work is very transparent. Game companies visualize their destinations. They have highly visible mock-ups, pictures and ideas that fuels awareness and collaboration.
- Because release dates are vital in gaming companies, teams must be – and are able to be – brutally honest with one another. But people aren’t afraid to put their ideas “out there” and they remain open to challenges.
- Gaming companies aren’t afraid to reuse code. In fact, they need reuse.