(Send the link to your friends: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2012StudioImprovement)
In 2011, just before GDC, I released a Production Survey in which I invited production personnel from throughout the games industry to comment on their studio. I received some fascinating responses and talked about them at the IGDA Leadership Forum and Montreal International Games Summit. Based on the feedback I received about the survey itself I’d like to bring it back this year… with a few improvements.
Why Are You Doing This?
I want to see us improve as an industry. I want to see what companies are already doing so we can share knowledge, and I want to see where companies say they can use some help so we can see where improvements can be made.
In 2011 more people said they wanted Leadership to improve over any other facet of their organization. As a result I created Leadership Month in which I posted a new article every day on leadership in game development.
We can all take steps towards making things better. Let’s take the first step of bringing attention to the areas that need help.
What Will Change From Last Year's Survey?
The biggest change is that I’m opening up the survey to everyone in the industry who is a paid developer for a company! I’m not yet sure how to include indies here – and nobody’s entirely sure what an indie is, anyway – so I’m couching this in the form of developers who receive a paycheck from a company. That might include remote developers doing contract work but it would exclude hobbyists who bring in $82 a quarter from the app they made for their mom. I don’t want to be exclusive, I’m just unsure of how to be meaningfully inclusive. So this year, at least, I want to get information pertinent to organizations with some semblance of company structure.
I’m asking a few additional questions about where you’re doing your development – platform and area of expertise, essentially. Many people asked me last year about cross tabulation of responses by department and experience level so I’m going to see if we can get some data applicable to those requests.
In the previous survey I provide eight “areas of excellence” such as production, leadership, and training. In response to the feedback I received, this year I’m adding a ninth category: morale.
There’s also a question asking you to look back over your company’s past 12 months of improvement. I hope we can start generating some information about improvement trends such as, “Here’s what I said was important in 2011 and now in 2012 I can tell you what we actually did.”
What Won’t Change
I’m trying to build from the baseline that was established last year in asking about quantification of areas of excellence. I want to keep several of these questions the same so we can see how the numbers change year over year.
Just like in 2011, the 2012 survey will be anonymous by default. I will still provide you the option of leaving contact information, though, for two reasons: I’d like the opportunity to follow up with people who provide thoughtful feedback, and I’m bringing back the “chance to win a free studio visit just for participating”!
The analysis of the survey results will be posted on my website and my Gamasutra blog. Everyone will get a chance to learn from the experience.
As ZeeGee Games will attest, I made good on my promise of providing an onsite visit and production analysis free of charge to the studio of one lucky respondent in the 2011 Survey. I’m going to do the same thing again in 2012! If you participate in the survey and provide your contact info you could win a visit during which I promise to conduct myself in a completely professional manner – unless your company is opposed to that sort of thing, in which case you’ll still get a free production analysis but it will be conducted in shorts and sandals. Your choice.
Participate and Spread the Word!
Since it was anonymous I can’t be sure of how many unique companies were represented in last year’s responses but I’m guessing it was around two dozen. This year – especially now that it’s expanded beyond just production folks – I’m hoping to get a lot more participants. More people = more colorful charts, and who doesn’t like charts? Please take a few minutes to participate in the survey, and encourage all of your coworkers and industry colleagues to do the same. Thanks for your help!