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Feature: Postmortem Probe Finds Production Problems Pretty Prevalent

A new analysis of postmortems published by Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine finds that production issues are overwhelmingly responsible for the success or failure of a game project.
A new analysis of postmortems published by Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine finds that production issues are overwhelmingly responsible for the success or failure of a project. The analysis, published in Game Developer and also as a Gamasutra feature today, categorized "What Went Right" and "What Went Wrong" entries for two years' worth of postmortems into one of six common game development disciplines. The results show that production/process-related issues were responsible for a 36 percent plurality of noted "what went right" elements in projects, but a 56 percent majority of "what went wrong" elements. As analysis author Ara Shirinian notes, "In general, this seems to indicate that development teams are just much worse at planning, coordinating, and conducting the work required to produce a game as a whole, more than anything else." "I think this finding will resonate with a lot of developers -- poorly managed projects unfortunately appear to be much more common than well-managed ones," he continued, while conceding that any project that ships is a success by some standard. Among production difficulties, those relating to scope, feature creep and resource allocation were most common, together accounting for 23 percent of production issues. Team communication problems made up another ten percent of noted production problems. The full report goes on to break down factors like team size, development time, crunch time, outsourcing and development pipelines, and discusses how each one contributed to the success or failure of the projects under consideration.

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