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Feature: 'GDCE: Strike Teams: Cross Discipline Saviors'

In one of today's main Gamasutra features, as part of the Production and Management Issues track at Game Developers Conference Europe, NCSoft producer Starr Long introduc...
In one of today's main Gamasutra features, as part of the Production and Management Issues track at Game Developers Conference Europe, NCSoft producer Starr Long introduced and debated a management methodology which has been used extensively both at NCSoft and at other developers such as EA Redwood Shores Studio. As the article explains in the process of communicating Long's views: "The basic concept of a strike team is of a small team of cross-discipline developers used to focus on a single area or system. Long described the teams as being entirely goal-oriented, co-located (i.e. sitting next to each other) and existing only for as long as the task remained – disbanding afterwards, typically after just a few weeks. After introducing the basic concept of strike teams, Long quickly admitted that the methodology had its fair share of problems and indeed, at the end of his purposefully short lecture, he was eager to take questions and to discuss it and similar management systems. Before that, though, he laid out the basic arguments in favor of strike teams, the first of which was better communication across disciplines, with the proximity of team members also improving interaction and efficiency. In Long's experience, the setup also had a tendency to improve morale and promote accountability, all of which helped to better ensure the desired results. Long did not shy away from commenting on the potential problems with using strike teams, beginning with the logistical problem of moving people around. He also joked about possible trouble with programmers who don't like to share desk space and the often strikingly different vernacular used by artists, programmers and other disciplines. The confusion of authority lines was suggested as perhaps the most serious issue though, with problems often occurring between department and the strike team leads." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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