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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » BioWare - Jennifer Hepler Leaves BioWare

Default BioWare - Jennifer Hepler Leaves BioWare

September 5th, 2013, 15:56
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
My point is: Get your team (and the customer!) involved in the whole development process of your product and let them learn what your product is all about.

For some team members this is a pure intellectual process (professionals), some need emotions and fun (Kick off with party and beer), some are nearly mad and passionate (nerds).
I don't believe in in onetrack specialists/restricted experts (German: "Fachidioten").
May I ask how big the teams are you are talking about?
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September 5th, 2013, 16:04
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
In German I wouldn't use the word "Passion", I would use these terms

Motivation
Interesse am Gesamtprojekt
Teamgeist
Kundenorientiert
Über den Tellerand schauen
Ein wenig Ehrgeiz ist auch nicht schlecht
Stolz auf sein Produkt sein
Ziel: 100% Qualität und 0 - Fehler

You can achieve all of this with a professional mindset and skillset in good quality, but IMHO (and experience - I have more than 20 bigger projects under my belt) some positive emotions (passion) are good to achieve something better/close to perfect.
I guess the point is it depends on what you define as passion. To me, people like Cleve embody the concept of PASHUN in video games. He's so passionate, he got bogged down in minutiae that caused his game to be in development for 17 years (and it's still not done yet). A little less PASHUN and a little more strict work ethics would have helped there.
Of course, Grimoire might be a great game when it finally comes out, which would support the theory that PASHUN is great, especially for smaller developers. But there's also the chance that Grimoire will be a huge beast of a game with lots of disconnected parts; if he had set his sights a little lower (he has said that his driving ambition was to create a game that's bigger than Wiz 7), the product might have profited more. Plus a smaller game would have had a chance to be released after, say, 2 years of development, which would have been 1997; it would still have looked like an underdog, but it would have been less far behind the technology curve than it is nowadays.

And this doesn't just apply to amateurs or people who make games in their spare time like Cleve. I don't know how many RPG's in the last 15 years would have been better had they been smaller in scale (and consequently, in price too). I'm thinking of humble projects like MMX. The nice but flawed Troika games could have been much more polished/ less broken at release had they cut down their projects to the size of MMX, ambitious as they were. But that possibility may not have been on the radar of Tim Cain & co. because they were used to bigger, more complex products.

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September 5th, 2013, 16:06
May I ask how big the teams are you are talking about?
Mostly 10 - 20. Sometimes up to 30 = Developers + Customer representatives.

Teams > 30 don't really work well in my profession.

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September 5th, 2013, 16:31
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Mostly 10 - 20. Sometimes up to 30 = Developers + Customer representatives.

Teams > 30 don't really work well in my profession.
So I think that fits what I said earlier - with small teams, up to 10-15 I would expect that model works well. I doubt it works in larger teams (which Bioware is). But well, I can't claim any first hand experience. But partly you also seem to speak of general commitment to the task, social skills, and the ability to communicate with other specialists etc., which I don't think has much to do with the idea of "Passion" for games (meaning passion for all aspects of gaming) that we started with.
Well anyway we are maybe straying too far from the original topic by now, so just a final question to bring it full circle - from what you know of Mrs. Hepler, and going through the german term list a few posts up - do you think she fits your definition of "Fachidiot"?
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September 5th, 2013, 16:46
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Well anyway we are maybe straying too far from the original topic by now, so just a final question to bring it full circle - from what you know of Mrs. Hepler, and going through the german term list a few posts up - do you think she fits your definition of "Fachidiot"?
I don't know Mrs. Hepler, all I know is this interview.

Translation in my world:

In my world I'm developing high quality software and databases for a big pharmacy corporation.
If one of my database specialists would say "I'm not interested in the whole pharma-production process at all (the working process we try to support) - I'm only interested in the new Oracle 12.0 database" it would be his last day in my team.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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September 5th, 2013, 16:55
Hmmm, my prediction is, that you have a couple of team members that are lying through their teeth, then

But isn't what she said more like:

"I'm not interested in the technical pharma production processes (and I'd hate to be someone who has to operate those machines), but my colleagues are taking good care of that. I really only care for the sales database support I'm giving - I'm pro at that, and that's what I like to focus on"

?
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September 5th, 2013, 17:14
I would say to her:

If you don't understand the technical pharma production processes, you can't really understand our database logic and software and then you cannot support our database sales group very well …

I know this work ethic is demanding and ambitious. But it is a good way to produce quality products with a quality team.
Look at our projects in the past - this concept simply works.

PS:
Maybe we should make a new off-topic thread:
Modern agile approaches to software development ?

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; September 5th, 2013 at 17:30.
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September 5th, 2013, 18:02
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I know this work ethic is demanding and ambitious. But it is a good way to produce quality products with a quality team.
Look at our projects in the past - this concept simply works.
I'm sure it is and it does. I am not convinced that it's necessarily the only or always the best way, especially in something that requires such diverse talents as game development. But I'm happy to leave it at that, I do understad where you are coming from.
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September 5th, 2013, 18:28
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I'm sure it is and it does. I am not convinced that it's necessarily the only or always the best way, especially in something that requires such diverse talents as game development. But I'm happy to leave it at that, I do understand where you are coming from.
I don't know if it's always the best approach, too. I have no experience in game development or really big teams for example. And sometimes you have simply not the educated personal to go for a more general approach.

BTW:
The original idea to make your specialists thinking more general is from the concept of lean production and later lean software engineering.

PS: What are T-shaped people?

1) Firm A: This firm loves ex-consultants and focuses it’s hiring on people who have strategy consulting or generalist consulting in their pedigree. The outcome of this firm is typically one where you have people who know a lot about a lot, but are quite shallow on most things.

But, the positive side of this hiring approach is that people are scalable and are teachable. That is, they can then focus on a specialization, if they wish.

2) Firm B: This firm prides itself on being very specialized and hires experts in their respective fields. The outcome of this hiring strategy is that the firm has a lot of highly-specialized people, perhaps requiring more hand-off’s because specialists are not easily scalable — that is, the move from specialists to generalist might be harder than the other way around.

3) Firm T: This firm prides itself on hiring T-shaped people — that is, they hire people that are decent generalist, but also very, very good in one aspect of their field. These people are called T-shaped, to describe the generalist and broad perspective and experience, but also the narrow and deep specialization.

I’m stating the obvious: T-shaped people are the ones to find, hire, and keep. These people can be moved all over the company and can add value to most firms. Generalist alone are like watered-milk; Specialists alone might be too much. T-shaped folks fit in almost any organization.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; September 5th, 2013 at 18:42.
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September 5th, 2013, 22:47
Reading gaben's employee handbook again? Sounds good, doesn't seem to work out for them, though. Probably because everyone with those qualities doesn't waste their time working for someone else. What you really need for software is drive and intelligence, and for entertainment 'content' is talent, and to a lesser extent drive (which is where passion comes in). That's pretty much all there is to it.

Also there's the problem in who's an expert. Some guys I worked with have written books on a subject, are they experts? I got a few offers to help write books too, I guess it would make me LOOK like an expert anyway, though I am not sure it would be reality for those subjects. If you look close at edison you realize he was 2% genius 98% thief, and I imagine that holds true of many or even most famous experts/geniuses/etc.
Last edited by ManWhoJaped; September 6th, 2013 at 00:59.
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September 6th, 2013, 13:34
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I don't know Mrs. Hepler, all I know is this interview.

Translation in my world:

In my world I'm developing high quality software and databases for a big pharmacy corporation.
If one of my database specialists would say "I'm not interested in the whole pharma-production process at all (the working process we try to support) - I'm only interested in the new Oracle 12.0 database" it would be his last day in my team.
My translation sounds a bit differently :

To me, it sounds so as if she likes the story aspect, but not the fighting aspect of a game - translated into your example this would be as if someone likes to program a chemicals database, but isn't interested in actually memorizing every molecular structure of the chemicals for which this database is meant to be.

It's as if you'd expect an author of love stories to equally be able to write war or horror or crime stories … Both have very different kinds of emotions - and thus require different wording - involved …

It's to me almost as if she was hired as a specialist, but reqired or wanted to fulfill rules she was never trained or prepared for.

And the Public of course demands that she takes the role she was never trained or prepared for.



Besides : Why "T" ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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September 6th, 2013, 14:00
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Besides : Why "T" ?
T-People:

People that have quite a range of different skills (Generalists) and specialize in a few of them.

If you have these people in a team and use them in different roles in each project you get real experts over time.
It's really hard to catch these guys and gals on the wrong foot.
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September 11th, 2013, 00:40
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Especially when dealing with non-passionate, I'm going home at 16:00 o'clock, business as usual
I'm going home at 4:03pm. If things turn bad, sometimes at 4:04pm. SCNR
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September 11th, 2013, 01:02
yllaettaevaet - um 16:00 Uhr werde ich erst richtig wach

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September 11th, 2013, 17:32
Then you might be an Owl.

Lerche vs. Eule.

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