Building Our Resource Management Map

Can getting the most out of your people also get the best out of them?

Hello all, we have much to discuss!

I’m pleasantly surprised by how many people have subscribed to our brand new newsletter, thank you for joining us and welcome to The Working Lunch production and creative leadership community, it’s so nice to have you here.

A couple of weeks ago, fifteen of us Sydney based game producers got together and discussed the biggest problems we were facing in our work. Everything from estimation methods to client relationship management to multi-project studio stack ranking was in the mix. We’ll be using this list as a loose guide for the material we create and explore together over the coming months, however if you’ve got a particularly tricky production problem you’d like to explore feel free to send it in to and we’ll see if the hivemind can help you out.

The first topic on our list is Resource Management - this came up in many forms in our first meeting. Capacity planning, team budgeting, context switching, prioritising streams of work in a multi-project studio, individual “bus factor”, to buffer or not to buffer - the list goes on!

Many of our attendees at the first meetup were producers and leaders in small, multi-project teams who find themselves having to assign one person across multiple projects, and chop-and-change their project teams regularly to keep up with changing project demands and new business. On the other end of our spectrum, AAA people in the room were navigating preserving the team unit on a stream of work, and how relationships between team members, stakeholders and production impact long term project assignments. Both camps had strong business cases for why they’d chosen their particular path - we want to dig into the pros and cons and see if we can challenge our own ideas of how “resource management” (in itself, a controversial term!) is done.

This will be the topic of our first formal meetup in Sydney, Australia. You can RSVP to attend the meetup in person here.
What to expect at the meetup:
  • A bunch of lovely production people ready for a good chat!

  • We’ll be focusing specifically on real-world examples of how studios are handling assigning teams/team members to pieces of work, and why.

  • We’ll discuss the pros and cons, the values behind the methods, and the trade offs they come with.

  • We’ll use this discussion to create a visualisation that explores why we manage people the way we do, which I’ll share with you all via this newsletter.

Not in Sydney?
  • If you can’t attend the meetup, I’d love to hear from you about how your team is handling resource management and any problems you’re facing!

  • If you’d like to run your own visualisation exercise, (solo or with a group of production people closer to home) drop me a line and I’ll send you through a meetup runsheet you could use.

Here are some helpful/interesting resources about our meetup topic you might want to peruse:
  • The Digital Project Manager has a very comprehensive write up of resource management software on the market

  • For large teams, the Scaled Agile Framework offers an argument for abandoning “resource management” in favour of lean budgeting

  • In the “Behaviours Create an Agile Culture” episode of The Agile Within podcast, Johanna Rothman talks about the dangers of thinking about our people as “resources” in planning:

If you’ve liked this first ever newsletter and you’re keen for more, please do tell a friend about us. The more the merrier.

All the best,

Ally McLean

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