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Lamb_Chop’s Dev Diary – Creating A Positive Workplace
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Working productively within a group can be tough. Especially when it comes to game development where people can have very different personalities that can sometimes clash. I’m hoping these tips will help people to work better and be happier within the group environment.

Value And Respect
There is not a single person on this planet that does not want to feel valued and respected by their peers. This is in no way different in group environments. In order to create a positive work environment each team member needs to feel valued. This is best accomplished through communication. Listening to each person and honouring each one for what s/he has to say. By doing this you will show that you value and respect every individual. If your team mates don’t feel valued within the team, they aren’t going to do amazing work. Why should they?

Another important note is to be open to constructive criticism. You may have an idea on how an issue or task should be dealt with. And someone might have a different opinion on how to approach the same issue. Before you dismiss their opinion, take a step back and have a think on whether you have missed something that this person has caught onto. Even the most skilled game developers can get things wrong from time to time!

Respect and value your team mates AND your project. Value and respect isn’t just for the team members. This also means valuing and respecting the project that you’re working on. You can have the most skilled people in your group, but if they have no respect for other members of the team or the actual game they’re making, its not going to work.

This is also very important when you’re applying for a job within the industry. At that interview, sure they want to know how qualified you are, but the whole time, they are going to be sussing out whether you are going to fit in with their group of people. So showing that you are a respectful person will get you a long way.

Building Trust
It may take a short while for people to see you’re a man of your word, and the way to get your team to see you this way is CONSISTENCY. If they see that you are consistent in these above things, this will build trust.

If you say that you’re something you are not though, trust will be broken. The unfortunate thing about trust is that it takes a long time to rebuild. So be sure to be aware of your words and behaviour at all times.

Now this one might be tough. But try not to talk about one team member with another, unless its positive. Chances are you’re going to have some kind of issue with another team mate. Whether it be personal or professional. Those problems are between you two and your manager. Don’t spread the hate around. If you’re going to talk about other team members, let it be in a positive manner. Speaking negatively will mostly look bad on you. Don’t give yourself the reputation of talking ill of others. You’ll be seen as untrustworthy and people won’t want to work with you again.

Accountability
For example, as an artist, I might be responsible for creating and rigging a model. As a programmer, I might be responsible for making the character jump over an obstacle in game.

You see accountability is different to responsibility. Responsibility is more like a given task, where accountability is more like the element of the end result. E.g the responsibility is to make and animate the model, but you are accountable for the rig and animation to work smoothly within the game.

I’m going to throw in a great quote I read in an article interviewing Gabe-Newell from Valve: “Nobody can ever say ‘that’s not my job.’ Nobody ever gets to let themselves off the hook. If there’s a problem, you’ve gotta fix it.”
If you respect your job and your project enough, you will make yourself accountable for the tasks you have been given. Not just throwing together a model and moving on, but making sure that model will work to the quality that is to be expected so that the other members of your team can work smoothly after your task is complete.

And last of all…

Make the office a nice place to work
Now this might seem like a small thing, but it does make a difference! Decorating your desk with things like figurines, photos and what not will actually stimulate your creativity and the most comfortable office chair for long hours also make you want to come into work. Because hey, you have cool toys there!

Also when it’s time for you to take a break, you actually have something to look at, rather than a grey wall or the dude sitting next to you. You, and the freaked out dude sitting next to you will feel a lot less stressed, trust me!

If you have any awesome tips to share on making the work/group environment a more positive and productive place, feel free to comment below!

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Lucas
The Podfather/Convo Controller
Super salesman by day, Batdad and Gamersutra by night. As a self-confessed technology pacifist, he prefers to sit on the console-war fence and play games on his PC.
Matt
PlayStation Fanboy/Motormouth
Electrician by trade and yet also highly skilled at finding time to game around work and family commitments. A PlayStation fanboy with a platinum count and obvious podcast bias to prove it. Thinks DC is clearly superior to Marvel. Has been known to rant.
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