How To Adapt To Different Development Environments
At Hitcents we pride ourselves on being able to produce multiple solutions for our Clients while simultaneously releasing award-winning games for a global market. Our teams come from a wide variety of backgrounds and skillsets. Our ability to leverage those talents is what allows us to continue producing innovative ideas and quality products.
The projects we take on can range from native app development, to server development, to producing an entire game from scratch. These projects will often require the talents of multiple people spanning more than one department. How does Hitcents manage different groups of people to create the same product?
As a Project Manager at Hitcents, the tools I use to do this are Adaptability and Communication.
Our teams can create a multitude of products, including: cross-platform native apps, cross-platform mobile games, websites, servers, content management systems, application programming interfaces and marketing materials. The teams behind these creations are composed of app programmers, web programmers, game programmers, animators, illustrators, graphic designers and QA testers. Each individual in these teams have different ideas for how to stay organized, how to produce content and how to communicate ideas to each other
As a result, a Project Manager has to adapt to each development environment and be flexible in their approach to making sure such a wide variety of talent stays consistent when working on a project. This means Project Managers take on multiple roles during development and become well-informed in the respective fields of each team member on the project.
Our projects will typically start, quite literally, on the drawing board. This can be a conversation with a client, notes over the scope of work, or even a flowchart that describes every step of the project and the goals it wants to accomplish. Adapting to this environment means getting to know the Client and their needs, scoping out the work involved in a way that makes sense to them and communicating those ideas to the design team.
Once we’ve hammered out the scope of work, the next step is to adapt to a design environment. Depending on the project, this could involve graphic design artists who swear by native iOS and Android design guidelines, or game illustrators and animators who take a more fluid approach to artwork and user experience. Being able to juggle these approaches to design requires constant communication between teams and this can be facilitated through the use of project management software, which serves as a forum for posting updates on progress or voicing concerns.
The next step in the project is to begin development. This can often be the longest part of the process, and introduces a new team of specialists, the programmers. While most people will recognize programmers as the ones responsible for coding the software, Hitcents recognizes that different programmers will take different approaches to a project. An app developer will generally specialize in either iOS or Android and feel comfortable employing the techniques necessary to create a native app for each platform. A game programmer will generally create components to a project, which include the different features of a game, then put them together to create an experience for the user. A good Project Manager must be able to effectively communicate with both ways of thinking and switch between the abstract approach to game development and the structured environment of app programming.
Once the majority of programming is done, the project moves into the QA testing phase. This part of the process could involve every member of the team. The project could need new graphics made, new animations created, additional programming to fix bugs, or even new features that improve the experience if it’s a game. This step requires adapting your thinking to a more critical approach, going through every part of the project with a fine toothed comb and facilitating communication between everyone involved in the project. Hitcents prides itself on delivering polished products and sees this as the most important step to take prior to launching a product for a Client or for ourselves.
While most of our projects will only require parts of each team, some projects could be a company-wide endeavor. A great example of this is the culturalization process behind Draw a Stickman: EPIC.
Hitcents employed the talents of its entire app development team to create new artwork, modify animations, write new code and implement complex Chinese SDKs to make the product function in China. New artwork and animations required the creative team behind game design. New features required our game developers to create the new components. The Chinese SDKs to make payments and sharing work in China required the knowhow of our Android app developers. The launch of our companion Chinese website also required the hard work of website graphic designers and our website development team. Finally, the rigorous QA testing for the game’s culturalization spanned two continents and required the work of our domestic and Chinese-based development staff.
This was all made possible through managers who can adapt to different environments and teams who use constant communication to deliver award-wining results.