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In addition to having a great idea, the next most critical thing you can do to make sure your produce a great game is to build a team that can bring that idea to life. This doesn't just mean that hiring a group of talented people, throwing them together, and expecting miracles. The structure you define for your team and the working environment you create will determine their ability to succeed.
Talent is always a key ingredient to team building, and of course, you want the most talented individuals you can find. Microsoft is an example of a company with a corporate philosophy of hiring the smartest, most talented individuals available. But talent only goes so far. Finding the right mix of talent and personality is even more crucial. Some people are brilliant at what they do individually, but, when put on a team, they are unable to interact productively with their teammates and cause more trouble than their contribution is worth.
When assembling your team, you have to look at each person as an individual, and as a potential team member. Examine their track record and make sure to talk with people who have worked with them before. Ask about both their individual performance and how they interact in a team.
Here are some qualities you might look for when bringing on new team members:
Attitude: Positive people with an optimistic outlook are by far the best teammates.
Experience: Unless you are hiring for a low- level position, make sure the person has the right experience for the job. Game production is a pressure cooker environment, and the worst thing you can do is put someone who's unprepared on your team. It will be bad for you and worse for them.
Friends: Though conventional wisdom tells us not to mix business with pleasure, there's no substitute for bringing onboard people that you know and trust. If your friend is the best person for the job, then by all means get them on the team. Conversely, don't hire a friend if they are not the best person for the job-this can cause incredible stress on the team and in your relationship.
References: You can't always hire someone you know, so when checking references make certain to talk to former employers. Friends, coworkers, and relatives will always say nice things, but employers will often be more honest. Insist on these reference checks, and try to make it a phone call, rather than taking a written recommendation.
Diversity: Seek out diversity. Combining people with different backgrounds and skills on your team can create a rich and creative environment.
Track Record: Look for people with a history of success. Small personal successes can count as much as large corporate ones. Try to bring on people who have set goals for themselves and achieved those goals.
Maturity: There's no substitute for someone who is mature and well-balanced. You want stable people who are in control of their emotions.
Excellence: People who strive for excellence are worth their weight in gold. Look at their history. Did they do well in school? Have they proven that they can deliver under pressure? What is their approach to problem solving?
Creativity: Bring onboard people who think creatively. Do they ask good questions? Are they curious about the business? What ideas do they have?
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