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Notice the phrase “all contribute to design” on the team structure diagram in Figure 12.1 on page 319. This does not mean that everyone will literally participate in the design process, but it does mean that in a well-run project, each and every member of the team is able to contribute their special talents to the articulation and execution of the design at whatever level they may be involved.
In some cases, this may just mean that every suggestion is always received with respect and consideration. In other cases, it may mean that the designer actively solicits input from the team when making decisions about the design. Every designer and every team will have their own process. But the end result should be that everyone who works on the game should have a sense of authorship the final product, and be able to say with pride about some aspect of the experience, “I worked on that.”
As the designer, and also as a producer, fostering this sense of authorship is a vital part of the job. You should take the time to establish good channels of communication with each of the team members we’ve discussed in this chapter and to structure your interaction with the team so that everyone’s input is heard. There’s no single way to orchestrate something like this, but there are some tips we can give you that will help.
Set up weekly “leads meetings,” where the heads of each group gather to discuss the current status of project.
Start a suggestion box—old fashioned but it works.
Take time for one-on-one creative talks with key members of the team.
Have open brainstorming sessions during the design phase for anyone who wants to attend—this includes everyone from the production assistants to the QA team. Shutting people out of the design process fosters cliquishness and might deprive you of hearing some great ideas.
If you get stuck on a design issue, ask your coworkers to help solve it. Make the process fun, like a puzzle or a challenge.
Ask members of your group if they have hobbies, talents or knowledge that may aid in the production.
Share authorship. When you speak, make sure to use “we” not “I.” This is a subtle but effective way to let everyone share in the ownership of the ideas.
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