Gauthier Leblanc

Project Management Hub - Retrospective

During my last year of study from November 12 2019 to May 30 2020 , I had the opportunity to manage the 2 end of study projects. This allowed me to have a « real » status as a producer, timekeeper and project facilitator. Create schedules for different teams, adapt to several groups and respect the milestones and the content that the client wanted.

It also allowed me to have a great experience in teleworking because the production part of the projects had to be carried out remotely for each of us because of the covid-19. It was a huge challenge.

What I Did:

  • Project Management
  • Daily meeting
  • Milestonnes / Builds reviews
  • Creation of backlogs and sprints
  • Organise meetings with the client
  • Adapt to changes in customer schedules and milestones

  • Manage my plan to be available for both teams
  • Work on telework

Projects:

For this last year of study, there will be 2 projects that will be presented to a professional jury.
These 2 projects are very different from each other.
The first « The High-Rise Showdown » is an FPS in a futuristic world where speed, timing and frenzy are waiting for you. The project is made up of 12 members.
The second « Villac la cité du mensonge » is a first-person investigation game where observation and deduction are required and to make the project more catching the motion capture will be there for dialogue. The project is made up of 12 members too.

Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the projects took on a whole new dimension and had to be teleworked, a first for us. The Discord application served us enormously for textual and oral communication, the fact of being able to show its screen to all the people in the voice room allowed a good understanding of the work  but also of the meetings.

Pre-production:

Once the projects started, I was able to start on my side to prepare the tools with which we were going to use. To do this, I use:

                                                                       Post-it                     Click Up                         Discord                 Google Sheets

  • The post-its allowed us to create the backlog of the project, we took 2 days per project to create it. Using post-its is for me a quick and easy way to create a backlog, rather than doing everything on the computer directly.

    The creation of the backlog was done this way:
    We took a feature (in orange) and the required « departments » of development (in green) and the tasks under each department (in pink for the Game Design category and yellow for the category Game Artist) with the estimated time to complete the task.
    That for all the features of the project

  • The Click Up application allowed me to put the backlog on a computer touse it to define sprints, calculate the number of hours per person and per task, the critical paths between tasks with a gantt chart and to have a view of on the planning of the project.
  • Google sheets allowed me to create a readable and adjustable document for the establishment of milestones.
    I also used it to create a timeline to put all the necessary information therein: working days, lesson day, holidays, special days, etc.
  • The creation of team discord channels allows rapid and clear communication, on a tool that all the people in the teams use and therefore on which they are comfortable.

 

Sprint preparation:

The sprints goals are created by the leads of the projects who have a professional view on the elements to achieve, and me, who ensure that the milestones are respected and that the project is on time.

To create the sprints, we looked at the milestones to be delivered and we use the backlog created previously. Thanks to this we knew what to deliver and when. Once the sprint was set up and thanks to the time estimates, we knew if the sprint was going to be achievable on time or if we saw too big or revise our ambitions upwards.

To prepare the sprints as well as possible, we made sure that we had about 20% of “buffer” time remaining for each person in order to deal with possible delays and bad time estimates.

Once the objectives of the sprints have been established, we can set up the schedules and prepare the gantts by sprint.

Sprint progress:

Because of the remote work, we first established rules for teleworking, in particular, the schedules during which to be present for the meetings or questions which could block the progress of the project.

Every morning, we had a daily meeting, at a fixed time. During these meetings, each person of the team, in turn, returned to the tasks that they had performed the day before, if they had had problems carrying them out, then the person explained what they had to do and the potential problems she might encounter.

Once the daily meetings are done. If certain problems had not been resolved during this meeting, we would group the people concerned to find a solution together.

Once the potential problems were resolved, I updated the Click Up management tool to have a vision of the progress of the project in real-time and to know if we were on schedule.

Each Friday a package is sent to the customer to show him the progress made during the week. This package contains the build of the game but also elements which are not yet integrated into the build, such as models, elements of GD, etc.

End of the sprint:

At the end of the sprint, a build review is organized with the team members to validate that everything that had to be done for it is in the build. This allow you to set up the next sprint, if people have fallen behind with what had been planned or if they have gone ahead we adapt the next schedule. Once the leads and I agree on the schedule, it is updated for the people on the team and the next sprint is ready to start.

And finally, after the build review, a review is organized with the client so that they can ensure that what is delivered is what should have been.

What I learned:

  • Work on several projects
  • Manage human problems
  • Improve my skills as a meeting leader
  •  Implementation of a pre-production
  • Set up review builds and review milestones
  • Adapt projects according to problems not related to the project (telework)