Game Project Management and Business Context
Every game project, right from the massive multiplayer game's development having a budget of more than $6 million to small but interesting games (like candy crush), needs to be have a proper business plan.
In case, if you don't have a plan to make profits out of the game or if your game project is not linked to any business venture, there still lies a fine line for identifying - why you are developing the game and what are the goals set for the game's future, your planning. So it can be said that by all means, business side is also important.
The Project Management Triangle
Project Management triangle is a helpful tool to analyze the aim and plan of any game project where the 3 vertices of the triangle stands for:
To get a good business plan in shape you will have to follow some project management procedures to define the requirements of the project along with various other aspects.
Project Management Triangle is one such model, which allows Project Managers to forecast how the project development steps will fair in terms of quality, based on budget, time and scope factors.
It helps the project managers to understand the difficulties that may arise during the game project development beforehand during the planning phase, and hence makes the project management better.
There is a business law in software development and/or game development industry which states that your project can achieve any 2 out of the 3 goals for a project, but there is no way to achieve all the three of them together.
There are some project developers who fail to understand the fact that only two out of the three project triangle properties can be possible at a time, which results in projects missing out on all 3 of these goals! So, we have to keep in mind the fact that we must work towards making our game better in any two of the specified triangle properties and take the third one to a moderately good level.
The 3 Constraints
Every project has a cost attached to it, and its important that the project is completed within the set budget. Some times due to poor project management in the initial development phase, it becomes difficult to finish the project on time. In such cases, extra resources(more developers) are hired to work on the project, which adds to the project cost/budget.
When we work on a project, time plays a very crucial role as deadlines must be met. If project completion is delayed, it directly affects(increases) the budget of the project.
Scope of any project is pre-decided in the requirements and planning phase. The project team know about the deliverables of the project before the development phase starts and must finish them within the set deadline. On the other hand, Project Managers must have the capability to handle any change in the requirements/scope which affects time and cost.
Quality is not one of the three constraints of the project management triangle but it is the ultimate goal. Afterall, every team desires to produce best quality product. Some confuses, quality with cost, stating that, only high cost can lead to high quality product. Which is true to some extent, as without good resources, the overall project can never be successful.
Using Project Triangle
The three sides of the project triangle are represented by one of the three constraints. It has been found by conducting studies and experiments on live projects that it is very rare that a project abides by all the 3 constraints, which means, the project is finished on time, within a set budget and all the deliverables of the project are completed.
In real life, if a project development initiative, assures of achieving deadlines in terms of time and cost, then it will miss out on the scope of the project. Similarly, if a project has to be completed within a set budget with complete scope then it will take more time than decided. And lastly, if you believe in the saying "Time is Money" and wish to finish the development before the time deadline with complete scope, then you will have to put in more resources, which will affect the cost.
A developer may follow one of the many different application development strategies on the market like Waterfall, Spiral Model, Iterative etc. But none of the listed development techniques and models will magically solve all the problems. You will sooner or later during the project development phase, face the question of how to efficiently manage your project with respect to the business model and the three constraints. The possible outcomes while following the Project Triangle can be:
- On Budget and On Time: means you must accept sacrifice of quality
- High Quality and On Budget: means you must accept a late game
- High Quality and On Time: means you must accept extra spending