Ken's Design & Development Notes

Just talking about stuff I've learned…

Invest in Failure

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I’ve heard it said that the only way to become a good writer is to write.   …a lot.

Alien

Blogging is still quite Alien to me…

But I’m having a problem with this; everything I’ve written so far sounds stupid.  I did write my first post, but now I’ve just got a bunch of drafts sitting somewhere in a dark digital room behind my blog.  Hmm…This reminds me of something.

Over the last two days I’ve taught four classes to over a hundred people the basics of our management system at work.  I mean it’s just a real basic overview, the first of several installments, but one of the points made was to celebrate failure.  I told them that we spend too much energy punishing people when they fail instead of trying to help them get better.  Part of our system involves Lean, and a main point of Lean as we see it is to uncover problems and solve them.  So we are happy when we see a mistake or a problem; we’ve really learned to see these things as true opportunities for improvement.

People learn heuristically.  In other words, people learn by doing.  So if we are trying to learn something, if we are trying to become good, even great at that something, then we have to start by doing it.  …and we have to expect that the first few attempts are not going to be pretty, but we’ve got to get through the learning curve.

We are going to fail, and we’re going to make mistakes.  This learning is going to cost time, and will probably cost the company real money.  However, I believe that in the long run, the payback, the return on this investment will prove that this is one of the best places to put our money.  …in the development of people.

I don’t know if these people believed me, they don’t know me and they haven’t seen the successes that I’ve seen as we’ve applied our system in other facilities.  As I was talking with them, speaking for all of management, I could tell that they will be waiting to see if we follow through with what I said.  …and we will, I know.  We’ve done it before; we’re a great team.

Similarly in a much, much smaller company, Justin and I are taking our first steps in the Xbox Live arena.  We recently released our first XBLIG; if you’ve read my first post, you already know this.

Is Andy’s Notepad [Saucers] a success or a failure?  Well that depends on how we define success I suppose.  Tomorrow, our game will have been released for two weeks.  Today, we broke the 2000 mark on downloads.  For only 13 days is this good or bad?  I have no idea.  Our Purchase/Trial Ratio is increasing by a fraction of a percent every day.  I’m pretty sure that’s good, but is this good enough?  I don’t know that either, at least not yet.

What I do know is that we did it.  We took the first step and made something good, something we’re both proud of.

We’re still working to determine the next step for Coneware; maybe we’ll work on the next version of Saucers, or maybe we’ll work on something else.  I do know that as we progress, step by step, development by development, we’ll see incremental improvements in our skills, development methods, and ultimately in our games.  So one day Coneware will be a development studio that produces great games.

If you’re still reading, thanks.  I planning to write, and write, and write, and hopefully one day, I’ll actually be a great writer.

-Ken

Written by kenccone

July 13, 2012 at 5:03 am

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