Aftermath Project – Post Mortem

Project Management & Teamwork

As project manager I was in charge of the documentation for the aftermath project. At first as a team we seemed to get off to a good start, and had a pretty good grasp on the project as a whole. However this only lasted for a week as deadlines were a lot quicker than we were all expecting. A fellow animator on the team had gone ahead and created the Project Plan and Art Bible quite a bit ahead of time before it was due, which at first was an immense help. I had a real quick scroll through to make sure there was something for every category and then trusted my team mate. This however was a mistake on my part, and I should have read the content, as a night or two before the documentation was due I had a good read through the Project Plan and quickly realised that a lot of it made no sense. For example our largest in scope thing listed was foliage, however we were making a broken down cathedral and hadn’t really planned for plants. Another good example was that the biggest out of scope claim was major client requests. In reality these two examples should have been switched as foliage was out of scope and client requests are the biggest thing we need, as following feedback from facilitators and clients are essential. This was not only my teammates fault for misunderstanding the content, but also mine as I did not thoroughly check it the first time around. It ended up with me staying up for a few nights hammering out a new project proposal and art bible, and also was the start of team arguments. Due to the rush of the project proposal I also didn’t make a fleshed out asset list/task allocation list, which created confusion throughout the project as there were times team members did not know what to do.

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The project continued on with the passive-aggressiveness and miscommunication until we hit our next hole in the road. This hole was a mix of a few different aspects including: incompetence, miscommunication and animosity. At this point we were past our first grey-box and not making any progress at all. This stemmed from large communication issues and unnecessary stress. At around this time we had one team member go ahead and create another grey-box, meaning we had two different grey-box’s. The problem was that the new grey box had a terrible scaling issue and whenever it was imported into the unreal version, it had to be re scaled. These problems weren’t being discussed however and this resulted in a large argument as nothing was progressing and we were getting further and further behind. Thanks to the facilitators intervention and help we were able to get past this scaling issue and briefly over the communication problems.

As I analyze it now, I realise almost all of these issues could have been resolved if we had more communication and discussed rather that argued. By having a better vibe to the team and discussing instead of hating we probably would have been able to get through the project a lot easier, and it is probably the biggest thing I will take out of this project and try to improve on for others.

Plans & Pitches

Team Squanch was hit and miss with plans and pitches, as we often presented good pitches, followed by terrible plans. This was again due to the fact that I hadn’t made a task allocation list, and therefore there was a large part of our whole project that wasn’t planned. When it came to the first few pitches (before we went down hill) we did them with confidence and quite a bit of organisation, having something semi decent to show the first few times. All though much like the previous problem, we had miscommunication and the problems prior snowballed into all other aspects. At first we had big ambitions and big plans, wanting to create this huge cathedral with a big wow factor to it. The execution in the end was nothing like I had originally imagined and was pretty much a huge disappointment. Along with this the Project Plan I had created wasn’t actually useful and was more of a “I need to get this checked off because it’s due” rather than something we could all refer back to and use throughout the project.

Creative Work & Processes Used

Much like the rest of this project, the creative work was also fairly disappointing. We only had a few people produce good assets, and some people didn’t produce any assets that were used in the final aftermath deliverable. This wasn’t as big of an issue, as I was never worried about peoples skill but more so peoples effort and attitude. However the creative work we did use was relatively okay. There were pretty stand out assets that were done well, and overall a consistent modelling style in the walls and ceilings was maintained. However when it came to less modular architecture such as the stairs, they didn’t really meet the art style that we were going for. The textures were all created using Quixel Suite, with a lot of them being a simple smart material, which gave us great ease of use when applying it to other modular assets with the same texture. There were a lot of creative piece that everyone wanted added but animators never got around to such as vertex painted blood and a larger array of dust particles and effects.

In Conclusion & Overall Thoughts

Overall I was fairly disappointed in the project as a whole. This is a mix of reasons, one being because I had such high hopes when we started the project, and I truly wanted to make something amazing, yet we ended up with something that was embarrassing too show others. The teamwork started out alright but very quickly derailed and it was very obvious we had the worst communication and team engagement out of everyone. With constant arguments and people doing very little work, resulted in nothing worthy of mention being created. As a whole this project has just given me an insight into how not to work as a team, and hopefully I can use this shitty experience as more of a learning experience than a bad one.

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