I have been placed as the lead on our upcoming project, what does that mean? I’ve been a project lead before, and I’ve been overstretched because I did not know what the role meant. I don’t really want this to happen again. So, how do I keep myself from becoming overwhelmed on this project and others? If I can figure out how to do this, I will be much better prepared for continuing with my degree and my career as a developer.
So, from brief research it appears that what a lead does is to make sure that the pieces being designed by the rest of the team is good and fitting to the overall design, giving pointers and tips or even scrapping things when necessary (hopefully not). It also appears as though they do design of their own as well. But their whole job is not entirely design, it is instead split between design and management. This is according to Gamedesigning.org, but I have no idea if this site uses the same terminology that I am used to and if it was written to try and divide between those who actually want to design games and those who just like games. However, this description of a project lead is what I thought a project manager would do (which might explain why I am terrible at separating those roles). From what I understand, a project manager keeps tabs on other members progress and keeps the project going forward and finishing on time. So, from this confusion, I’m going to try and find the separation between the two by looking at an analogy given by my lecturer Adrian Forest. He said that the difference between a project manager and a project lead is like the two people in a rally car. One person in the rally car is there to drive and keep the pace, they’re there to make the car go and go fast. The other person in the car is there to make sure the car is going the right way, and to make sure the driver is ready for what’s coming next. Adrian said that in this analogy, the project manager is the driver, and the lead is the navigator. Because a project manager can keep a game going, but it’s not their job to make sure it’s the game that was intended. The project lead is there to make sure that the game that is made is the game that was intended, but they don’t need to worry about how quickly it gets there.
So, from this I think What I need to be doing on this project is making sure that our team is heading the right way and is making the game that our stakeholder wants. To do this, I need to know what they want as best as I can. I need to be ready to ask and answer questions when they come up both from my team and for the stakeholder. I also need to make sure that what my team is doing fits this vision, it’s my job to keep them on the path, but not my job to keep them on track