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I currently have engaged myself on a not-yet-serious-enough game project owned by my partner. Although it is not going as strongly as I wish, I myself am a trained dev, did my years at school and went through several jobs in the software industry before attempting this switch.

My partner however is, to put it in blunt words, very young. We started working together because he wants to learn 3D modelling on Blender and I can program. He has no higher education or real life work experience, is very unstructured, lacks basic work principles (doesn't take notes, pays little attention to paperwork, focuses on what's in his mind right then and there, doesn't have very regular hours, not that I can claim to be better for that last part).

He's been making regular progress on all these points, but the road is still long in terms of professionalism. I have slowly shifted from a "partnership" behaviour to a more "managerial" behaviour with him, which he has responded to well. He doesn't seem to mind me being more authoritative and I take decisions less and less collegially and he generally agrees minus a few questions/rare and pertinent criticism. We're an ocean away, so teaching him a professional attitude is not something I feel I can do, but I can content myself for now to nudge him slowly to better practices.

However, I now want him to be trained the classic way, I.E with a book or full course tutorial. There are multiple reasons for this:

  1. Lack of vision for both of us on his actual competence (I do not know Blender)
  2. Difficulties he keeps coming across and seems to try to solve only through Google
  3. General lack of depth, he puts in effort but stops when the point of it seems to be outside his current scope of knowledge(models are ok, animations, UV maps, complex materials are not)
  4. Overdoing things the hard way when he doesn't know something, instead of searching for the best way(he once did a Blender 3D animation by animating every frame manually, and I'm pretty confident that isn't the right way at all)

I believe that rather than his youth or lack of professionalism, the biggest problem is a dim understanding of the workload and the best ways to achieve it. He's entirely the type to learn by himself, but at this point, I want him to get in front of a formal training, and test himself to see how much he has to learn/how much he can do things better/easier.

I intend to buy him a book (Blender 3D by Example, unless better advised) and assign to him a ticket with a deadline and the goal to read the book and report/comment on everything he's learned/not needed to learn and write his progress, chapter by chapter. I want him to skim and quickly report on parts he didn't learn anything from and read thoroughly and take complete notes of every part he has difficulties with.

I would normally just discuss this with him, but I feel like a sense of authority/requirement from me will work better than presenting it as an option.

  • Is my idea of buying him a book/course and telling him to read through it and report on it any good?
  • Am I stepping out of line if I say that reading the book and reporting on it is something I'll regard as mandatory?
  • Should I not enforce education on him and discuss things with him, or be authoritarian on this? He generally responds better to stronger input, but I feel like I'm forcing him to do something I myself wouldn't like to do.
  • My (dev) experience says a book is the correct way, but I do not know modelling work at all, am I out of line to impose my worldview/domain applicable ideas on someone from a very different field?
  • Should I look for something more graphical I.E a tutorial course(for intermediary levels, I'm pretty sure he can handle beginner stuff)?

Any suggestions welcome.

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    The most important question you should ask yourself is why you partner up with somebody for such a project without checking if they will be able to do the tasks in demand and fit the needs?
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:10
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    Old saying: 'If you pay peanuts you get monkeys' If your project would be appealing enough I'm sure there would be some competent, on the side freelancers who are willing to commit a couple of hours for free..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:12
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    I'm just pointing out that you should maybe overlook your strategies on how to start-up a such a project in general (planning phase, business-plan, market analysis, talent-aquisition etc.) rather than trying to pinpoint the lack of experience of your junior partner..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:15
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    lets agree that we have different opinions about what are considered inapplicable standards ;)
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:22
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    @Mahboi Well, maybe ILuv is a bit blunt, but I think they have a point in that you should consider whether your situation, possibilities and desired outcomes are compatible with each other. If there is a mismatch, you need to decide which one has to give. Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:42

1 Answer 1

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I would normally just discuss this with him

Obviously, you should discuss it with him first.

Perhaps he doesn't share your desire for him to "be trained the classic way". If he does, there is no problem - you can agree on an approach that suits both of you. If he doesn't then you need to determine what happens with the "partnership" going forward.

You partnered with someone who you knew (or should have known) "has no higher education or real life work experience, is very unstructured, lacks basic work principles". Apparently what he wanted out of the deal was "to learn 3D modelling on Blender". Apparently you wanted to be part of a project.

Now you have decided you want him to change. That change simply isn't going to happen without his agreement.

This is part of the problem with a partnership arrangement, rather than an employer/employee arrangement. And this is part of the problem with a "not-yet-serious-enough" project rather than a real job. You can discuss it and ask, but you can't actually mandate/enforce anything. After all, it isn't even your project!

The only person who can determine the best way for your partner to learn is your partner. Some folks learn well from books. Others learn well from videos. Others need hands-on, in-person mentoring. If you don't discuss it together, you won't get anywhere.

Hopefully you both signed a formal partnership agreement. Otherwise, you risk not having any ownership of your work products, should either of you decide this isn't working out as hoped.

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  • To be more exact, it's his project and I'm the one helping, or at least it was originally. But I am also learning/transitioning, so professionalisation/skill garnering is ongoing. And yes, if he doesn't agree the partnership isn't going to last, and I'm okay with that. I just want to know what is the best way to push him forward. I'm searching for the best/most efficient way to do that, and if I can't, I'll stop.
    – Mahboi
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 17:18

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