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I am a software developer who makes games. I really am at my wit's end with the game because of the chaotic workflow. The workflow is getting in the way of me getting anything done properly.

Basically, whenever I think I am getting close to being finished a task I either find a bug in the customer's server or someone gives me new art for the game (which takes time and effort to put into the game) and I need to stop where I am at and integrate their needs. Then I have to go back and start where I left off which takes time.

We can't give the customer an estimate because they keep giving us faulty servers!

I can't seem to get anywhere with this and it's driving me insane.

Another thing to add: before I went on mat leave I left the game partly finished. No one worked on it while I was away. I came back and planned to take 2 weeks off for Xmas (which is coming up). So I would only be back to work for 8 weeks until XMas break. I wanted to get the game finished but now it looks like I won't be able to before I go on vacation and the project manager is annoyed. They don't have a right to be when they didn't give me a hard deadline in the first place. The project manager is only adding to the chaos by adding more feedback into the game. The feedback he is giving should have been done MONTHS ago.

How would you handle this kind of thing? The project manager and the client in particular. The artists just do what they are told.

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    This reads like a rant. What is your question? How to handle your manager? The clients? The art people? Your own sanity? – rath Nov 28 '14 at 23:48
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You do whatever you can, and accept the fact that you can't do more. Otherwise, you'll go nuts.

  1. You have to give your management realistic expectations. If, in your estimate, the deadline is busted, then let the PM know ASAP. If the deadline is salvageable on the condition that more resources are brought to bear, then you have to let the PM know that.

  2. You need better support from the customer. And someone in your company needs to step up and tell the customer about the faulty servers the customer is making available.

  3. You need better support from the PM. The feedback from the game has just arrived when it should have arrived months ago. You need to assimilate this feedback and work out a response plan based on the priorities accorded to various parts of the feedback. It is quite possible that you won't be able to address all parts of the feedback before the deadline. You and the PM will have to agree on which parts of the feedback you must address before the deadline.

You management is annoyed because they don't understand yet that the deliverables is not what they promised without bothering to check with you but what you can deliver with the time and resources available to you. And speaking of available resources, your management should have smoothed the issue of the faulty servers from Day One.

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What you need is to demonstrate to the producer/project manager that the chaotic lack of a defined workflow is a problem.

You need to produce a (lightweight) plan. You need to document the proportion of your time that is being sucked off into other things, or into dealing with a faulty environment.

And read Tom DeMarco "PeopleWare" and show your boss the relevant sections on how costly "loss of flow" is in a developer.

Oh, and you need to build a tool for adding art assets into a game. Doing it by hand sounds like it's sucking up far too much of your time.

And I recommend Mark Forster's "Do It Tomorrow" technique as a time management method designed to keep your wits from fraying.

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