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Develop Day 2: Culture

July 14, 2010

Today at Develop we had a couple of interesting speeches  one from Bioware – and international developer with a good reputation for good games and the sales to match.  They are an international company with several locations talking from the point of view of a large developer that is in turn part of a larger also international publisher (EA).  Following that we had the minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey talking the talk on a very national issue – tax breaks.

Bioware talked culture.  Not minister for culture, but company culture – a culture that is not a national issue; Bioware did a great talk on what culture within a developer, within a studio and even within a team was – how they got it and how they kept it.  It was a good talk mixing the practical with the ideas stuff.  Practical; they give developers a choice of projects they wish to work on.  Ideas stuff; this is a no-brainer that means that the people most passionate about a project within the company get to work on that project.  Bioware suggest that developers set goal (where you want to be) and values (how you want to be) then these inform the people you hire, the structures you set in place and the policies that you have.  Together this is the company culture.  It’s important to keep making decisions that renforce the culture and not take away from it.  All sound advice.

Seeing Ed Vaizey live is seeing a slice of political theatre – not that he particularly is, it’s just that’s the grouping he comes from; politicians.  He talked a positive talk, made his policy announcements and had one eye on the audience (us developers in the room) and one eye on the wider audiences not in the room (the public, his colleagues, the press).  His message seemed to be – ‘you’re not going to get tax breaks, but I will offer you something; changes to the rules on R&D tax-back (so you can claim it for work that is not your IP), a £5m Abertay prototyping project and a few other bits’.

So that was the main bits of my day 2 – creating culture and a minister for culture.  A reminder that we are speaking tomorrow at 4pm in the Den.  Hope to see you there!

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