Week 1 — A first reflection.

2020-09-24

Myself and the cohort had a chance to meet one another and get a glimpse into each others’ backgrounds. What struck us is the breadth and depth of skills the other students have. Some of us felt inferior and unprepared, or perhaps not worthy of being here.

I think I’m at risk of feeling overwhelmed, and wanting to go out and learn something about every facet of delivering a video game, e.g. 3D modelling, rigging, C++, so as to become a better generalist. Generalists seem to fare well in upper echelon management:

We find that 'strategic' CFOs with an elite MBA (generalist) consistently command a compensation premium, while 'accounting' CFOs (specialist) and CFOs with a non- MBA master's degree, even from an elite institution, do not.

(Datta and Iskandar-Datta 2014)

I also have first-hand anecdotal evidence of this as a full-stack web developer polyglot, which interviewers and agents alike have called “rare”. They have liked that I have seen many different systems and used many different tools, which greatly aids in my pattern matching capability.

Likewise, I also know that there’s value in teams. “Indie” in “indie game development” stands for “independent”, after all, not “individual”. During this course we will learn about the business side of running an indie dev shop, and “Project managers do not need to be experts in what they are managing” (Newton 2009).

Team-work trumps me-work

So, it seems generalists do quite well. I will stop panicking, keep focusing on my core competencies, and:

  • learn more about building a great team with complementary skills
  • focus on building a great network of future collaborators

Bibliography

  1. DATTA, Sudip and Mai ISKANDAR-DATTA. 2014. “Upper-Echelon Executive Human Capital and Compensation: Generalist vs Specialist Skills: Upper-Echelon Executive Credentials and Compensation.” Strategic Management Journal 35(12), [online], 1853–66. Available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/smj.2267 [accessed 14 Nov 2020].
  2. NEWTON, Richard. 2009. The Project Manager: Mastering the Art of Delivery. 2nd ed. Harlow, England ; New York: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 1 of the module development practice.

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