I am a prime believer in taking lessons from related disciplines. Speakers at this week’s GDC China can help us avoid reinventing the wheel when it comes to outsourcing game writers. Epic’s Paul Meegan and Midway’s Kristine Coco both spoke on outsourcing game development. While not everything immediately applied to writing, several pointers stood out.
1. Keep a tight, focused internal team focused on creating value. This team should have the skills best suited for the project, not just the company.
2. Outsource content production.
3. Establish personal relationships between your outsourcing partners and your inhouse team. Otherwise, outsourcing is a “relationship built on lies” (which wins best game line of the week in my book).
4. Consider developing relationships with multiple outsourcing partners as backup.
5. Plan out the project far in advance. It’s not wise to hire outsourcers and expect the pipeline to be in place a week later.
6. Give your outsourcers clear requirements (read: communicate!) . Lots of detail at first means fewer problems down the road.
7. Give feedback and perform reviews early and often. This tip should be top of the list. Feedback includes not only pointing out issues, but areas that are working well.
It’s nice to see that many of these tips this blog has brought up before. Even the best laid plans, however, sometimes need a tweak now and then. Do you have any horror stories where outsourcing didn’t go quite as well as planned?