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Analysing project management literature in the game industry

While literature is abundant regarding project management, there seems to be limited research on whether this literature is useful in the game industry. For this research, we focused on 2 pieces of literature: The Guide of the Project Management Body Of Knowledge, or PMBOK© Guide (PMI, 2017a) for short, and “A playful production process for game designers (and everyone)”. To gather data on whether these pieces of literature can be considered useful for project management in the game industry, we conducted interviews with project managers and producers in the game industry. During our interviews, we asked questions regarding participants’ accumulation of knowledge regarding project management. Secondly, we let participants come up with their four most important approaches regarding four knowledge areas, which were “Integration Management”, “Time and Scope Management”, “Communications Management”, and “Risk Management”. When a participant came up with 16 approaches, they performed a Q-Sort with them, sorting them on importance regarding a scenario of their choice. At last, we presented a list of approaches by Besner and Hobbs (2006) and asked if any of them were important. The interview results reveal that the PMBOK© Guide and “A playful production process” lack almost half of the approaches brought up by participants. Additionally, almost half of the approaches from the list of approaches by Besner and Hobbs were mentioned to be important. Considering these results, we conclude that both pieces of literature, while providing some important approaches, lack approaches that were mentioned to be important in the game industry according to our participants. Furthermore, we noticed that most approaches were mentioned only once. Additionally, we noticed that experience seems to be more useful to starting producers and project managers than literature. Literature seems to have more value in enhancing project management skills, rather than building these skills from literature. Lastly, an unexpected outcome of this research suggests that using an exploratory Q-Sort reveals what someone in project management finds important, alongside showing someone’s view on project management. Some participants mentioned that looking at their Q-Sort was insightful and let them rethink what they find important in project management.

If you want to know more about this research, you can take a look at my thesis(


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