Quo Vadis (German Game Days)

27 April 2009

I’m just back from Berlin, where I had a fast, but most enjoyable visit. Although officially I was there to participate in a panel about the future of game design, I managed to sneak in a little IGDA business by having a good conversation with Frank Sliwka, the director of GDC Europe, which will be held in Cologne in August. We spoke about different ways that the IGDA and GDC-E might cooperate, so stay tuned for an announcement in the coming weeks.

–Bob Bates


Quality of Life and How the Board is Changing

21 April 2009

Hi all,

First, the positive stuff:

• The board absolutely stands behind the conclusions of our QoL white paper. Please see our formal statement on the IGDA home page. More specifically:
o We believe, and it has been well documented, that extensive overtime is not only ineffective from the point of view of productivity, but moreover is destructive of employee morale.
o We believe that companies have an obligation to inform prospective employees of their overtime policies prior to their employment.
o We believe it is unethical for studios to routinely rely on extended, uncompensated overtime in order to get their products out the door.
• We are *very* happy to see the QoL committee transform into a SIG.
• We believe that the upcoming studio and member surveys will help keep these issues on the front burner, where they should be.

Now the more personal, hard-to-deal with stuff:

** Since Jason announced his resignation in January, the demands on Board members have increased significantly. In most weeks, I have spent more time on IGDA matters than on my real job. (And just for the record, as an independent contractor who is compensated by the hour, that hurts). And to be clear, I am not the only board member working this hard – we have an unbelievably dedicated group of people who are putting in long volunteer hours on a broad range of activities that we hope will help the org members.

** As you might imagine, it’s difficult for a single board member to claim to speak for an organization of 16,000 members with widely disparate opinions. I have always felt that my job on the board was to try to get things done, rather than to “speak out.” With Jason’s departure, it has taken me a while to recognize that speaking out is part of “getting things done” and it is now one of my duties. I have to say that I’m uncomfortable with it, but I now know it’s part of the territory, and you’ll be hearing from me more often.

** When our new board was elected in March, I asked them to change the way we do business. Historically, board members have divided our attention among many of the issues that the org deals with. I believe this diffusion of effort on the part of volunteers whose time is limited has not been very effective. Starting in March, I asked each board member to pick a “major” and a “minor.” I am happy that they have done so, and you should be hearing the results of their efforts in the Board Blog that we have just started. The IGDA is a big organization, and it’s hard to keep everyone informed about what’s going on. We hope the blog will help.

Here are the board members and what they are working on.:

• Gordon Bellamy:
o Events
o Finance
• Mark DeLoura :
o Chapters
o Magazine/newsletter
• Jamil Moledina:
o Increasing member benefits.
o Policy and Advocacy
• Tim Train:
o Awards
• Jen MacLean:
o Short term ED Transition (Major), Policy & Advocacy (Minor).
o Long term: P&A (Major), International (minor)
• Tobi Saulnier:
o Short-term: ED Search Task Force
o Long-term Finance
• Tim Langdell:
o Short-term: Web Portal
o Long-term: International (Major), P&A (Minor)
• Tom Buscaglia:
o Foundation.
o QoL. (Double Major)
• Brenda Brathwaite:
o Marketing/Communications (Major).
o Ensuring all SIGs have active leadership (Minor)
• Coray Seifert:
o Programs & Membership (Major).
o Secretary Duties (Minor)
• Jason Della Rocca:
o Transition issues.
• Bob Bates:
o Enabling everyone else.

** I’m generally a positive guy, but I am not blind to the faults of the IGDA. I don’t believe in “circling the wagons” when problems arise, but rather in working with our volunteers to figure out how best to solve them. Often, this takes time. Sometimes, the problems simply don’t get solved. That is frustrating, but in a volunteer organization, that is the reality. How does one stay positive in the face of such failures? By working to fix them, and by realizing they don’t nullify the successes we have in other areas.

** Finally, my thanks go out to everyone who posts on our forums. I’m not always wild about the comments, but if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t complain. Many of the most vocal people are also those who work the hardest, and I think it’s great that we have so many people who have chosen to try to make industry a better place for all of us.


Update on Executive Director Search

14 April 2009

A quick update on the ED Search. We have completed and are distributing a final job description for the Executive Director position (location on IGDA web pages) and are proceeding into preliminary candidate evaluations. We are happy to have Marta Daglow of Daglow Consulting, an HR Services Consulting form that is donating pro bono services, assisting us with this process.

In order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, Don Daglow has volunteered to step off the ED Task Force. We thank Don for his contributions to the early work of the task force!

As always we welcome ideas, suggestions, and questions directed to search@igda.org. We want to sincerely thank all who have contributed to date, as well as those who have offered to assist in identifying promising candidates for our next Executive Director!

(posted by Tobi Saulnier)


The Search for a New Executive Director

4 April 2009

The search for the new Executive Director of the IGDA is on.

The members of the search committee are Tobi Saulnier (Chair), Mitzi McGilvray, Chuck Sapp, Don Daglow, and Gordon Walton. Our rationale in these choices were to select two Board Members (although Mitzi’s term has just expired, she is a past Chair and past Chair of our Governance committee); one member from our Association Management Company, Talley Management Group (that’s Chuck), to provide perspective from an Association Industry point of view; and two respected members of the Game Development Community, Don & Gordon, who have through the years a high regard for the IGDA and its values, and who have a perspective on how the IGDA may be falling short of its goals and what kind of person may help us remedy that.

We will be posting the status of the search regularly, although naming names is not possible because some of the candidates may not wish their candidacy to be known (especially to their current employers!). The ED position is NOT restricted to Board Members, or even to current IGDA members. Anyone can apply. As to how to do that, the search committee will be making that information (along with a job description, etc.) available soon.


What’s Happening?

2 April 2009

Some folks might like to know what’s going on with the Board…well here’s a partial list:

Replacing the Executive Director

Increasing membership, both individual and studio affiliate

Managing the financial well being of the IGDA

Launching the new web tech

Continuing and expanding our stand alone conferences

Implementing a marketing and communication plan

Launching the IGDA Magazine

QOL Surveys (both Studio and individual)

Managing our relationships with other conferences

Chapter formalization

SIG formalization

The moving forward with the IGDA Foundation

Finding sponsorship funds to do all this stuff…

I am sure that this list is incomplete…that’s just off the top of my head.

Tom Buscaglia