When we decided to start Wild Games, we didn’t have a name for the studio, but we had a shared dream of where we wanted to take the studio and how we wanted to build our games. There was of course a game we wanted to build, but our primary connection was around how to build games and how to be deliberate about our Wild Culture.
All of us have been making games at different studios for a long time and we have seen things that work, and things that do not work. Our experiences became the foundation of our values as founders, and by that, the studio. To begin with it was not well defined or written down, but that changed on a company trip to Helsinki and the Supercell office where we took the time to write them down.
Writing down our Wild Culture in our Wild Playbook
I had recently read a book by Patrick Lencioni called “The Advantage”, where he presents a template called The Playbook. You can find more information about developing your own playbook online. On a high level it aims to create clarity and alignment by answering six critical questions:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed
- What is important, right now?
- Who must do what?
Starting to write down what your culture is about is a big undertaking, so going with a template helped us focus and speed it up a bit for us. As we started to fill this in, we realized a few things:
- This template covers more than just culture, it is also aligning on our strategy and how to execute on that.
- Most time was spent on question two as that is what really defines our culture in the end.
- Question number six is probably not that important for us with a team of six people at the time. Our roles within our team are already quite well defined, but we might get back to that later.
- These different questions can be asked in isolation, but they become more valuable when they build upon and reinforce each other.
As many people have said, culture is not what you write in documents like these, it is what you do and what you accept. We decided to start by filling in the traits and behaviors we see and like in each other. Behaviors that we believe will give us a healthy and productive company and team. It turned out there are many things we like about each other, so the exercise became about boiling it down to the ones that we believe the most in.
What is in there?
Our Playbook is currently one page long, which makes it short enough to pull out and go through but still give enough room for some nuances. Currently this is what we have for the first 5 questions:
Why do we exist?
We want to make great games in a great way and have fun doing it.
How do we behave?
The team results are more important than your own results, and you are always looking for ways to help your team advance.
You can figure out for yourself what is most important, rather than someone telling you what you need to do. You are always striving for learning and improving and contributing to the advancement of the studio, your team and of course the great games we make.
We are always looking for the best idea, and you are transparently sharing your opinion as well as listening to understand others. We believe conflicts are healthy when egos are left out of discussions, and we feedback in a constructive way. We like people!
What do we do?
We make high quality mobile games that appeals to a large audience
How will we succeed?
We will deliver high quality games to a large audience, always improve and learn from failures and staying open to test new things. Our team is broad and skilled, and we put studio before team and team before me. We don’t do compromises on cultural and skill fit when we hire. Our company structure is flat, with few hierarchies and few managers.
Our Wild Playbook is always work in progress and we expect to update it as we go along. In an upcoming post I’ll share how we use our Wild Playbook and the future of it.
This is the first part of two about our Wild Playbook. Read the second part about how we use it here.