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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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Leadership: Working at the Heart of the Team 2019

Grant Shonkwiler  (Commander & Shonk, Shonkventures)

Steve Superville  (Creative Director, Big Huge Games)

Kim Swift  (Studio Design Director, EA Motive)

Brian Sharp  ( Product Manager, Oculus)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Project management methodologies and processes in the video game industry have been analyzed ad nauseam, often sold as production cure-alls. While these mechanics of game production are indeed important, there's another critical facet that has been explored far less: the emotional and elusive feel of being a great leader/producer/project manager. Once processes are in place, in order to maintain the health of a project the leader must have their finger firmly on the pulse of the team and be able to diagnose situations that often call for drastically different solutions. In this session, the speakers will investigate facets of soft skills and share specific situations that they have encountered throughout their careers and how soft skills have saved the team and shipped awesome games. Topics include creating a new IP, leading a team through creative challenges, strong but flexible leadership, leading leads, setting clear goals, managing creative differences, how to convince people, how to ask the right questions and building a new software team.


Attendees will gain an increased knowledge and understanding of how to use the soft skills a leader has, and how focusing on their team will make their games more successful. This will be covered through practical examples and discussion.

Intended Audience

The target audience is leaders with 4+ years experience in the games industry. It will also be valuable for new leaders/producers/project managers and disciplinary leads.