Ilkka Paananen談Supercell扁平管理和權力下放創新機制

本文原作者:PocketGamer.biz綜合整理,譯者ciel chen

Supercell的CEO Ilkka Paananen分享了他爲Supercell設想的未來藍圖,以及之所以在和Digital Chocolate400名員工共事多年後發展起公司內部創業文化的原因。

Paananen在RovioCon 2017年Helsinki大會上發表講話,探討了他在遊戲行業裏的第一個10年裏——從擔任Sumea的CEO到最終成爲Digital Chocolate的總裁再到以Digital Chocolate的總裁身份收購Sumea公司的經歷歷程。

 Supercell's company structure(from pocketgamer.biz)

Supercell’s company structure(from pocketgamer.biz)

Paananen本身善於分析、而且擁有在投資銀行和管理諮詢業界的有很多大學同窗好友,當他幾乎是意外地進入到遊戲行業之後,Paananen帶領着Sumea成長爲一個擁有40名成員的團隊,之後由Digital Chocolate公司收購。

在那6年裏,Paananen建立起了一個自上而下的組織形式,組織中有一小部分人專門負責想點子,他形容這樣的組織就像在一張整潔的紙上佈滿了流程、流程裏每個人都在他的掌控之中。

管理大於創新

當他加入Digital Chocolate以後,公司隨着環境複雜程度的加深將規模擴大到了400人。

儘管一開始試圖使用軟管理層和程序來保持事情的可控度,而在不久後他發現這跟公司的進程有關,包括用來開發新遊戲的審批(greenlight)流程。

這要求高級員工或者團隊來創造出一個大型文檔來詳細解釋一款遊戲的商業計劃和案例,這裏的內容包括市場機會、競爭和利基分析等。

這個文檔的目的不是爲了做出更好的遊戲,而是讓整個公司(從市場總管到銷售和財務)能夠認同該項目。這讓開發團隊需要進行長時間的電話會議來讓說服人們相信該遊戲的潛力。

他發現無論怎樣實際上只有遊戲開發者自己才瞭解他們的遊戲,並且大部分新遊戲都很“差勁”,不過它們如果能經過一些加工是可以有翻天覆地變化的,只是這個過程是需要時間的。

隨着人員的升職、新團隊組建、更多管理層的添加,這個過程的問題會越發嚴重。

更好的方法?

過了一段時間,Pannanen說他意識到之前他也許一直都想錯方向了——遊戲是一個創造性產業,跟科技產業不一樣。

他補充道,無論你把團隊、展示和流程組織得多好,都不意味着會帶來好的遊戲創意。

因此,他決定試看看一個開發者主導的團隊會是樣,他將公司的金字塔模式整個倒過來了,將組建團隊的管理權交給開發者並支持他們,而不是管着他們——這也就是他在Supercell的成功之處。

這種模式更類似在一家公司裏獨立運營的一個創新團隊。當有人提出這種概念就像“細胞(cells)”一樣,於是他的新工作室名字便應運而生——Supercell。該工作室已經以該種模式研發出了例如《部落戰爭》、《Hay Day》、《Boom Beach》和《皇室戰爭》這樣的熱門大作了。

Paananen堅定地認爲小團隊資源的稀缺反而能促進革新和專注。如果一個團隊只有兩個程序員,那它們就必須專注與他們現有資源能讓他們做到什麼程度。至少在手遊產業是不需要一隻規模達100人的團隊的。

然而,硬幣的兩面一面是獨立,另一面則是責任。Supercell現在有了這些高標準的遊戲鉅作,因此如果有些東西無法解決,這可能會威脅到遊戲存亡或者意味着對團隊要做出一些變更。

這不適用於所有人

Paananen還表明,某些挑戰是僅對於Supercell而言的,他提醒supercell的運營模式並非對所有遊戲公司都適用,也並非就一定是其他遊戲公司可遵循的最佳模板。

他說這種模式對於那些非常有前瞻性的人們、或者對那些想自己創建公司的企業家們,還有對於那些不需要讓頂頭上司指示自己該做些什麼的人來說最行之有效。

儘管在流程和管理上有較大欠缺的小團隊也能做出創新大項目,但這往往是會造成一些壓力。

考慮到Supercell需要保持較小的團隊規模,它必須拒絕很多遊戲項目提議,因爲他還有高質量遊戲鉅作需要維穩運行。他承認,確實有人在supercell工作多年卻依舊無法發行他們的遊戲。

先前Paananen還說他們封存了一款叫做《Smash Land》的遊戲,他認爲這款遊戲本應該是遊戲熱門榜的前25名——然而這樣的成績依舊無法達到公司預期。

Paananen在RovioCon大會上說:無論如何,公司確實在嘗試通過人員調換來解決這些問題,這一點在之後的新員工面試中也會向面試者提出。

Pannnanen總結說公司結構變化是不會停下的,在未來幾年甚至幾十年,如果開發者能堅持下來,那該流程也將可能不斷進化。

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Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen has shared his vision for Supercell and why its internal startup culture was developed after years working with as many as 400 staff at Digital Chocolate.

Speaking at RovioCon 2017 in Helsinki, Paananen discussed his first 10 years in the games industry as CEO of Sumea and then eventually President of Digital Chocolate following the latter’s acquisition of the former.

After falling into the games industry almost by accident, given his analytical background and university friends pursuing careers in investment banking and management consultancy, Paananen grew Sumea to a team of around 40 staff before selling to Digital Chocolate.

During his six years there, Paananen built a top-down organisation with a small group of people making the ideas, which he described as neat on paper, with lots of processes, everyone in a box and ‘under control’.

Management over creativity

By the time he left, the company had grown to around 400 people, with the complexity of the environment increasing.

Despite trying to introduce layers of soft management and procedures to keep things under control, after a while he noticed issues related to the firm’s processes, including the greenlight process for developing new games.

This required senior staff and/or teams to create big documents explaining the business plan and case for a game, including the market opportunity, competition, niche, etc.

The purpose of the document was not to make a better game, but to get the whole company buying into the project, from the head of marketing, to sales and finance. This would then lead to monthly reviews with lengthy phone calls to convince people of the game’s potential.

He found however that the reality is only game creators know about the game, and most new titles “suck”, but after some work may progress into something great, but that process needs time.

This issue with processes was exacerbated by growth as people got promoted, got new teams and more management layers were added.

A better way?

After some time, Paananen said he realised he may have been thinking about things the wrong way. Games are part of a creative industry, not science, he said.

He added that no matter how well organised your team, presentation or process, this doesn’t produce great games.

Therefore, he decided to see what a developer-led team would look like, turning the company pyramid upside down to give management the role of building teams and supporting them, rather than running them – something he’s tried to achieve with Supercell.

This is more akin to running independent startups within the company. After someone suggested these were like ‘cells’, his new studio’s name of Supercell was born. It’s since gone on to develop hit games such as Clash of Clans, Hay Day, Boom Beach and Clash Royale.
How Ilkka Paananen envisions Supercell’s company structure
Paananen believes that the scarcity of resources in small teams can increase innovation and focus. If only two programmers are on a team, they’ll need to focus on what they can do with what they have. You don’t need 100-man teams on mobile like you do for console, he said.

On other flip side of the coin to independence however is responsibility. Supercell has a very high bar for games to be greenlit, and if something isn’t working out, it will kill the game or make changes to the team.

Not for everyone

Paananen noted that there are some challenges presented by Supercell’s philosophy, and cautioned the model may not work for all companies, nor is it necessarily the best model for others to follow.

He said it works best for people that are super proactive and likely could be entrepreneurs themselves and form their own companies, people who don’t need a boss to tell them what to do.

While small teams and a lack of much process and management can lead to great innovation, it can also cause stress.

Given Supercell’s philosophy of staying small, it needs to say no to a lot of game proposals, given the high bar to get the greenlight. He admitted that people could work for many years at Supercell and their game won’t come out.

Previously, Paananen has said it canned a game called Smash Land, which he felt could have been a top 25 grossing game – but still didn’t meet internal expectations.

Paananen said during RovioCon however that the company does try to address this issue by rotating employees and being upfront about it from the start during the interview process.

Paananen concluded by saying that the company’s structure is an ever-evolving thing, and should the developer last for many more years or even decades, the process will likely evolve too.(source:pocketgamer.biz )