Successful Projects Do Not Require Dictators
"How on earth are you going to manage this bunch of builders?" This is a topic that comes up a lot. Some question in fear, sniffing out signs of the oncoming totalitarian regime soon to be put in place, others ask in the hope they can be positioned in the hierarchy of power, others ask just because they have no idea how this whole thing is going to work.
Simple answer you can't. Top down management with a loudspeaker will never work with creative types, there is no surer way of stifling creativity than to start barking orders. "We want a giant castle floating in the sky being towed by photo realistic winged kittens by 5pm next Tuesday!!! SNELL!"
The real world of work has an answer for this, it's called Agile, and it allows people to work like individuals on BIG projects. The teams are flexible and using tools like JIRA people can be added and included as and when they are available and have a skill that is required. This will become 'real work' if we are successful and we should use methodologies that work in creative businesses.
Does this mean we go full Agile? With a JIRA interface and all the whistles and bells? No not straight away, maybe never, we have been building as individuals, loose teams, and structured teams for years and managed to produce incredible builds, don't break what is not broken.
My plan is to allow people to work the way they want but with some structure to allow the tracking of the contributions of each participant so that the build team leaders can allocate a percentage of revenue to each builder on that project, and that word 'project' is the key, I hate the term "build team" it implies leaders, dictatorship, and minions. Using the forums, discord, and party chats our members should brainstorm and come up with a project idea, agree on the members for that project and submit it to NPS.
A project can be by a solo builder, or a group of twenty, it's flexible. NPS will provide a form to complete, that will act as a short term contract and project tracker, detailing the rough idea, the participants, their expected time contributions, and expected share of the revenue. A realm will be provided for larger groups, and the project can begin. At the midway stage those percentages should be re-assessed and agreed upon by all members of that project. The same applies to the final stage sign off. NPS will then review the build and assess it under the following criteria: Build quality, Interactivity, Uniqueness, Story, Education Value, and playability. We will then check the world is child friendly, and submit to the Market place where MS will also check and verify the build. The revenue earned will be tracked for that project, and payments will be made at monthly or revenue based triggers to the project leader who is then expected to pay his or her team as per the agreed percentages in the project contract.
Projects that do not contain a NPS partner (Smurf Naoko, Dreamer, Edge, Wafflypuma) do have a disadvantage however. We will have dev kits, and will be able to polish the worlds with extra tools unavailable to the Minecraft community. You need a dev kit to create RPG elements, voice overs, custom skins, and custom mobs. You can just produce a vanilla world with clever use of redstone for RPG elements, there are plenty of those on the market place now, but if you require these additions NPS will charge an extra 10% on top of our base 10% fee for submitting your world to the market place. IT may be possible to provide more dev kits but this is down to Microsoft not us, and they may only provide one dev kit even to us partners.
If you have any questions please comment below.