Head of Development - Slightly Mad Studios
11 days ago
Slightly Mad Studios (SMS), part of the EA family and renowned for the Project CARS franchise, operate on a fully international remote developer model with a global span. Their mission is to develop the benchmark in racing simulation games underpinned by innovation, technical excellence and attention to detail.
As Head of Development, you'll manage discipline leads across Production, Creative, Engineering and Art, and be the main point of contact for central teams. You'll be the keeper of the project schedule and play a vital role in successfully moving the development team from one project phase to the next while ensuring a strong focus on quality, collaboration and communication. You'll partner closely with Production and Discipline Leads to ensure that they are managing the project on time, to quality, and within budget.
Responsibilities: Managing Teams
- Stay up to date with and apply best practices to team development and communication processes. Share studio or company wide post-mortem learning's across the label/EA on team engagements (i.e., posts post-mortem to EA Knowledge).
- Partner with others to deliver strategic news to teams or act as the final point of escalation.
- Identify and act on strategic opportunities to utilise teams to meet business needs.
- Partner with other teams across EA to invest in developing new vendor relationships or expanding on vendor skills to ensure they are aligned for the following years projects and initiatives.
- Establish strategic relationships with the executive leadership of key external vendors; understand the vendors future plans to ensure understanding of EAs goals and all risks involved with working in partnership.
- Leverage EA's CDS X-Dev group to select and engage with vendors.
- Identify, support, and drive communication serving to establish relationships/trust, audits, transfer of knowledge, shared understandings/goals.
Process & Workflow Management
- Advocate, and implements continuous process improvements within the Studio and EA Worldwide level.
- Innovate, plans, communicates and implements studio or business wide practices in response to changing strategy and market trends
- Identify strategic investments in process and workflow initiatives that align with the current and future business needs; create plans and pitches to executives; drives execution of plan to completion.
- Stay up to date with industry and EA best practices for process and workflow management; leverage knowledge to promote optimization and innovation.
- Teaches and coaches process and workflow best practices, lessons learned, pitfalls and mistakes in order to grow capabilities of the team.
- Define the overall project management philosophy and process for a studio and/or business unit.
- Review and approve project plans/schedules looking for dependencies, trends and patterns across many projects/teams that lead to more effective and integrated plans.
- Set return on investment metrics in partnership with senior leaders across a portfolio of projects/products.
- Audits project management practices across teams to look for opportunities for improvement and sharing.
- Perform milestone reviews of major projects and leads the Executive gate review process.
- Execute multi-year resource planning for the studio. Partners with leaders and Execs to examine needs based on multi-year plans.
- Balances capacity between multiple teams, franchises, and business units within a studio/label.
- Execute multi-year resource planning for the studio across multiple job families.
- Execute resource training for the studio to support multi-year resource plans.
- Balances multi-year capacity alongside outsourced and distributed development partners.
- Set the standard across portfolio and/or studio in terms of how resource planning will be handled (i.e.. tolerance level) based upon applied project methodologies.
- Perform analysis and review of effectiveness of resource planning with an eye to identify and innovate that leads to maximize workforce utilization.
- Balances risk across a portfolio of projects and/or the studio.
- Anticipate the risk that product strategy changes can have on multiple projects and formulates strategies to mitigate risk.
- Understand distributed and/or co-development as a tool to mitigate or distribute risk across a portfolio of projects.
- Assess and manage risks inherent in distributed and co-development.
- Lead the organizing of distributed and collaborative development with an eye on dependencies and risk management.
- Foster an environment that encourages coordination and alignment between a multitude of teams to mitigate the impact of dependencies and risks.
- Identify/own all risks and dependencies at a studio level and influences worldwide use, including identifying and managing critical paths and interactions.
- Understand long-term project/business risk and dependency decision consequences and works to minimize risk/dependencies for all parties.
- Provide strategic cost analysis and contingency plans for dependencies and risks impact for major projects and initiatives at the studio.
- Work with business leaders to provide feedback/input and make decisions on critical dependencies and risks.
- Assist teams in maximizing the use of tax credits and other incentives that effectively reduce the development cost of projects within the business unit or studio.
- Build and foster a pipeline of business relationships with vendors offering various services (contracting, licensing of 3rd party software, etc.) to strategically meet changing business demands and reduce the cost of development.
- Accountable for and provides oversight on budget control over multiple projects within the business unit or studio.
- Drive major improvements in financial efficiency within the business unit or studio.
- Provide accurate and complete financial forecasts and planning for franchise, business unit or studio.
- Mentor development directors in higher level financial planning and control best practices; provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience and knowledge.
- Actively mitigate financial risk for the business unit or studio by partnering with finance and senior/exec team management.
- Create and drive standards to ensure alignment across studios/business in determining employee compensation; work closely with Exec leadership and HR on compensation strategy; provide feedback and input on salary, bonus, merit, and stock compensation.
- Identify, adopt, and leverage industry best practices on financial management inside EA; innovate what we do and how we do it by learning from others.
Product and Franchise Vision
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- In collaboration with Studio Extended Leadership, VP Development, VP Brand and other key stakeholders, take a leadership role in the development of the product brand, vision and business strategy.
- In collaboration with Studio Extended Leadership validate, communicate, direct and drive franchise vision both internally and externally to stakeholders and other external partners.
- Together with Brand ensure the Marketing vision and plans align with both product vision and business goals.
- Maximise profitability of products through business intelligence, audience intelligence and related revenue opportunities.
- Liaise with the community team and implement relevant feedback into the product and franchise development.
- In collaboration with Licensing and PR, foster positive working partnerships with external partners.
- Stay abreast of gaming developments, trends and technologies, applying learnings to both current and future products.
- Together with Brand and Business Development identify new potential markets for our Products and ensure game design maximises such opportunities.