decision must also take into account the game’s vision,
schedule and budget, Mr. Piegay says. “From a project
management standpoint, it is important to find the
balance between creativity, quality and timing.”
He ran head-on into such a challenge in early
2012, when Ubisoft launched a project to develop
“JustDance TV.com,” a video-sharing service to sup-
port the October release of the “Just Dance 4” video
game. The initial project plan for the game on the
Xbox 360 console included fea-
tures that would allow users to
tape themselves dancing and
share the videos online—if
Mr. Piegay’s team could get
the site up and running
“We only had six
months before the game
was released, which was
a short time frame, and we
had a lot of ideas,” he says.
While team members would have liked to incorporate dozens of cool features and backgrounds, they
knew they had to prioritize. So they focused on quality and core functionality: making sure users could
quickly and easily post videos from any device.
“It’s always better to build something simple
that is focused, fun and really polished,” Mr. Piegay
says. “If a user has a bad experience, it doesn’t matter how great all the features are; it will affect his
or her vision of your brand—and ultimately the
project’s financial success.”
A gaming project may span
different platforms or screens, including
tablets, desktop computers, mobile devices,
websites and gaming consoles.
“It is always better to build something simple that is focused, fun and really polished.” -Romain Piegay, PMP, PgMP
Sometimes unexpected opportunities force entertainment-project teams to scrap deadlines and trim scope to deliver
something truly game-changing.
This happened last year to the development team at
Animoto, a New York, New York, USA-based online video-creation service that allows users to make and share
high-quality videos using their own pictures, video clips,
words and music.
In June, the development team began work on a
new “Best of 2012” app project to automatically create
a video, based on a chosen theme, using all of a user’s
Facebook photos and captions from the year. The initial
release was planned for mid-December, as an alternative
to holiday cards.
With the deadline in mind, the project team built the
back-end infrastructure first and created a list of user-friendly features, including multiple music options and
The project was on schedule when, a few months into
development, global retail giant Amazon asked Animoto
CEO Brad Jefferson to showcase how Animoto used Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run its development products.
The presentation would be the keynote speech at the
November AWS conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
“It was a huge opportunity,” says Jason Hsiao, Animoto’s president. The company suddenly had a chance
to unveil its product with a live demonstration to 6,000
industry experts and media figures at the start of the
holiday season. Success would win them enormous publicity and an immediate user base; failure would be a very
“We had to get it right,” Mr. Hsiao says.
The development team immediately reexamined project scope to determine which features were must-have
and which were nice-to-have. “We had to be realistic, and
minimal in our choices,” Mr. Hsiao says.