Navigating the Web3 game space as a non-native PM
With more game companies moving into the Web3 space, the landscape and required job roles have drastically changed. These changes demand our constant attention to learn and stay ahead of the ever-changing curve.
Before I get into it, let me briefly explain the Web3 gaming space using everyone’s current favourite tool, ChatGPT:
The Web3 gaming space is an exciting new frontier in the gaming industry that is powered by blockchain technology and decentralized networks. In Web3 gaming, players can enjoy games that are truly owned by them, where they have complete control over their in-game assets, can earn cryptocurrency rewards, and can participate in a vibrant and open gaming economy.
Woah, lots of big words there, where do we start? How do I start? What do I do? (shakes in fear) As a non-native and a beginner in my role as a Project Manager, I had my work cut out for me as the studio transitioned from Web2 to Web3 projects. As you read on, I’ll share with you the challenges I faced on both fronts, and perhaps it’ll help you in your journey in this space as well!
Wide Wide Web3 World
To kick us off at Mighty Bear Games, we took classes led by one of our own to help everyone transition into the space. Our Web3 Lead, Michael, ran these ‘classes’ — or as I like to call them, ‘Dummy guides (or dummy’s guide)’ — to help get everyone familiar with the terms and concepts of Web3. Multiple team members were also sent to Web3 conferences to experience and connect to like-minded people.
However, in order to effectively converse with the team, I knew these classes wouldn’t be sufficient. To supplement this, I doubled down on extra learning by absorbing varied sources like:
- Reading up on articles from different sources like the Cointelegraph
- Joining a mixture of Web3 Projects on their Discord servers such as uwucrew, OVERBORNE
- Following active Web3 projects on Twitter like weallsurvived, Pudgy Penguins, Kaiju Kingz and joining Twitter Spaces
- Reading informative if not controversial threads (these really get my mind thinking) from well-known Web3 natives like Elena
- Discussing current Web3 topics with my colleagues
Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of this information? Don’t worry, I’ve been there too! When I was trying to take in everything new, there were times I felt overwhelmed and wondered if this was something I could master. I could’ve probably got away with just the base knowledge, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with myself, so I started exploring different segments of Web3. While you work on your projects as well, you’re bound to encounter problems that stump you. Take this opportunity to seek out answers, since there’s already a driving force pushing you.
Ultimately, when picking up a new subject, there’s nothing more important than staying interested and engaged in the content. Take as much time as you need so that you can fully absorb and internalise the information.
On the flipside, despite the Web3 space being a tempting new toy that everyone wants to get involved in, it’s important to exercise caution with the type of information we absorb as not everything out there is verified. While staying current with the constantly changing dynamics of the Web3 space is vital in supporting your team, I stress the importance of Do Your Own Research (DYOR) so that you won’t be caught vulnerable!
By following the above points, you’ll soon be able to confidently apply the knowledge you’ve learned to your day-to-day work!
As strange as it may sound, the world of Project Management has always held a certain allure for me. I always find myself amazed at other Project Managers as they effortlessly steer their teams with minimal friction. With their perfect mix of strategy, leadership, and communication, it’s as if they’ve concocted the perfect potion — or in this case, the perfect solution. This inspired me to become one of them, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, from a Quality Assurance Tester (QA) into a Project Manager.
Before I share my experience, it is important to take note of several key responsibilities that a Project Manager holds, which include:
- Acting as a lubricant for the team — allowing the team to focus on their work and mitigate as many problems as possible
- Communicating with the relevant stakeholders and team members to keep them informed of project progress, issues and changes
- Developing and managing various projects/features, including timelines and resources to ensure the project meets quality standards and is delivered on time
- Conducting project evaluations and post-project reviews to identify lessons learned and improve future project performance
Many of these responsibilities overlap with my previous role, but when I became a Project Manager myself, I was greeted with a much harder version of what I had been doing. I was (literally) thrown into the deep end, and as much as it pains me to say this, it is really the most effective way to learn the ropes. These are the few points I took away while stepping into this role:
- No project is like any other, and each project has its own set of requirements. The only way to have a good grasp of what you need to provide for each project is to experience the whole process from the beginning till end.
- Engage yourself in courses like Google Project Management and observe your fellow project managers.
- Constantly communicate with your teammates — get to know them personally and professionally! This can help you uncover tidbits about the way they work and what makes them tick.
Besides the points mentioned above, as a project manager, we need to be aware of the libraries and technologies that the team is using. We also need to prepare prevention and mitigation plans in case of breaking changes or security flaws that come to light, so that we can handle the situation accordingly. Additionally, large-scale industry shifts play a significant role in the decisions that we collectively make. Among these shifts are OpenSea and Blur royalties battle, the 2022 Crypto Winter, and many more. All of these changes must be considered when we discuss our release timing, feature scope, and the impact on existing features.
The foundations that you’ve built prior would help to make informed decisions about the changes that the team needs to make in order for the timelines and product to be robust and future-proof.
Despite being thrown head first into the role, I had the fortune of being guided by my colleagues who always tackled my problems with me whenever I was lost. I know that many of you may not have this luxury, but you can also grow with the support of your team members, and join communities, talks and conferences to gain more knowledge, connections and even mentors!
Navigating this space and role requires hard work, there’s no shortcut to achieve success. Being confident and brave can go a long way in helping you accomplish incredible feats in your career! Despite the sheer amount of information, it’s important to not get overwhelmed and discouraged. Even seasoned professionals continue to discover new things everyday! The same is true for Project Management as well — every project and team member is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, with hard work, practice and perseverance, you’ll be a wiz in no time!