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How Running Your Game Studio with Favro Can Make All the Difference

Get development, QA, marketing, community management, and external partners in sync with a new level of collaborative planning

The game industry is moving from a project mindset to a product mindset. Games used to be thought of as projects with set production start and end dates. They’ve made the transition to products that, depending on their success, are continuously developed and supported with new content and features for many years after initial release. 

Case in point, a new “expanded and enhanced” Grand Theft Auto V was just announced for a prime November 2021 PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launch. By keeping the game fresh and relevant with constant updates to GTA Online, along with this new edition of the base game, it will continue to be a hit across three console generations, beginning with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. It’s impossible to argue with over 140 million copies sold and online recurring revenue.

Although the success of Grand Theft Auto V is an extreme example, the fact remains that live-service games are bringing an end to traditional “shipped” game projects. Ongoing development, content production, live-ops, and a much closer connection to players are now the norm. Even before a game is released, it’s now much simpler to receive mass player feedback with early access models. 

A game is now an enduring product with a much longer life cycle.

For game studios, this means far less compartmentalization. Not only do all disciplines need to work in tandem, but now continuous collaborative planning must occur between all teams, departments, and levels of a studio. Overall studio agility, not just team-level agility, is critical. Development needs to be aligned with live-ops and marketing. Studio goals and initiatives must be clear and transparent to teams, driving all game product development, operations, marketing, and support aspects.

Favro, which has its foundation in game development, has also evolved since it was first released in 2016. The Favro founders have been in game development since the ’90s, so they’ve had many war stories and experiences to build on.

By listening to feedback from game developers worldwide, Favro’s core flexibility and capabilities have expanded to empower everything from small indie studios to massive multinational studios. 

With a booming game industry, the move to live-service, and new hybrid (remote and co-located) working arrangements, the challenges to both development of games, on a studio level, and production, on a team level, have increased dramatically. 

Thankfully, the transparency and silo-breaking flow required to run the entire business of modern game development is built into Favro. In this article, we’ll show you how a single platform can be used to run all aspects of your studio, ranging from leadership to development to quality assurance to live-ops to marketing, even supporting fast-growing recruitment efforts. We’ll also highlight some recent feature releases like automations, collection folders, and shareable links.

Map Your Studio’s Organizational Structure

While it’s absolutely possible to start using Favro with a single team and ramp up to additional teams and levels over time, studios that choose to run everything in Favro can now get genuinely organized from day one, using the newly released collection folders. Collection folders are used to organize your team-specific game dashboard, leadership dashboard, and external partner collections any way you choose. Favro collections are just that - a collection of dev boards, marketing roadmaps, feature backlogs, asset lists, bug tickets, art pipelines, and management objectives necessary for a team or teams-of-teams to plan and collaborate.

It makes sense before creating any collections to map the structure of your studio to your Favro organization with folders. 

Collection folders representing studio levels, disciplines, and departments

Once you have this folder mapping complete, it’s simple to create collections directly in each folder or drag and drop existing collections into their respective folders.

Create collections directly in folders or drag & drop after the fact

With the structure of your studio in place, it’s time to start building your collections, feature backlogs, asset lists, and workflows. We’ll begin with team-level collections, move on to game teams-of-teams aggregate collections, all the way up to big picture, studio leadership dashboards.

Team Level Collections

Whether it’s an art asset team, feature development team, live-ops team, leadership team, etc., every team should have its own collection. Each team-specific collection will be a container for all team members’ work, starting with cards representing the work, filling up backlogs to organize, plan, estimate, and prioritize that work, and boards to complete the work. 

Here’s an example of a feature development team’s collection.

A team level collection with feature backlog, sprint board, and roadmap

With continuous release live-service productions, teams have to collaborate with other teams in real-time closely. Favro has the unique ability to have both the cards and boards exist in multiple places simultaneously. This means that a feature development team can add a live-ops team board to their collection, both visualizing what the other team members are doing and dragging and dropping the same cards between boards to work on the same features in parallel. 

A feature team collaborating with a live-ops team in the same collection

Feature teams must also be in constant communication with quality assurance. Bugs that escape development sprints and embedded QA are tracked in bug backlogs and fed back to the development team that initially worked on the related feature. 

An escaped bug backlog feeding a development team backlog for prioritized fixing in sprints

For QA teams that still have to synchronize bugs with Jira, Favro offers a recently updated native Jira integration and other solutions to bring QA closer to development, enabling team member mapping. Favro also has numerous native integrations to other studio-critical tools.

Some of Favro’s many native integrations, which are configurable per team

Another example of a team-level collection is an art team, with their prioritized art asset backlogs and art asset pipelines. 

Art assets being prioritized and estimated in an art backlog and being created in an asset pipeline

Internal art teams will typically need to sync with external art development teams, possibly with assets from the same backlog feeding both internal and external teams. This can be driven from a single Art Director dashboard collection.

An art asset master backlog feeding both internal and external art teams

Art Directors can also review both internally and externally created assets directly from the same Art Director dashboard. Here’s an example of Favro’s new automations being used to automatically add an asset card to an Art Director’s review flow once an external team moves it to “Studio Review” on their board from their own external art team collection.

Automation to notify an Art Director when an externally created asset is ready for review

The same automation in action automatically assigning the asset to the Art Director and adding it to their review board

Game Dashboard Collections

Producers and Directors need to see the big picture. A game dashboard collection provides a single high-level overview of the entire live production, empowering them to drive priorities, set goals, create roadmaps, and track development progress all from a single screen. There’s no need to jump back and forth between team-level collections to find what they’re looking for. Again, because boards and backlogs can exist in multiple collections, a game dashboard acts as an aggregation of all development teams and can also include boards from necessary departments such as marketing and community. 

A game production dashboard collection aggregating backlogs and boards from all of a game’s teams

Automations are a massive time saver for all of production: everything from automating the creation of recurring meetings to automating the flow of Producer reviews to creating automated release plans and burndowns that update themselves when each team completes features and releasable content.

Automation to create biweekly sprint retrospectives

Suppose a Producer or Director needs to share game dashboard information with executives or publishers that might not have active Favro accounts. In that case, they can use the new shareable links to give secure instant access to either specific boards or entire collections.

Using a secure, shareable link to share a dashboard collection with internal colleagues without a Favro account

Studio Dashboard Collections

Taking it up another level, studio leadership requires the ability to set and drive business initiatives, measure and track performance of all their live games, and dive down into the details whenever there’s an issue requiring their attention. Favro executive studio dashboards make this a one-stop-shop reality. 

Here a studio portfolio backlog feeds a studio portfolio kanban, giving leadership a top-level view of all their initiatives and productions in progress. Drilling down to see specifics is as simple as following the Favro relations. 

A studio executive dashboard driving and tracking the big picture

If leadership uses goal setting and progress tracking methods like OKRs and KPIs, those can also live within a studio dashboard collection or in their own collection, with links to supporting details.

Studio OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) in Favro

An executive dashboard is also an excellent place for studio and game roadmaps, again linked to the team level backlogs, boards, and cards for details that are only a click away. 

Overall studio initiatives roadmap and game development roadmaps in the same dashboard collection

With fast-growing studios, recruitment and onboarding are a constant effort. Hiring managers can also visualize both of these flows directly from the studio dashboard.

A studio recruitment pipeline and onboarding pipeline connected via automations

Public Game Roadmap and Player Community Collections

With many studios fostering a player-first mindset as one of their core cultural values, it’s imperative to keep players up to date with current and upcoming feature and content releases, as well as upcoming events, competitions, and modes. A Favro public collection is the perfect way to create this real-time player hub. 

Phoenix Labs shows us how it’s done with their Dauntless Community Hub & Roadmap, connecting ongoing development directly with the game’s more than 25 million players.

Phoenix Labs’ live Dauntless Community Hub & Roadmap

One Studio, One Collaborative Planning Platform

Games are now live products, requiring continuous development, releases, service, and response to player feedback. With all the moving pieces and the vital need for all studio teams and departments to work together, managing it all with a single app makes sense. Favro is a single collaborative planning platform that any team can use and scales to any size studio. 

Favro’s core building blocks of cards, boards, collections, and relations, along with recently added automations, collection folders, and shareable links, make it the perfect platform for running your entire studio.

Many of today’s most successful studios are already using Favro. Why not give it a free try at yours? Also, feel free to contact us for a personal demo or best practice discussion. 

This video walks you through exactly how to set up Favro to run your game studio.

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