Wearing multiple hats

I’m starting to get the hang of this multiple hats thing.

Usually when I want to get a project done, it’s either:

  1. I lock myself into a room and obsessively focus on one sole aspect, then I come out for a breather and back in for the next aspect until I get it done. Solitary single-mindedness.
  2. or

  3. As a single-member on a team, I only have one aspect to focus on, so I just do it.

This time around, I tried to do #1 for months and just buried myself too much into one thing and completely lost scope of the fact that I’m the manager of the whole project. Too many things got ignored and I defaulted back to #2 but our team isn’t big enough for me to take that luxury.

So I had to stop and re-task myself. My new methodology:

  1. I pick which aspect I’m working on for the next few days. If it requires learning, I go into student mode and just try to soak up things. I don’t immediately move from learning to doing on the same topic. Instead I switch topics.

So today if I’m learning about the workflow for facial animations, then tomorrow I go back to coding in UnrealScript because that’s (somewhat) familiar from earlier studying. When I get back to the facial animation stuff the next time, if the learning hasn’t stuck, I watch some more tutorials or read some more wiki pages. This is how my brain absorbs, in piecemeal.

I also spend a great deal of time explaining what I’ve learned to our other team members. That helps my process a lot, because talking it through gives me further insights of how to use these new skills. The discussions help all of us to recognize gaps in the overall project.

This week was key, because I have a much better understanding of what we’re capable of– and what we’ll need to outsource.

This is a long slow process. I’m okay with that. I’m patient.