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Our first project for a class entitled, “Building Virtual Worlds” taught by Harold Chaput (Technical Director at Electronic Arts) and Snjezana Cvoro-Begovic (Project Manager at EA) had very simple parameters.
“Tell the story of a Vancouver landmark using digital media.”
We created Our Grind, a ning site, for the active community in Vancouver who are dedicated to conquering the Grouse Grind. The Grind is a popular tourist attraction as well as a fitness staple for people in Vancouver who enjoy the sweating and struggling up the vertical trail towards a healthier body and one of the most beautiful views in the world. Our client were the “Grinders,” and our sight sought to engage them through competition and community – two main features of the Grind itself. Our features from original videos, groups, forums and a time tracking board allowed our users to view, share and compare.
The project was a huge success, and already had a following by the time of presentation. Here are some quotes from our professor, Harold Chaput:
“The product does an excellent job of telling the story of Grouse Mountain, and creates a virtual world in a non-traditional way: through the input and interactions of others. The team was able to create an online community, populate it with content, introduce new methods of interaction, and (most significantly) start building an audience. This was helped by the clear definition of the audience and the goals. The seamless marriage between digital technology and physical subject is outstanding.”
Project Management was a focus of this entire course and it was crucial to this exercise. Our professor Snjezana has been a project manager at EA for many years and pushed us to learn as much as we could about the craft in a short time. My focus was on setting milestones, tracking progress, fostering communication and leading presentations each week on our progress.
What I learned
I learned that clear goals and milestones are a key factor in keeping up the pace of a project and that they can really foster morale as well. Good project management skills come with experience, especially in predicting how long things should take and to know when your team is “off the pace.” While you have a lot of control over the process, it is a job that lacks input in the creative process, at least less input than I am used to. That said, I enjoyed helping my team reach their goals and being the spokesperson for a successful project. Project management skills are key in any industry and I was very lucky to learn from Snjezana from Electronic Arts who’s experience is enhanced by her clear passion for the work.
Harold Chaput noted in our feedback, “It's clear that everybody on the team has a good understanding and healthy respect for project management. They were able to tap into everybody's strengths and capitalize on the team's passion. The team was strong from start to finish. […] The team had a good story to tell, and they told it well. The presentation was crisp and informative. Everybody was organized and prepared.”
Website Developers/Graphic Designer: Nikhil Lewis and Taylor Kachmarski:
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Website content by Jen Dowding 2010; Design by M Emily M 2010.