Welcome to our fifth Monthly Dinner event of 2017. This month the event will be held at Electronic Arts Vancouver. We are excited to have Natali Altshuler as our speakers. She is a Senior Director of Product Development, overseeing the development of the FIFA, UFC & NHL franchises. Let's dive in to learn more about Natali.
Q&A with Natali Altshuler
Wow, you oversee and manage a wide spectrum of responsibilities, and amazingly you do this across two key studios. How do you fit everything in and make sure all areas are given the attention they need?
In short, it's great process and amazing people! Game development is extremely complex, so we rely on a game development framework process to ensure that nothing slips between the cracks. We are also fortunate to have some of the best project managers in the business working for us, and benefit from the strength of our team.
Within EA what are the professional and personal qualities you look for in a project manager?
We hire people with a wide range of professional experience. For senior roles, we're looking for managers with experience running large-scale, complex projects and leading large teams. For more junior/entry-level roles, we're looking for those who are passionate and willing to learn. And across all levels, we look for natural leaders with good interpersonal skills and who are capable problem-solvers.
What are your secrets to a successful and fun product kick-off meeting, how do you engage your team?
We are fortunate enough to work on products that are inherently fun - video games! So when kicking off a new product, we typically have the Producer, Creative leads and Marketing share their vision & direction for the game with killer presentations and trailer videos. If those don't get you excited, I can't imagine what would!
What is the most challenging aspect of developing a video game and how do you overcome it?
Fundamentally, how do you measure "fun"? How do we know if the game will be "fun" in time for launch? In order to "find the fun", game development requires constant iteration. And that is definitely the most challenging aspect of developing games. The best thing we can do to overcome that uncertainty is to expect and plan for change, all the time. Making games is not about building the perfect plan and then executing on it. Rather, it is about adapting to a constantly shifting set of requirements and reevaluating our plans all along the way.
Do you have any particular morning routines?
I have two young kids. You don't want to know how our mornings go, other than nothing about it is routine. :)
What would you tell your 25-year-old self?
Worry less, believe in yourself and don't be afraid to take a leap of faith!
Thank you Natali for taking the time to answer our questions and allowing us to get to know you better! We are looking forward to visiting EA and learning more about games and project management.
For anyone that is interested in learning more about the event The Project Management Game: EA Sports Vancouver or to register please click below.