Developer's Cave, Island Forge April 9th. 2009, 3:39pm
Working on my own requires me to run the gauntlet of software development. The process exposes personal and professional strengths and weaknesses, which I believe are difficult to discover in a corporate environment. An employee's job title tends to become a shell, which can be difficult to break out of. Being responsible for every aspect of this software project (not to mention starting a potential business) reveals where I thrive and where I am lacking in experience.
Since nautical analogy is always the best way to describe a complex situation, consider the software enterprise as an 18th century ship-of-the-line.
By nautical analogy, the Captain represents the head of the company, who gazes the horizon. Officers and Midshipmen comprise management (many of whom purchased their commissions). The Bosun manages the activities of the project at hand, coordinating the activities of the crew. The crew are the technical employees (software engineers). In a large enough enterprise, the crew may include galley slaves, pressed into service and assigned nothing but menial tasks.
Reflecting on my career so far, I would fit the role of a Bosun's Mate, having some responsibility and independence in how I carry out my tasks, but still a deck hand. Being technically minded, I tend to spend (too much) time on deck tending to the rigging and trimming the sails, as well as below deck manning the oars (keyboard). That is, my strength lies in software architecture and infrastructure, designing and writing code that allows the the software application to sail smoothly.
Being a crew of one has given me the freedom to sample other ranks and positions. From the crow's nest, I've spied the opportunities on the vast horizon, but a good Captain must decide which targets to pursue. As an Officer, my duty is to issue orders (in this case, specify the requirements of the game design). This has been the weak link in my chain of command. Nautically speaking, my maelstrom of game design ideas requires the officer of the watch to keep a constant weather eye open, ordering the helmsman to tack along a rough course through uncharted waters.
Lest I get lost in this analogy, allow me to explain. Since first taking on crew and supplies -- sorry -- Since the beginning of this undertaking, I have had a strong notion of what I want to accomplish. I also have the technical capacity for how to achieve it. (You could say I have potential.) At this point, I have engineered a fine ship (the software itself), and have taken her on a test voyage (Alpha releases). Now I must now take command, keeping my eye on the prize, which is to release a successful game.
Welcome aboard as I plot my course (finalize my game design), weigh anchor (write the code), and raise sail (release the software) on my voyage toward Beta (where there most certainly be monsters).