Monday, 28 October 2013

Thinking agile

Personally, this is my first ever blog post. I am the CEO of Seepia Games. It means that you can blame me if anything goes wrong. If something does not go wrong, please ask me and I will tell who you should thank for it. For me, it is good to start with agile way of thinking. That is something I am known for if you trust LinkedIn endorsements.

For Seepia Games, agile means focus and readiness for change. It is also good not to be afraid of making mistakes.

Ready for a change

Things very rarely go as planned. There are different reasons for that. Sometimes plans are way too optimistic. Those who know me know that my plans are always way too optimistic. Sometimes you don't have all the information available that will affect the execution of the plans. That one has drastically affected us. Agile way of thinking gives us the possibility to change our direction. There have been multiple situations already on our journey to use this possibility. One of the biggest one was changing our target from creating Permia - Tournaments to Tetrablok and Pet Shows games. First eight months of the company were used purely for creating a hardcore collectible card game. We created the working prototype and even a first closed beta version of the game, but we did not manage to find a funding publisher for the game during our trips to the different parts of the world. Then we encountered a possibility to have some funding for a couple of smaller games targeted at the Habbo hotel. It was a very fast decision from our team. On Thursday we had a discussion with a project funding organization that they think that we should make small games to Habbo. On Friday we had a board meeting and on Monday we had two game idea suggestions for the project funding organization. Few weeks after that we froze the development of Permia - Tournaments and we started building two new games.


Small team do not have time to do wrong things. Keeping the focus is one of the most crucial and hardest thing to do. Ilkka Paananen from Supercell said in a presentation that for them focus means saying no. For us it often feels that there is about three times more things to do than we have people to do it. I think that it is quite common with startups. This means that the team has to prioritize all the time what to do. We have had a very good understanding about our vision and what are our strengths. We have not been very good at explaining that to others though. Even so, we have made quite many mistakes that can be counted as loss of focus. One of the biggest mistakes for us was to start doing two games at the same time. We currently have a team that can effectively do one game at the time. About six months ago we decided to concentrate on one game even when we have a pressure from the customers, partners and from ourselves. That is the only way for us currently to keep the quality of work at a high level. Agile way of thinking reminds us to prioritize most valuable tasks at the top of our task list.


Everybody makes mistakes. It has been less than a couple of years that we have been working to build our game company. I can count multiple mistakes during that time. Mostly the reasons behind the mistakes have been lack of experience and knowledge. Some are based on our personalities and some just because we have not had time to process the information enough. When you make mistake based on lack of experience and knowledge, you may think that if you had used more of your time making studies and plans before making the decisions, you would be making less mistakes. One can use all the time in a world just learning, studying and analysing. When do you know that you have enough information. For me I don't even try to fool myself to think that decision I make is the only possible one. For the current information I have, it feels like it, but tomorrow when I have more information my decision might be different one. The agile way of thinking gives us a possibility to make decision based on current information. With keeping the focus we go full speed ahead and if or when we encounter new information we can change our direction based on new current knowledge and experience. It is not a problem, if you make mistakes. It is a problem if you don't learn from them.


Our focus is in cross-platform multiplaying games. We want to give our players good entertainment with some need of using brains during the game play. We have created platform that enables us to create good quality multiplaying experience and that enables us to concentrate on game content in a long run. There is still much to do before the platform is ready and productized but it is in a very good shape already. We have published one game in Habbo hotels globally. It has been translated in 11 languages and over 850 000 people have tried the game. Earlier this week we delivered our first real release candidate for Windows Phone 8 store review of our Permia - Duels title, the first Permia-themed collectible card game. Release date will be published in near future.  Our third game Pet Shows is close to be ready as well. It has been in that phase already about half a year, but because of our concentration for one game at the time, we have not had possibility to finish the game. Currently we are three full-time entrepreneurs, one part time architect, one advisor and a partner organisation. We thank all the customers, trainees, board members and subcontracting partners from the journey so far.

Please, sign up for the Permia - Duels beta.

- Jani Tietäväinen / CEO of Seepia Games

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