Updates on the Studio Manager Position

We’ve seen some comments regarding our recently advertised position for a Studio Manager. Comments such as: “That is a lot of stuff to put on one person…”. Because of this, we felt the urge to address some of the worries and concerns raised in those comments.

Without any insight into our organization, the role could come across as overwhelming and too demanding for a single individual. In the ad we are listing everything from Office Management, HR, Biz Dev, PR coordination, Legal, Porting/Release/QA management, areas that in a bigger studio would have one single person (or more!) responsible for each. 

Our mistake was to not also explain how Frictional Games works and give context to this long list of responsibilities. While the list of responsibilities might seem like an impossible assignment at first, it is important not to mistake these for what they would look like at a bigger studio. Let’s give some examples:

  • We are a distributed team and only as many as 9 people are currently working out of our physical office in Malmö. This means that taking care of the daily running of the office is not something we currently have to spend a lot of effort on. Most of the time this just takes care of itself and needs some minor oversight.
  • We already have long and successful partnerships for things like outsourcing of art, porting, QA, and localization. A Studio Manager would not need to constantly evaluate new partners and hunt down new firms to work with. Most of the time the job would simply be to maintain dialog with these partners, and handle a handful of larger issues as they appear. The situation with stores and publishers is very similar but we’re hoping we can be even more proactive when it comes to finding more events/deals/campaigns to attend, with a new Studio Manager onboard.
  • When it comes to PR the important thing here is that we don’t release games very often. This means that any larger focus on PR will not be an everyday occurrence, but come in bursts every second or third year when a new launch is approaching. We also already have a community manager and PR firm that takes care of the content and sending out information. This means the Studio Manager’s role is more a matter of making sure we have a plan and that things are coordinated. 
  • Like PR, Release Management only becomes a focus around the release of a new game or a port to a new platform. This only happens once or twice per year at most. As many of you know our games are also shorter, narrative-focused experiences and far from something that resembles “game as a service” like many other studios make. We release a game, fix any bugs that remain and then that’s it. Our games don’t require a steady stream of updates.
  • HR is something we value highly at Frictional, and something we’d want to be able to put even more focus on moving forward. We do believe we are on the right track with our HR strategy but feel we could do more. This is something we hope a new Studio Manager will enable us to do. Under the management of the Studio Manager we hope we can improve our approach when it comes to HR and might even result in further, more HR-specific, recruitments in the future. 
  • When it comes to recruitment we aren’t really recruiting more than 1-2 team members on average per year. Also this process is a collaboration between multiple team members and again, the Studio Manager is there for the big picture view and making things run smoothly.
  • When it comes to dealing with legal matters the most common issue is simply to set up existing contracts whenever a new employee or contractor joins the team. This is something that occurs once every two to three months.

The main problem we are having right now is not the workload as such, but that there is not a single person that has them as their main responsibility. This means that things are not handled as swiftly and efficiently as they might be. As a lot of these things are highly connected, so we believe that having someone with this as their focus will be extremely beneficial for the studio.

Whoever gets the role will need to use their own initiative to keep themselves busy. This is why it is so important for us to hire someone with strong creative and entrepreneurial skills. It was also very important for us to communicate the wide range of tasks required, so we hear from candidates who enjoy that sort of work.

 So, it’s safe to say that this role is much more focused on planning, coordination and delegation but with the need for more hands-on tasks emerging once in a while. The person taking on this role is in no way expected to actually execute everything themselves. We pride ourselves on being a studio that doesn’t crunch and we take care to not overwork ourselves. Being financially independent allows us to be flexible and to avoid putting unneeded pressure on people. Should our situation change and the Studio Manager become overloaded for one reason or another, we’d be sure to put in more resources where needed.

Hopefully that gives a better picture of what the role entails and also some insight into how we work here at Frictional Games.

You can see the job specification here and if this feels like this is the job for you, send us your application to apply@frictionalgames.com.

Fredrik Olsson
Executive Producer and Creative Lead

3 Replies to “Updates on the Studio Manager Position”

  1. That explains a lot, thank you for clearing things up.

    I think you should update the original article as well with these points made 🙂

  2. I mean most of this was just common sense to anyone already familiar with business jargon but cheers for clarifying everything here. Hope you find the right person for the role! <3

  3. Honestly, this explanation made things sound worse, and like you have even less understanding of why the role is so poorly thought through. It’s clear you can’t afford to staff a full team – which is fine, you’re a small indie – but you have to be realistic. No-one should be simultaneously responsible for legal, PR, biz Dev, a full array of producer-level responsibilities, general office tasks, and more. It’s just not appropriate, and as much as you pretend each responsibility will perfectly fall in place on some magical schedule, you know that’s not what game design, or the industry, is like.

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