I’m continuing through cycles of gameplay and refinement and feel that things are progressing well with the development of the game itself.  We continue to play through the game and refine things with each play through.  It’s about 20 minutes to play one game, which is within the range I was driving for.  We will continue to iterate through gameplay while the other pieces are worked on, but feel like we could be done shortly if we needed to be with the cards and rules.

What we’re not close with is the art, and there’s quite a bit of art to do.  Right now, our deck has 18 different kinds of cards in it, and a total of 58 cards.  Initially I was thinking each card would have unique art, but don’t see that as a reality if I want to finish this year.  It will be ok if the cards have the same art, so that means 18 drawings instead of 58; much more manageable.  Still, of all the things needed to be done, the art is going to take the longest.

Some Project Management

As I organize all the items that need to be done, I start to relate tasks to each other and identify what can be done at the same time vs. what has a dependency on something else getting done first.  For example, I can’t start manufacturing cards until the art is done, so the manufacturing is dependent on the art, but I can get the seller account set up with Amazon without the game being finished.  When I look at all the tasks in this way with estimates of time on each task, I start to see the things that are going to take the most amount of time.  In project management, this is referred to as the critical path.  The art is going to take a while, even at a good pace.  If I can get my daughter to do 2 drawings a week, that’s still 9 weeks for art.  I think more realistically, I will get one per week, so the art will take 18 weeks if we stick with 18 cards.  The art won’t be finished until all the cards are decided on, and many tasks such as the manufacturing, shipping to distribution centers, and some of the marketing can’t be finished until the art is done.

Critical Path
The Critical Path is the path through all tasks that will take the most amount of time when dependencies are considered.

It is important to understand the critical path when managing a product or project because delays on these tasks will delay your project overall.  It’s critical to manage these critical path items closely to stay on track if you have deadlines to meet.  Fortunately, I don’t have a hard deadline to meet, but at the same time, I don’t want this to be a 2-year process either.

Do you know what’s on the critical path of your project?  Now is a good time to identify these tasks so you can actively manage them.

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