Double Fine boss reveals is management style during Ask Me Anything session

Tim Schafer: ‘Hire people smarter than you – then get out of their way’

Veteran games developer Tim Schafer has shared some of his secrets to building the best development team, urging more studio heads to loosen their grip on their most talented staff.

During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, spotted by GamaSutra, Schafer said that managing teams this way can be hard but very rewarding in the long run.

“My management style, for better or worse, is to hire people smarter than me, and then get out of their way,” he said. 

“Whenever they are doing something I wouldn’t do, before I butt in I ask myself, "Do I really need to control this?" Because even if their way is different, it’s probably six-of-one-half-dozen-of the-other and not worth me overruling them. 

“Then I just try to do my best work and work hard to make great stuff myself and basically earn the right to be on the great team I’ve assembled. Balancing teams’ creative freedom with making money: letting the team make its own creative decisions builds their capacity to do even bigger stuff in the future, so I think giving them freedom makes for a more skilled team which makes for a better product and means more money, hopefully.”

Schafer recently saw success with his latest crowdfunding campaign through new platform Fig with Psychonauts 2 raising more than $3.3m.

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