Dorian Kieken recently appeared at the Montreal International Games Summit, he is a development director at the fabled game company BioWare. With a Masters Degree in Project Management, Dorian has worked in the video games industry for over seven years.
He has been credited on twelve titles in roles ranging from Game Design to Production. In the past three years, Dorian has been actively involved with agile methodologies and online planning, introducing them to DC studios and then improving them at BioWare.
Recently, he has been leading the move to a new management tool at BioWare and has also become an active contributor to the Agile Project Management group within Electronic Arts. Dorian is currently working as a Development Director on Mass Effect 2.
I caught up with Dorian at the MIGS event and was lucky enough to have a chat with him on varied topics. We touched base on his work history and lessons learned when working at a more rigid developer (DC studios) to a more forward thinking one in BioWare.
Dorian's big passion though is effective planning methodology, dealing with games at the scope of BioWares requires an immense amount of preparation. To achieve an effective planning structure Dorian worked with a company called Hansoft, based out of Sweden, and leveraged their project management tools to bring a living plan methodology to BioWare and the EA group at large.
The planning process is organic and able to ebb and flow enabling them to decide quickly what tasks can be discarded in favor of more important choices as well as track milestones and challenges effectively. Dorian is the Development Director on Mass Effect 2 and a true indication of his planning system bringing results is that the game is on target for it's long announced January 26, 2010 release date.
Notorious for a 'when it's done' release mantra BioWare typically has slippery release dates that change as the teams adjust to challenges on the projects. Their new method of planning their projects, spearheaded by Dorian's hard work, has helped the teams stay on target and achieve milestones as specified.
Below is a stream of the interview I conducted with Dorian Kieken. It is a great listen as Dorian discusses the challenges they faced as well as his passion for table top games, BioWare as an organization and many facets of the development process on blockbusters like Dragons Age and Mass Effect.