I read this great quote from Gabe Newell in this Gamasutra article:
â€śYeah, nobody can ever say "that's not my job." Nobody ever gets to let themselves off the hook. If there's a problem, you've gotta fix it.â€ť
It demonstrates a high level of accountability at Valve, not just responsibility. The words accountability and responsibility are used interchangeably, but they donâ€™t mean the same thing and the difference is important for game development teams.
Responsibility is assignable and forward looking.Â For example, as an artist, I might be responsible for creating a model.Â As a programmer, I might be responsible for making the character jump.
Accountability is backward looking.Â Both the artist and programmer should be accountable for the character correctly jumping over the model.Â Unfortunately, a lack of accountability might lead both to ignore the problem as â€śnot their responsibilityâ€ť.
Accountability isnâ€™t as easily assignable as responsibility.Â Itâ€™s more intrinsic.Â Â
Focusing exclusively on the assignment of responsibility tends to tell developers that those making the assignments will take care of all the cracks that will happen between areas of responsibility.Â A balanced approached of delivering a part of a game and being accountable for its fun of it is harder.
The hard part is how is to grow accountability in a studio culture.Â How do you grow it in yours?