Beyond Critical is now available for purchase!
  • Beyond Critical
    Beyond Critical
    by Keith Fuller

    My book on Leadership in Game Development is now available!

Leader of Developers

 Leader of Developers

As determined by Fuller Game Production, the best leaders of game developers (alphabetically) are:


Mike Acton

Bryan Mashinter

Josh Nilson

 Please read the following to find out why this distinction is important.


What Is "Leader of Developers"?

                The Leader of Developers (LOD) is a discipline-agnostic designation conferred upon someone who has demonstrated exceptional people-focused leadership of one or more game developers, regardless of the size of the team, budget of the project, nature of the work, or sector of the industry. Although leadership experience is a prerequisite, the LOD does not necessarily indicate tenure within an organization or a number of years spent in the games industry.

                There is no shortage of deficient or mediocre leadership in game development. While there are many good leaders out there, too, the LOD is not about good. It is about excellence.

What Does This Designation Mean?

You value people.

You are a leader.

You actively work to help each developer under your care reflect on their passion, improve what they do, and contribute increasingly to their company.

You understand the vision of your organization and strive to align each developer’s passion with that vision, or help them find a place where that can happen.

You place great priority on mentoring.

You believe in the continual improvement of people and teams.

You have been recognized by industry peers as representing the topmost percentile of people leaders in game development.

Who Confers An LOD?

                It is conferred by Fuller Game Production in counsel with two or more established leaders within the industry, themselves a recipient of the LOD designation. This decision will only be made after rigorous examination of the candidate’s qualities, experience, and stated leadership values. Factors such as peer reviews, reviews by reports, and verbal and written candidate statements will be taken into account.

Who Can Receive An LOD?

Anybody who has demonstrated exceptional leadership of game developers can be recommended for an LOD, regardless of age, seniority, team size, duration of career, discipline, or title.

Why Would Someone Want An LOD?

                Receiving the designation of LOD is a public distinction that – in the realm of people leadership in the games industry – you have equals but no superiors. Having an LOD means you are the most valuable person an employer could put in a leadership position. It’s a feather in the cap of your organization that you work there, it’s a mark of highest distinction with regard to future employability, and most importantly for the people you lead it is an outward indication of the value you place on them.

Why Does The LOD Exist?

                The LOD designation exists to give due recognition to quality leadership and to clearly differentiate from those who have not proven their abilities as a leader. Far too often in our industry someone is put in a position of leadership as a result of tenure, nepotism, or luck of the draw. Simply giving a person the title of “Lead” does not mean they are a good leader, but until now we’ve had no way of distinguishing good from bad, exceptional from acceptable.

                Poor leadership has been responsible for too many project failures, studio closures, and reductions in force. Devaluing of developers has been a problem for the games industry for too long. Creating the LOD is a step toward indicating that deficient leadership will not be tolerated, because developers are too important.