PGC Helsinki Digital: Five things about autonomous teams

"If we give our games team the freedom to try new things, they also have to accept the responsibility that goes with that"

PGC Helsinki Digital: Five things about autonomous teams

There are various team types, all of which can be found within the games industry when it comes to development. However, one that is on the rise is the autonomous team type.

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital, Hutch COO Andy Watson took to the stage to discuss five things about autonomous teams.

Essentially, by having autonomous teams, a company is "trusting the team to try new things and improve."


Servant leadership involves "mentoring individuals and teams to grow and develop." A servant leader needs to make sure that the team has all the tools that need to be successful and be transparent in terms of performance.

"If we give our games team the freedom to try new things, they also have to accept the responsibility that goes with that," said Watson.

Next, freedom and responsibility. This means the team is free to pursue their ideas, but they will be held accountable for the calls that they make, freedom and responsibility go hand in hand when it comes to autonomous teams. This provides different pressure to a group, given to adds extra burden that individuals may not be prepared for.


Building trust is crucial in this environment or any for that matter. However, knowing a team member personally and professionally will build that trust. It also pays off to be totally transparent with the teams, allowing them full access to all data, including sales.

Watson explained that in order to understand why a team is working the way they do, Hutch holds "weekly briefings with the entire studio." Furthermore, it encourages all employees to ask questions to build trust and understanding.

The next aspect of an autonomous team is agile development. Essentially, it means placing faith in the group by giving all the development tools to the team, allowing them to self organise and move forward with the project.

"If you're going to trust the team and allow them to make the decisions, you need to trust that they make those decisions for the right people," said Watson.

Finally, the community is at the core of the team; they must be aware of who exactly they are creating the game for. This will allow the developer to discover what works, find out what its consumers are after.

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from September 14th to the 18th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place throughout the week here.

Staff Writer

Kayleigh is the Staff Writer for Besides PGbiz and PCGI she has written as a list writer for Game Rant, rambling about any and all things games related. You can also find her on Twitter talking utter nonsense.