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Need help with procrastinating business partner

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AndersMalmgren, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Hey guys. My brother and business partner is suffering from a sever case of procrastinating. This is affecting the business negatively. Are there any good every day routines he can follow, way of life guides etc, he can read up on? I really need this to stop asap. I guess i'm asking about life coaching guidelines that I can give him or similar.

    Thanks
     
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  2. Ony

    Ony

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    Have him watch this:
     
  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    If it's been happening for more than 2 months, fire him. If not, try that video.
     
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  4. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Thanks! Some good points in there, and the never going to feel like it is really spot on :D
     
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  5. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    I wish he was an employee, or not crucial to the team for that matter :D
     
  6. Ony

    Ony

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    Realizing that we're not special, and in fact no one ever "feels like it" is a total game changer. If you want to do something, you have to just do it. I love that.
     
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  7. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    I don't know how else to put this but

    If somebody isn't doing the work they're being paid for, they're more a team liability than crucial.
     
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  8. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    I think "don't hire relatives" would be a solid way to put it. :p
     
  9. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    If he atleast was hired I could fire him :p
     
  10. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    I have felt that a long time for the 2018.x migration. Its just been sitting there but finally I have taken the time :D
     
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  11. ShilohGames

    ShilohGames

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    However each person decides to do it, there needs to be some way to keep a concise list of action items, because that helps keep people on task. I find that having a written list of action items can be extremely helpful. I keep several different ones in simple text documents. I spend some time each day to maintaining those lists. If any single item is too big or vague to take action on, I break it down into multiple items. I also keep separate text documents for any creative ideas I have. These are management things I do to keep myself on task. In addition to that, you can have group task management solutions as well.

    Beyond that, put your alarm clock on the opposite side of the room instead of by the bed, and set it to beep or buzz instead of playing music. If you can snooze an alarm clock without physically getting out of bed, it is of nearly no value. If you have to physically get out of bed and walk across the room to turn off an alarm, then you will most likely stay up and begin your day.

    Set aside specific time each day for exercise. Do some type of cardio each day at a specific time. It helps with mood and energy levels. Make the decision one time, and then execute it each day.
     
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  12. snacktime

    snacktime

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    Take it as a lesson in the importance of setting expectations. If you go into business with someone you have a personal relationship with, and you value that relationship, then either side needs to be able to walk away at any time. That needs to be explicitly agreed to up front. I would have made it a point to say if it feels like it's not working, I'm going to come to you and ask is this still working. I'm setting the stage for how to approach it when it doesn't go well.

    You need to go back and do that now. It's going to be harder but it's necessary just as much as it was when you guys first started on the project.


    You have to treat the business side like a business that's another expectation that should have been set. What you have now is that was not set, and you never set the stage for how to deal with one side losing interest. So I'm guessing your brother is simply avoiding you because you guys never set the stage for how to handle this type of situation. Which is why fixing that is what you need to do first. Why he has lost interest is less important at this stage. It will happen again it might even be you next time. Fix the expectations then deal with the why it's not working.
     
  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Get up in his grill and be like, "Yo dawg why you being a bum?"

    then just wing it from there.


    Seriously though, have you just asked why?
     
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  14. Billy4184

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    There's always a reason. Approaching other people's psychological issues with self-help guides/routines, in my experience rarely if ever works. People aren't the way they are for no reason, and they won't be at their best without a reason either. If you really want to sort it out I suggest starting by figuring out how to get him to tell you what's up.
     
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  15. AndersMalmgren

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    Communication is another problem we have, I can write on teams and he doesn't respond for days or even at all sometimes. And that's for business/tech/team related stuff.

    I have tried to in small steps asks about how much he works each day etc. But it's hard getting anything out of him.
     
  16. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    This.

    Do you work remotely from one another or something?

    In any case, if Teams isn't working for you then try some other form of communication. I'd suggest having a drink together and just generally discussing how things are going. As a part of that, try "Is everything ok? I've noticed... [whatever has caused you to get worried about this]."

    That's the friendly, caring approach. The catch to that approach is that you have to actually care. As in, don't take that approach if you're not willing to a) actively listen and b) make changes to accommodate in case everything isn't ok.

    If you can't commit to that approach then I'd suggest a more direct, businesslike approach. If you have discussed expectations in the past and are mutually clear on them (ie: you have formally confirmed your commitments with one another, preferably in writing for future reference at times like these) then you can simply raise how they're not being met lately, and ask how that can be changed. If you haven't discussed expectations in the past or it turns out you weren't in fact clear on them... well, forget the "procrastination" thing and work on clearing that up, because it's entirely possible the "procrastination" is a symptom rather than the underlying issue.

    Either way, work hard to see things from his point of view. That doesn't mean you have to agree with his point of view, it just means understanding his perspective. You might also have to help him see yours.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  17. AndersMalmgren

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    I have asked him why, he has sleep depravation etc. But there is always a reason why you neglect your work. As a business partner I dont care what the reason is, as a brother offcourse I care. Thing is its starting to mentally challenging for me too.

    Teams as in microsoft teams. Yeah, we work remotely
     
  18. angrypenguin

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    Do you make a point of having in-person catch-ups about the business? I find this is important, even if the actual work is done remotely.

    This particular problem, or the business?

    Sure. The intent behind the question is to frame things so that you're solving them together, rather than making accusations or placing blame. So that's the next question - how can the two of you do that?

    I definitely agree with stuff said by others earlier about clearly defined task lists and such. They help focus, they can also help communication and clarity, and they can help identify issues that might not even be recognised otherwise. (Eg: maybe that task has been sitting there for two weeks because it's not as clear as originally thought.)

    Also, the whole discipline and just getting on with the dang job thing. That's important, and it's genuinely hard to start with.
     
  19. AndersMalmgren

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    We mostly meet in person on family gatherings :D Had a few kickoffs etc over the years though. (gotta enjoy that tax free alcohol :D).

    Yeah, I meant this particular problem.

    We have our backlog which are assigned so the tasks is pretty much clear.

    But thanks, good ideas. Maybe I should fix a afterwork so we can have a sit down and talk.
     
  20. TenKHoursDev

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    I think my life/stars just changed.
     
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  21. ikazrima

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    If sleep deprivation is his main reason, seek treatment.
    I'm suffering from DSPD, it greatly affects how much time I can work per day.
     
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  22. Ony

    Ony

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    It's powerful stuff right there.
     
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  23. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    If you are in charge, be in charge. Just ask directly. "Yo bro, you've been unreliable at work lately. Tell me what's going on." If you feel nervous about saying stuff like this, just do it. Rehearsal will make it worse. It's like asking a girl on a date. Or throwing a spear at a cave bear. Don't think, just do it. People will respect you when they know that you care.

    You can't fix whatever the problem is yourself. You have to make them realize there is a problem, understand what it is, and then they will fix it themselves.

    It is ironic that the same people who are always up in arms about worker rights and evil corporations suggest firing your own brother after two months of subpar work performance. This is beyond ridiculous. People have ups and downs in their life. Most likely brother has just lost interest in the goal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  24. AndersMalmgren

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    I'm an entrepreneur and are always on the same side of corporate business, don't know were you thought otherwise about me. But this has been going on alot longer than 2 months. And I wouldn't even fire a none relative before trying to resolve this. Though, if it wasn't my own brother I would probably have been alot faster about it.
     
  25. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Not you. Somebody else suggested to fire, which is not only inhuman but just bad business.
     
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  26. AndersMalmgren

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    Ah, that guy.. I know what you mean :D
     
  27. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    As a procrastinator myself, there is nothing short of actual consequences for their actions which will change their behavior.
     
  28. Ryiah

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    And American if our president is any indication. :p

    You'reFired.jpg
     
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  29. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    "I'm not a real executive, but I do play one on tv"
     
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  30. devotid

    devotid

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    Find a new partner and nothing will light a fire under him more than that. ;)

    You cant fly with the eagles when youre hanging out with a bunch of sea gulls.
     
  31. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Seems like it is more of a personal thing than a professional thing. Just talk to him. Maybe just set aside an hour from your workday and give him a call or take a half day or full day off from work and go see him in person hang out talk. Maybe he is burned out. Maybe his passion has changed to something else. Maybe he found a romantic partner and is distracted, maybe he already had one and there is some issue. Point is there can be so many possible and completely valid reasons. Focusing on processes and such is silly I think. Just hang out and talk.
     
  32. ippdev

    ippdev

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    Did he get the mundanities to be his umbrella of achievement? Perhaps the dev side is taking too long and his hype is blown out? I myself have a limit I will involve myself with something if it looks like it is getting convoluted or micromanaged or I become a cog in someone else's machine.. I mean some things are complex and take time but other things like seriously..having a seven person meeting to determine if a button should be where it is or moved 32 pixels to the right...that will kill your most hyped about final product team member's enthusiasm... A good resume piece becomes vaporware. Instead of tasking him, ask him what tasks he should be doing. If he is not engaged he is not interested. Make him interested. Or just effing do it yerself. Then if it ain't done right you ain't got nobody to bitch at except yerself. Then you will be forged in the fires and either self immolate or become Damascus steel.
     
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  33. Ryiah

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    It wouldn't surprise me if he were feeling discouraged. Virtual Warfighter was rushed out the door in a very early state because another game with roughly similar gameplay showed up out of nowhere on Steam. Said game quickly became a heavy competitor and every indication I've seen is that they've basically absorbed all but the most diehard of fans of VW.

    The result is that the latest reviews - both positive and negative - point out that the servers are dead. A multiplayer game is not going to be enjoyable if you don't have anyone to play with. One of the developers (I'm assuming the OP) responded that they were going to implement bots to populate them, but in a game about realistic combat a bot is just not going to cut it.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/517020/Virtual_Warfighter/
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/496240/Onward/
     
  34. ShilohGames

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    You definitely need to start with communications. It is very possible that the project has taken long enough that he simply lost interest or his priorities have changed. Lots of people start strong in projects, because excitement is massive early in projects. Very few people are strong finishers on projects, especially when talking about projects that take years to fully complete.
     
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  35. AndersMalmgren

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    Had a good talk yesterday, he will start with a new routine. Everyday at 18:00 sharp he will put everything aside, turn off youtube, send out the missus, feed the cat. Then 1 hour will be dedicated to the game.

    Every day 7 days a week. That way he will get a minimum of 7 hours a week into the code base. Also if he get started he might sit longer. I think that routine will help-.
     
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  36. AndersMalmgren

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    Hes my brother and I'm not a quitter, though I have been a entrepreneur my entire life. I hope he has some of me inside him :D
     
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  37. ShilohGames

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    He may or he may not. I have outlasted people on a number of projects over the years. I am a never quit entrepreneur myself. One thing I learned was the importance of simply accepting that not everybody is like me and understanding that is ok. Most people shine early in projects and then drown in projects later on. It is possible your brother has lost interest and drive for the project. If that is the case, communicate well and come up with a solution where you still get to be close to your brother without your brother being involved in the project. Good luck with it.
     
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  38. angrypenguin

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    Very much this.

    And if you don't think this applies to you, then it doubly applies to you.
     
  39. Kiwasi

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    Perhaps you should be?

    There is a massive tendency in games, and especially on this forum, to stick to a project well past the point that its proven to be a commercial failure. There is an attitude that if people just keep working on something, somehow it will turn around and suddenly become a viable product.

    As coders, we are all familiar with the principle of fail fast. If something is broken or won't work, we want to know as early as possible. Perhaps we should apply the same principle as game developers.

    Perhaps your partner is onto something. Perhaps your project really isn't viable. Perhaps its time to move on.

    (And perhaps not either. Just throwing out another viewpoint for consideration.)
     
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  40. AndersMalmgren

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    There is also alot of people not knowing jack S*** about business giving advice ;) Not saying you are one of them

    As long as we have fans like this


    I will keep on working, plus 3 years into development is nothing
     
  41. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    probably by this point in the project Anders has enough metrics to know if he is making returns or not from the project.

    But even if the battle has been lost (against a competing game), that's not the war. Maybe while the victor enjoys their spoils, that's the time to start a new project with lessons taken both from the original but also from the competitor. You know, drop a bomb on them while they eat christmas dinner, that sort of thing. This of course assumes there is money to continue funding the war...

    Or something totally different altogether. But yeah, if people are jumping ship that's definitely a good sign it may be time to reexamine things.
     
  42. angrypenguin

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    You talk about other people "not knowing jack S***", but right here you're confusing how much people like your stuff with how many people like your stuff. While both of those are important to commercial viability, after a certain threshold one is far more important than the other.

    That instinctive, knee-jerk reaction of dismissing the question and pretending it's "nothing" is macho rubbish. It's exactly the autopilot Mel Robbins is talking about in that video @Ony posted.

    Three years isn't "nothing", and if you're honest with yourself you know it. That doesn't mean that your game isn't worth it, but shrugging it off like it's nothing definitely means you're ignoring decisions rather than facing them. I suggest having an honest, critical think about why you're not willing to genuinely and openly consider those things.
     
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  43. Ryiah

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    At this point I believe it's safe to say that the goal has gone from being a commercially viable game to being a passion project that he can share with his fans.
     
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  44. AndersMalmgren

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    We are building the perfect shooter engine it can be reused ;)

    Anyway, quiting is fine, but it's a decision made by management not some single team member procrastinating. Also he did this devlog just a month ago, you wouldn't do that if you want to quit, plus he said he does not want to.



    Again 3 years is nothing for a large projecr, I have put in more time in renovating my flat than that :)
     
  45. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    i was just speaking in generalities, adding to what other people were saying. I wouldn't try to give you direct advice here because I don't know much at all about your project and it's not really my business.
     
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  46. Ryiah

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    Your brother is more than just a single team member though. He's half of the project's staff and based off of what we've been told about this project I think it would be safe to call him a partner rather than just a mere team member.
     
  47. AndersMalmgren

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    He is a third but yeah, he is most definitely a partner
     
  48. Kiwasi

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    Notwithstanding my occasional forays into freelance development, I'll openly admit to knowing jack about the indie business. Almost all of my business experience has been a corporate cog number 15,732 inside large multinationals.

    The world is very different when you've got millions of dollars sitting behind you. One of my early companies openly bragged that only 1 in 500 of their projects that were started were carried out to completion. They prided themselves in being able to identify projects that would not succeed early, and cut them off before too much money was spent on them. There were people with entire careers built entirely around the front end loading process.

    Anyway, not saying this project should be killed. Just that it should be evaluated to be killed.

    And this is totally fine too. I have both Pond Wars and my YouTube channel still going as passion projects, neither is ever going to be commercially viable. YouTube actually costs me money each month.
     
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  49. angrypenguin

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    Ok, you've now qualified that as "for a large project". So why is this the best large project to be investing so much time into? Is it worth continued investment? You mentioned re-use - is it perhaps time to put that to the test and pivot? What other "large project" could you be putting time into? Heck, are "large projects" even what you should be putting your time into?

    If you're just repeating "it's nothing" over and over again then you're dismissing a bunch of really important questions.
     
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  50. bobisgod234

    bobisgod234

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    Do they feel that way? You should put more effort into finding out how they feel about the project, instead of how you feel about the project.
     
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