The generally rigid management structure of most companies isn't for Valve. They value contributors and making sure they focus on the task at hand. Too much order stifles creativity.
Valve prefer some anarchy in the mix rather than "institutionalising procedures," because it doesn't always work so well with games development.
“A group contributor’s job is to help other people be more productive, and in doing that you sacrifice some of your own productivity,” said Newell. Individual or group contributions are the sweet spot for game design.
"It’s a higher stress job and you get interrupted a lot more… some of the highest compensated people at the company are relatively pure individual contributors,” he continued. It's unlikely that no one particular person at the developer will be found working on more than one project at a time.
"When we started Valve, we thought about what the company needed to be good at. We realised that here, our job was to create things that hadn’t existed before," he said.
“Managers are good at institutionalising procedures, but in our line of work that’s not always good. Sometimes the skills in one generation of product are irrelevant to the skills in another generation.” Some may balk at the management style at Valve but the insane success they enjoy cannot be denied.
Newell talks more on Valve's approach to games
01 May 2012 | By Simon Priest