The topic of Kickstarter projects being delivered late comes back to me every few weeks. Talking to other gamers, reading content on BoardGameGeek, or listening to a podcast, I encounter yet another story of a game, an expansion, a box of miniatures or wargaming terrain being just late – or horribly late. In fact, a vast majority of Kickstarter rewards arrive to their backers late, and it seems that everyone expects their products to be late. But it does not have to be that way.
We’ve recently been to UK Games Expo, where we had the chance to talk to our backers about both Exodus: Edge of Extinction and Mistfall. Most were pleasantly surprised that everything is on time, and that they will be receiving their games as planned. Some even jokingly asked us if we could reveal some of our secrets to other publishers, so that they could do what we did. And now, with first copies of Exodus: Edge of Extinction reaching the backers, we decided to did exactly that: reveal our method. So, if you want to be on time, just follow these three steps:
1. Do your research.
This is really crucial: be sure that you know beforehand what the costs of everything are and how much time you will need to manufacture your product. If in doubt, try to ask others who already know how some of these things are done – or at least take a good look at Kickstarter projects similar to yours – and never leave anything for later. Have everything you possibly can researched and planned, always taking into account the possibility of things taking exactly as longs as expected (basically, treat 3-5 weeks as 5 weeks), and giving yourself some extra time in case something is late.
2. Set your deadlines.
After researching everything and giving yourself some extra time just in case, set a hard deadline for each step of your project – including deadlines for you personally. Put each of them in a single timeline (using any software you see fit – or even a traditional paper calendar), and be sure that anyone involved with the project knows and has accepted them, and has easy access to them.
3. Stick to your deadlines.
No matter what, do not change them. Do not move them. And if you’re late, don’t throw up your hands and delay everything by a week. Instead, burn the candle on both ends if needed, work through the night, and minimize the consequences of the delay in such a way, that as many of the following deadlines as possible are met.
And that is it. That is seriously it. That is how we managed to be on time with Progress: Evolution of Technology, with Exodus: Edge of Extinction – and that is how we will be on time with Mistfall. Now you also possess this not-so-arcane knowledge, and can pass it on – free of charge! – to anyone you think might need it. And if you make a use of it, come to our booth at any convention to brag about it. We’ll be happy to shake your hand!