A week late, and a system short

It is time for our “annual” off-site planning meeting.

Generally, a business does not have resolutions; however, it does (or should, at least) have goals and a plan. It is essential, in my opinion, that the direction of a company be revisited on a regular basis, from the top down. Rather than always trying to simply run in a straight line, making quick decisions to adjust course based on immediate obstacles and rewards, one needs to occasionally check the compass. This is, of course, much easier to do for a small business like ours than for a large corporation. Still, it is the failure to reassess that can lead to billion dollar software companies forgetting the basics of development, or huge information companies experimenting with doing “evil”.

Because we are still small enough to fit all of our corporate decision-makers into the same room, I can schedule an off-site planning meeting in order to reaffirm the fundamental goals of the business. We can then make course corrections as necessary and decide on specific goals, or milestones, for the short and medium terms. As long as we do this frequently enough, none of our turns should be too dramatic and we should always be moving in roughly the desired direction.

The timing of this meeting is intended to work in conjunction with our end/beginning of year break, when we return revitalized and ready to get things done. Instead of a manic, unfocused burst of energy, this overall look at our goals helps focus the effort in the correct direction. The decision to have the meeting away from the daily distractions of an office is important, especially since we work from home offices, where there is twice as much to interrupt us. For several hours, as long as it takes, we just disappear from here. Of course, we do choose a venue that allows for frequent relaxation, too; this is not your standard business meeting.

This particular meeting had to be postponed for a week because during the previously scheduled time, I had to be at a funeral, and that was not conducive to a positive outcome. Now, though, I am really looking forward to this, especially since it feels like the intervening week has been spent just meandering, and it is high time to put that all behind us.

Until this off-site meeting is concluded, we will not have an official set of goals for 2007 (and beyond) and the specific plans to reach them, and once that happens, most of the details will not be published anyway. However, there are a few general items that one can expect. We will certainly have many new game releases this year, including several to provide better Windows Vista support prior to its general release. I will be spending time as a Director of the Association of Shareware Professionals and working to build the ASP Indie Games SIG. There will also be something of a surprise. Shhh….

One tangible goal for early 2007 will be a brand new development system. I have a huge sentimental attachment to my current PC system, since it still has the soul of my original Pentium system purchased in 1995 (albeit with every single component upgraded at least twice). Its spirit is twelve years old, which is at least 96 in computer years, so it deserves to retire now and live the quiet life.

Quad-Core, here we come.

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