The challenges of being a project manager in an exponentially growing game company – Interview with Felipe Moritz, Caleta Gaming

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Felipe Moritz, Project Manager at Caleta Gaming

Having previously worked in QA, a few years ago Felipe moved into project management, helping to deliver more than 60 premium online casino games at Caleta Gaming. We caught up with Felipe to discuss his role at the company.

What does a project manager (PM) do in a casino gaming company?

As a PM here at Caleta, I overlook everything that’s happening in the company from a production perspective. From the start of each project, I gather each requirement and specification to create the project scope. 

After all tasks are registered, assigned and estimated, I follow up the ongoing research and development. This goes for new games, features or improvements. This follow-up includes looking for gaps in our development process, organizing meetings, suggesting changes and improvements and controlling all project scope changes. Developing games, especially casino games, is a dynamic and ever-changing process.

Last but not least, I make the project visible to our stakeholders, so they all have all the tools they need to make decisions.

How did you get started and how was your path to becoming a project manager?

Following a couple of great internships after I graduated, my goal soon became to work in software production, with a focus on product delivery. However, I joined Caleta to manage the QA team. I only became PM later on, when the company needed someone to focus on project and processes management.  The stakeholders saw potential in my work and invited me to try this new role.

Was working in the games industry something that you always wanted?

Since I was a little kid, games have played a very important role in my life. I learned a lot from tabletop, classic tabletop RPG, console video games, computer games, and more. They motivated me to read, to learn other languages and much more. Now as I enter my eighth year working in the industry, I see how this background has helped me to where I am today.

Do you think that working with QA was something that helped you to be a better project manager?

Yes, absolutely. QA is not just an area in a company or a part of the development process. It is a mindset. Working with quality assurance gives you the whole view of the development process, scope changes (since you’re the one promoting the fixes and improvements) and improves your feedback skills, which are all important for a PM.

What are the main challenges you face as a PM?

Being omnipresent. For the nerds, I compare it to the all-seeing eye of Sauron. From someone who needs support solving an issue to managing the scope changes, you need to be on top of everything. It’s very challenging but I love it.

What skills are key to overcome those challenges?

Organization is the main skill. You need to have everything documented and visible for all who need it. Your main goal is to keep everyone involved, well informed and with all the tools needed to execute their tasks. Being proactive helps a lot, predicting changes and acting preemptively to mitigate problems. And patience, a lot of patience. Your emotional intelligence is challenged every single day. 

What do you think is the most rewarding thing about working as a PM in a game company?

It must be seeing the games you’ve worked so hard on being played in some of the world’s more renowned casins. I love hearing feedback on our games from players, customers and partners. Earlier this year, Caleta was shortlisted in the ‘Best Bingo Provider’ category at the EGR B2B Awards, which was also a proud moment for the whole team.

Caleta has customers all over the world. Do you find it difficult to manage projects whose products have to be delivered to customers in different cultures?

This is the modern world. We have customers from Mexico to Japan, and I won’t lie, translating and localizing our games takes a huge effort. Especially since we support 12 different languages and more than 160 active currencies.
Also, each market has preference for different types of games, themes and features. So we need to be up to date when producing games for specific markets. It is very challenging, but we have all the expertise needed. Our amazing team is always focused on delivering the best for all our customers, no matter where they’re from. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in project management in the gambling industry?

Don’t focus only on the project management part of your skill set. Take your time to learn about the business and the industry. Always keep studying and improving your skill set. The best way to solve problems is to draw upon your background and previous experience. One other point I’d add: don’t forget to also focus on your softer skills. Technically, good professionals will have a similar skill set, but experiences and social skills can be a key differentiator. Invest in yourself, evolve and grow not only as a professional, but also as a person.