Business

Supercell’s Unique Management: Team First, Ideas Second

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

Supercell developers should feel highly of themselves when their CEO fully has their backs and let them explore freely. The phrase “Team first, ideas second” really suites the company well and should be copied by other game companies. 


What makes a good mobile game company? Ideas and management. However, Supercell’s unique management is one thing to look at. Its upside-down style is what really makes it successful.

Supercell is known for its popular and fun games such as Clash of ClansClash Royale, and also Boom Beach. Despite no new games in 2017, the Finland-based company wrapped up a USD $2.029 billion revenue.

Supercell CEO, Ilkka Paananen, spoke about the success of his team during a panel in GDC 2018. If you do not know, Supercell does not like to invest in developers. They usually stick with 10-17 developers each game.

The main idea of Supercell’s unique management is that there is no central process. “Every team can have their own ways of work,” he said. “The less the management…had to do with the game, the better chances of success.”

Clash Royale and Boom Beach were two titles that many higher-ups in the company do not believe will succeed. But eventually, in Supercell, ideas are more recognizable from teams. The structure of its organization can be viewed through this image:

Supercell's Unique Management

It’s different from majority normal companies where it is believed ideas come from the CEO and groups will just listen and act upon it:

Supercell's Unique Management

One of our favorite quotes from Paananen was:

“Another path is we let this team do their thing although we don’t believe it will be successful. But at the very least, if they do their thing, they’ll learn. But the most important thing is that we still keep our culture.”

When running a company, it’s fine letting your employees explore. However, keeping things intact and in culture is also important.

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Supercell developers should feel highly of themselves when their CEO has their backs fully and let them explore freely. The phrase “Team first, ideas second” suites the company well and should be copied by other game companies.

Edited by Devi

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