MMORPG Holy Trinity and Startup Management

Just a thought from my gaming past and my startup and management work: how the MMO Holy Trinity has real-life management and startup application. Since I’m working on a DevOps and software startup, that’s what I’m going to reference explaining this thought.

Let’s start with an assumption, that every successful business group needs every trinity role covered. Tank would be the business lead and more broadly, a project manager. DPS would be the responsibility of primary team members -usually either sales, or developers, or QA, etc. Healer would be the technical lead.

A little more explanation:

  • Tank is the one that needs most resilience, they are first in line and taking most hits. That is what PMs are supposed to do – take pressure, find agreements, move the process forward and protect their team;
  • DPS is where the work gets done. If DPS people are exposed to avoidable pressure, many meetings and red tape, bad things happen. They may get paralyzed and have no time left for actual work, or burn out, or quit for better opportunity, or all of those together or in various combinations. DPS people must be focused on their work, and it’s the task of the other people to establish that.
  • Healer is the one who needs to be very close to both the DPS team and the tank and make sure that everything is under control and provide help where help is needed. That is what technical leads are supposed to do, but with one important extra – which is interpersonal skills. Technical leads must be very close to their teams personally and they must care. Technical leads may also bail out their tank (PM) if the circumstances require that.

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