Getting involved in esports – Part 1 Project Management

Today I’m going to cover a topic of getting involved in esports and how I got started. Before I begin, I’ll give a bit of background about myself and my experience. By day, I’m an agile project manager but also have extensive esports project management experience since 2011. This article will be a bit more project management oriented but it can apply for those of you who want to get into esports.

For those interested in getting into esports or starting out, some topics like “Where do I begin” or “How do I start” may pop up frequently. The best answer is “it depends”. I know that’s a non answer so I’ll explore different scenarios.

I’m just starting out and want to get involved in esports

This is a question I get frequently and the best answer is to honestly just get involved and do something. If you specifically have an interest in project management and the events space, Canadian Tournament organizers such as BEAT esports, production companies like waveform entertainment and other online tournament providers can really open some doors. When I ran the BEAT Invitational, frequently I would get staff who would assist on our tournament in Overwatch, Dota 2 and other games; they’d then move on to be managers for large brands such as Cloud9, Ubisoft and more. That’s not to say getting involved will lead to success, these individuals were great at networking as well. However, the one thing I’ve consistently heard among peers is to just get involved. An example from my colleague Andrew Campbell aka Zyori. He got involved in starcraft organizing tournaments and before moving into shoutcasting.

You may hate tournament organization so that’s OK. The key thing is that you as an individual took a step to get involved in a growing space and you’re exploring. Perhaps tournament organization isn’t your calling but there are ton of different roles in esports and finding one is more than likely going to happen eventually. Keep at it and something will come.

I’m a project manager already and I’m interested in esports

Great! You’ve seen some stuff already, you’re a grizzled veteran potentially and you’re looking to get into esports. Issue is, esports is possible nothing like you’ve ever done. How can I get experience to do events?

Great questions! Flash back about 10 years ago (I’m old), I got started doing project co-ordination for TD Bank’s public facing site It was an incredible experience and I got to know a lot about pressure and ensuring things are done correctly. Fast forward to present day, I have a bunch of certificates in agile software development and my traditional waterfall certificate the PMP. Do any of these help me in esports? Not really but it depends on scenario to scenario.

Having a background in project management while having an interest in esports is absolutely key and will definitely set you up for the road to success. However, here are some things that I’ve learned.

  • Live LAN events are the most stressful events I’ve ever done. I’ve launched national bank campaigns and those aren’t even close to the stress of physical events
  • Each event I’ve learned a key lesson that acts as improvement for the next
    • When I did the Dota 2 BEAT Invitational Season 1, I was a terrible tournament organizer. However, we pulled the event off and we continued to persevere.
  • Getting involved early and frequently was key for my success. In 2011, when I started out, there was a lot more room for errors and tolerance on the players part. Now, ensuring everything is right is essential.
  • If I were starting out today, I’d pretend I wasn’t even a PM. I’d start off as an admin for a game that I know really well and try to understand the game from an organization standpoint after. Afterwards, I’d then work backwards into project management once I had more experience
  • Start small and work your way up. Even if it’s a small tournament with friends, putting yourself out there to organize it is a great experience
  • Your certifications help but they don’t mean anything in the space.
  • Ask questions, it’s OK!

I’ll be covering more about esports project management in the future so please keep an eye out on my blog.

Thanks for reading and please reach out with any questions.

2 thoughts on “Getting involved in esports – Part 1 Project Management”

    • Hi Timothy, not necessarily. The PMP is focused on waterfall & traditional project management (although they are modernizing their entire program). Whereas events project management is quite different. There are some aspects that are quite relevant like budgets, lessons learned, meetings etc and will give you a solid foundation though.


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