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6 people found this helpful  

Not as good as it could and should be.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

I worked at Zynga full-time for more than a year

Pros

- The more workaholic, opportunistic, and political an animal you are - the higher your rate of survival and success will be.

- If you're a product guy, Zynga is the place for you. PM's are the high priests of Zynga and are the de facto designers of the games.

- Employee benefits are top notch, and if you like free t-shirts you'll be in seventh heaven. The company spends absurd amounts of money on events and trinkets.

Cons

- Projects are pressure cookers and projects involving multiple studios are a nightmare. As stress levels rise, reputations and positions are constantly put at risk. Be expert at CYA or be gone.

- The meritocracy system has been corrupted and co-opted resulting in toxic competition and opportunism. How well you do depends on how well you can spin it.

- Top performers are indeed lauded, however, since the "merit-based" promotions & bonuses are determined in a black box such accolades seem arbitrary, because they are. Visibility matters most and competency is valued less than reaction time.

- There is a systemic failure to recognize value for anyone not deemed a rockstar. A general lack of respect for everyone else's contributions is common, and at worst, competent and diligent employees are labeled as under-performers and pushed out.

- PMs have the most influence on the schedule and most have no prior experience in software or game development. Engineers end up hacking together features based on which direction the PM's feel the monetization and retention winds are blowing on any given day. Producers have no power to control scope or schedule and are expected to get teams to hit fixed dates with constantly changing requirements.

- Speaking truth to power is the fastest way to be branded an under-performer.

- The penalties for poor leadership and the constant pivots are too easily passed to subordinates. Staying afloat by standing on the bodies of those they have drowned is not an uncommon practice.

- Execs favor or ignore studios using a hero/loser dichotomy. If e-staff starts ignoring your studio don't expect to receive good projects or support.

- There are many people with talent for innovation and creativity in the company but the organization is broken by design and doesn't support them.

- Chaotic and unsustainable work/life balance. One of the company's core values is to "Put Zynga first", which translates to this: Your personal life is forfeit. You're going to work evenings and weekends with no advance warning and if you're in an external studio, keep a suitcase packed as you'll be relocated to SF or other studios for weeks and sometimes months at a time.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

- When you hire or acquire people because they are awesome at what they do, get out of their way and let them do it! It's a shame when creatively inspired people with proven track records are limited to be little more than assembly line workers for the next cloneville.

- Hold yourselves openly and directly accountable for the failures that occur, especially when projects and teams enter a death spiral due to creative, political, and studio dysfunction.

- Admit that persistent crunch is not an issue that teams can solve on their own, it's a business issue. Crunch has to be solved at the top, it's not a solution we grunts can push up.

- Stop rewarding the best of the worst. It's painfully obvious at the local level when someone is called out as a "rockstar" due to self-promotion and high visibility rather than their actual contributions to the team or project. Incentivizing short term individual goals has been a very successful way to focus people on elevating their own efforts at the expense of their team and the product.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

349 Other Employee Reviews for Zynga (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Work hard, play hard.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Beijing, Beijing (China)

    I have been working at Zynga

    Pros

    Connecting the world through games.

    Cons

    Full of challenges all through the company.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    Hard Life, with no work/life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    good games. great benefits - especially the food, good opportunities if you are willing to spend 100 hrs a week.

    Cons

    frequent change in directions, chaotic management, no work life balance and no regards for employees personal life. not even a thank you from upper management after the team crunched for several weeks and worked the holiday.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - invest in personnel management training
    - focus on people as well as product. not just product and bottom line
    - have an organization where accountability is more structured and in a hierarchy. otherwise the hardworking guys at the bottom are accountable to 3-4 managers (product, project, GM, ...)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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