Grant Rousseau is the Head of Operations at EXCEL Esports. A chemical engineer by trade, Rousseau found Last Remedy Gaming before moving to Counter Logic Gaming and Mysterious Monkeys. He became Head of European Operations at Splyce before joining EXCEL in 2019.
Rousseau’s role as Head of Operations involves a huge range of tasks. His main job concerns project management – which, ultimately, boils down to helping specialists complete their tasks efficiently.
Another huge part of Rousseau’s job involves process improvement – figuring out how to make things better. He works across all areas of the business, from helping players improve to dealing with HR and legal issues.
One of Rousseau’s biggest improvements has involved introducing a concrete ethos across the entire organisation: “everyone on the same page, at all times”.
Rousseau reckons it’s vital for any organisation to have a coherent mindset – it leads to better results and better staff. In esports, that means more wins, more sponsorships, effective coaches and better players. It’s something Rousseau reckons is lacking in lots of esports organisations.
Different methods are used to maintain that ethos. The first involves discipline – put simply, everyone at EXCEL works hard and has high standards, just like traditional athletes.
Commitment is important, too: EXCEL has developed an in-depth two-year plan. The first year involves growing and learning – while year two is about delivering results.
And then, tied into that, is EXCEL’s full transparency among staff, with clear communication contributing to a smoother working environment.
Rousseau used a case study to demonstrate EXCEL’s approach. The study concerned changes to EXCEL’s coaching and player rosters, and revolved around loads of data – Rousseau cited the movie Moneyball.
EXCEL’s team collated dozens of data points from League of Legends, and used those to identify the best Bot Lane and Mid Lane players.
Qualitative factors – like personality, fan-following and age – were paired with this quantitative research to identify candidates.
Rousseau used this analysis to develop different scenarios, and his clear, well-planned process enabled EXCEL to identify talent, make budgetary decisions and approach players.
Rousseau also answered audience questions. The first one concerned EXCEL’s move to Twickenham. Rousseau explained that it’s been beneficial – having a dedicated facility enables players to take more responsibility, which has helped them improve.
Rousseau also talked about how to break into the industry. His best advice? Just have a go – he started Last Remedy because he just took the plunge and formed a team.
He also advised against just taking any job. Instead, Rousseau recommends that you think about your skills and what you can offer to a team – and find roles that are more suitable.
Rousseau was also asked about the challenges facing UK esports. Rousseau feels like the UK lags behind Europe – which, in turn, lags behind the US – because there’s still too much of a stigma in the UK, and that too many people play on consoles. There hasn’t been enough government support, either.
Rousseau is confident, though – he thinks the passionate support from UK fans is a huge boon, and has noticed that the current COVID-19 situation has seen esports gain prominence.
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