How much paperwork does a game designer or other “trench level” game developers deal with? Does the amount of paperwork increase the higher up the chain you go?

We all tend to do a lot of "paperwork" but it's all digital - a lot of web-based forms. In order to keep track of all of the tasks that need doing, we use task-tracking software like Jira, Trello, Hansoft, and the like in order to keep the project management up to date. Producers and leads create these tasks, assign them priorities, and then dole them out to the appropriate developers to complete.

Larger tasks like "Build the Ice Dungeon level" are assigned to the Ice Dungeon level owner. Obviously, the Ice Dungeon is too big for a single task, so we break it down into smaller sub-tasks like "Build the boss fight for the Ice Dungeon", "Build the layout for the Ice Dungeon", "Build the regular encounters for the Ice Dungeon", and so on. These sub-tasks are assigned to the relevant stakeholders and those sub-tasks can be broken down further into smaller and smaller subtasks. Each task is its own bundle of work that needs doing, with its own priority and state of progress. We do the work, we complete the task, we mark it as done, and move on to the next. QA validates the tasks as complete, then production closes them out and everyone moves on to their next respective task.

Team leads and producers collectively spend a lot of their time creating, assigning, tracking, and closing out these tasks. They spend a lot of their time in meetings figuring out what the tasks that are still needed, which tasks are more important, what the task requirements are, who will get assigned those tasks, what potential task blockers and dependencies might be, and tracking the speed at which the tasks are being completed (in order to figure out whether we're on target to hit our deadlines).

Besides the leads, some specific disciplines tend to do more paperwork - QA spends a huge amount of time filling out bug reports, designers have to write design documents, and production have to create most/all of the non-bug tasks to be tracked.

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