GameSpot has a write-up of Rob Pardo's keynote at the Austin Game Conference. Mr. Pardo is the lead game designer on World of Warcraft, which is still taking up a fair amount of my time, so I found this quite interesting (certainly more so than the somewhat misleading article in The Escapist a while back).
Raph has a slightly different transcript of Mr. Pardo's keynote on his site.
I found this one of the most interesting quotes:
"We have a lot of goofy mantras," Pardo said. "Things like 'purity of purpose,' 'concentrated coolness,' obvious ones like 'easy to learn, difficult to master.' When you have a large studio and a lot of designers, it's kind of important that everyone understands your values and when you're developing that design culture, if you don't have these shared values, it's very hard for all the designers and developers to understand what you're trying to achieve."
Mantras are always goofy on some level, but building up shared values and communicating vision is important, and mantras are helpful.
The whole thing is interesting. Please read it.
Update: Split off thoughts on polishing into a separate post.