Most Project Managers in the gaming industry vex about the projects schedule and its management. Game Producers, on the other hand, have a key responsibility that transcends that of the Project Manager and that is to communicate & champion the vision of the game to the team, clients & outside stakeholders. The role of Game Producers may vary from company to company, from the role of note takers in some to Project Managers in others.
What I personally believe is that the main role of Game Producers is to bring the best out of creative people as well as manage delivery by making vision oriented project plans, among other responsibilities. The Game Producer needs to know how to harness the creativity brewing inside his team members while also ensuring compliance with the project plan. If there ever was a mantra to ace the role of a Game producer, I believe the following list would form its foundation :
- Communication: Communication is the basic need of any team/ organization. The process of communication is declared complete once the message has been received and understood by the recipient. Thus as a Game Producer, one must ensure that the message is simply understood by the recipient and clear doubts in case of a confusion or distortion. As a Game Manager one needs to drive home the vision of the project, no matter how many repetitions it takes.
- Own- The Concept, Plan & Project Vision: Game Producer is the one on whom team depends for a structured plan of action. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, as a Game Producer, one should always plan each and every detail and this plan must be known and communicated by the producer to his team.
- Track & Verify: This can be quite simply summarized with the acronym ABCD- Always Be Collecting Data. Compare the actual progress to the planned progress to better manage expectations.
- Know your Pipelines: The roadmap of projects and workflow pipelines must be at the back of Producer’s mind.
- Set the Rules: A team works best when they are clear about the vision. As a Game Producer, you must manage Daily Standups, inform the team about their Daily Tasks, review their progress on a day to day basis and have everyone update their task list daily before standups.
- Commit, then Deliver: The Game Producer’s role is to commit to the organization about delivery of the Project, then work with the team to deliver on those commitments.
- Carry the Vision: As a Game Producer one must be completely aware about the vision of the product and should protect and promote that vision during the entire course of the production cycle.
- Be a Lifelong Learner: This may sound a bit philosophical and vague but it is really important to understand the power of knowledge. Staying up to date with field related news is the crux of any successful career. Reading books, news, taking similar role interviews, taking inputs from team are few ways you can stay ahead of the game.
- Be a servant to the team: For a Game Producer, his/her team is the most important thing. As their leader, the Game Producer must fulfill the needs of his/her team. A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.
- Listen: Sometimes the best suggestions come from the unlikeliest of sources. A Game Producer must understand this and value and review every opinion with equal fervor.