As a game producer I have always been tempted to do too many things for my games apart from the core activities of project management. At times it paid off but most of the times it resulted in missing deadlines and average quality releases.
Producing games is the one of the most exciting thing to do but it is often observed that many producers have trouble in focusing on the core aspect of the job just because we are so tempted by thousands of other things that we may be good at, in the game development process, which gives us sleepless nights.
The role is thoroughly misunderstood at times where a game producer is given to wear multiple hats. These are the grave mistakes that one should avoid to be able to produce top quality games:
Trying to be Product Manager + Project Manager for the same game
It is a common phenomenon specially across start-ups where a Producer is expected to play a double-role. This results in an average project and an average product.
Although a producer can be inclined to either of the above roles but adorning both of these roles together can split him/her apart with a very predictable outcome. For a producers inclined towards the product side, it is always handy to understand how the project is shaping up but there should be a clear boundary which should prevent trespassing into the finer details of the project. Similarly, it is always handy for a producer with pure project management role to understand the product but it is prudent that he/she does not burn midnight oil fixing flaws in the product.
A Producer who is also a Game Designer
It is very common for a Producer to take up the role of a game designer but, it is highly recommended that these two roles be kept discrete even if the producer comes from a good game designing background. Big gaming projects need intensive supervision. Even if the team members are on the top of their respective jobs, there are chances of gold plating and scope creeps all along the project.
It is also imperative that the producer works closely with the game designers so that if there is a possibility of major changes based on simulation and play testing later on, a project has sufficient buffer to accommodate them.
There are several other roles that a producer may be inclined to take up but it is highly recommended to stay focused on the core activities of project management, keeping the team members motivated with razor sharp focus towards the vision of the game and ensuring that there is minimal trade-off between the triple constraints of the project.
Would love to hear and learn more from everyone else. What’s your take on it?