Every working day this month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Ed Perkins, lead producer at NaturalMotion, describes what it takes to become a studio’s all-important production guru, overseeing how its projects go from concept to completion.
What is your job role?
I head up the Production and QA departments at NaturalMotion. Our producers are backbone for our development teams. They empower a team to deliver their game to budget and on time through project management.
How would someone become a lead producer?
Many producers start as junior project managers or QA team members from the creative, entertainment or wider software industry. Reaching a lead producer position means having the experience to deal with lots of projects, empower lots of producers and still be able to see the fine detail and any potential issues ahead. My own path started in project management at the BBC before moving into games.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
No specific academic qualifications if you’re being trained from junior, but being a Certified Scrum Master is beneficial if you’re working in an agile environment. In terms of experience, firm understanding of and exposure to all areas of the game development cycle becomes increasingly important as you become more senior.
What do you look for when recruiting a new producer?
Attitude is key. I always look for candidates who can recognise that people and teams are at the heart of everything, and that producers are there to support and enable those teams.
Skills can be taught, but the core of what makes a good producer is instinctual: great inter-personal skills, being pushy but not bossy and above all the ability to ‘get shit done’. For example, no producer should be above going to get lunch for the team or rushing about to get something chased and completed. There is no room for an ego in production.
Great producers are very, very hard to find.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
In mobile gaming, producers can deliver high-value games, experience live service games production and work across multiple development teams and studios in an incredibly fast moving industry.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
There are few creative industry fields where you get to work with every single member of a development team, and even get involved with every other department in the company as well. If you want to be challenged, learn every day, and enjoy working hard – being a producer in mobile games is the best job in the industry.
This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at www.develop-online.net/jobs2014.