A Day in the Life Of... Production
Continuing our Day in the Life series, we chat to Louise (Senior Producer) about project management and the skills needed in the role.
What do you do?
As one of the Studio’s Senior Producers, my key focus is coordinating project activity across our cross-discipline development teams.
How do you fit into nDreams?
I’m a member of the Production team alongside fellow Producers and QA reporting into the Development Manager. We are responsible for project management, delivery and quality in close collaboration with our Art, Code, Design and Game Directors. I also liaise regularly with our Business Development and Publishing Teams depending on which project phase we’re in.
What kind of skills and experience do you need to be effective in your role?
Strong organisational skills and previous experience as either Producer or Project Manager is a must, ideally with a solid grounding in project management software and Agile methodology. You also need great people skills to motivate team members and build positive working relationships. The ability to maintain bigger picture view while also having meticulous attention to detail is invaluable, along with confident presentation skills, a flexible and positive outlook in the face of challenges, and enthusiasm for gaming and emerging technology! In terms of experience, I’m a strong believer that we can all bring something unique and valuable to a role from our diverse backgrounds. Its great to have some published titles under your belt, but equally valuable to have broadened your experience and perspective within other technological and creative industries.
Tell us about a typical working day
I’m currently working as part of the team responsible for pitching new projects. This makes my role very dynamic - so there really is no typical day! I could find myself deep-diving into discussions to establish high-level project requirements or equally participating in creative workshop sessions to kick-start and develop new concepts.
During active production phases, there is much more of a routine anchored around our Agile approach to project management. This features daily stand-ups and other regular meetings updating the group on progress, next-steps and any risks / blockers. I also participate in weekly management meetings and run our fortnightly Product Planning sessions.
What about an un-typical day recently?
We recently held some events to support our favourite charity SpecialEffect who create gaming experiences for people with disabilities. I stayed up ridiculously late constructing my Nintendo Pikmin themed cupcake creation, so my day started unusually with chasing around the office setting up my cake display and helping my colleague with some emergency re-constructive engineering to her cake using a Banana! Earlier today I was pulled into the VR test lab as to help-out with height settings for Shooty Fruity Arcade (being one of the shorter members of our team!)
What do you love about your job?
I’ve always enjoyed working at the forefront of emerging technologies, being part of something innovative plus working with extremely talented colleagues who are passionate about what they do. Also working in games provides me with my ideal combination of creativity and technology. As a natural organiser, I get a real kick out of getting things done and galvanising teams to achieve their best. As an artist, I love working in such a creative environment.
What areas do you enjoy less?
There are always some less glamorous aspects to any role – like chasing people to fill in their monthly timesheets or read their emails. However even some of the most tedious of spreadsheet tasks can prove ultimately satisfying once completed and having helped solve a problem or answer a crucial query.
How did you get started in the industry? Why did you join nDreams?
I joined the Games Industry relatively early on in my Project Management career. My interest in games and all things creative combined with my experience managing technical teams allowed me to move into a Producer role with a company called Yeti Interactive in France, working with the creators of RayMan. I went on to spend 5 years with Sony PlayStation at their London Studios as Art Manager for their acclaimed SingStar franchise.
Since then I’ve diversified my skillset within Programme and Product Management roles for SaaS development and digital media services. I’ve acquired some valuable experience but ultimately found that I missed the dynamism of games development, so was very happy when the opportunity came up to join nDreams!
Do you have any advice for aspiring Producers?
I’d say not to be disheartened if you don’t land your dream job directly within Games.
If you can demonstrate your passion for games and an innate aptitude for organisation, you may well be lucky enough to start out as an Associate Producer. However, you’ll most likely need to build up a portfolio of transferable skills within other industries, such as project management, leadership and even creative direction. There is a fair amount of cross-over within software development, digital media or even the music industry. My very first project management role was in a technical translation company – which still comes in handy from time-to-time when we’re working on localisation of in-game text.
Equally I know other Producers who have moved into an AP role having first found their feet and gained exposure to the workings of the industry within other disciplines such as Programming or Testing.
For the latest news keep in touch via @nDreamsVR