Conversation #1

On January 25, 2013, I had the pleasure of speaking with Nadia Labeikovsky, an ETC 2010 alumna who is currently working at Electronic Arts as an Assistant Producer.   Her current team is responsible for web development for a game and not on the game itself.  I asked her about her experiences in producing and she gave me a lot of great food for thought.

She left these pieces of advice:

  • Producing is “problem-solving.”

I’ve heard others say this before as well, and I really like how powerfully short it is.  I think it really captures the reactionary responsibilities of a producer, though I admit it leaves out the more proactive/inspirational aspects.

  • And if you yourself have problems, you cannot keep it to yourself.

This suggestion resonated with me.  I do have a bit of pride/ego about what things I should be able to figure out by myself, and figuring those out arguably consumes valuable time.  I’m working on it, but sometimes it’s hard to ask the “dumb” questions.

  • Moreover, “never be afraid of grunt-work.”

This line resonated with me too, but for the opposite reason.  I really like doing this.  Being the person who cleans up after everyone else is done eating or who will put all the wires/equipment away not only helps the team stay on the big picture, and not only makes them respect you, but perversely enough, when you spend so much time triaging and weighing high-level decisions, it’s nice to do something simple and physical.

Specifics-wise:

  • 15 minute daily check-ins are a must.

I agree.  Dailies are the best way to keep people from feeling like strangers, and a way to get people thinking about each other’s problems with the different mindsets that make a team so versatile.

  • As well as bug triage at the end of a week.

I imagine that ideally this would happen actively, but when work is busy and complex, that’s not always possible.  A week is always a good unit of time to measure progress against.

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