There are many things that can go south in game development. The producer should be aware of problems your team may face and prepare for those problems. It is worth knowing when risks are worth taking; if you're taking zero risks, it probably means you're not innovating. Risks are a part of game development, and you should know which ones are worth taking.
One of the most commons problems you'll face in game development is falling behind your schedule.
You should set a limit for how long each stage of production lasts and how long big features should take. You might end up developing the first prototypes for far too long if clear goals and limits have not been set.
Balance time and quality
You want to create a good experience for the players. You'll have to juggle between creating good content and delivering it. If you don't finish the game, it won't matter how good it is as no-one gets play it. Often features are "good enough", and you will have to tell your team when it's time to stop working on a feature and move on to other things.
Crunch is the term used for unpaid overtime lasting for long periods that development teams are pressured into if set milestones have not been reached. Crunch is a failure of the management and should therefore not be resorted to. The work done during a crunch is often low-quality and results in more bugs and other problems that need to be fixed due to the highly stressful nature of such work. Instead of crunching, you should see if the schedule can flex or if features be cut, for example.
Also keep in mind that everyone in your team is a professional at their discipline. They'll likely know what specific risks lie in their day-to-day work.
Be upfront about the risks you think you might face and communicate your plans in case such things happen. Be transparent. This also helps you convince the team cut or change some features if needed: "We should do X because I think it will prevent Y". Ask them what they think and if there are any problems you should know about. What previous experience they have had when working on a team project? What kinds of problems have they encountered before?
Not all problems come from the project you're working on or the team, of course. Markets change, the publisher's plans change, and so-on. You should think about what kinds of things may affect you and how you can react to them. What would you do in the following cases?
Click on the flashcards to learn about facing possible threats and issues.
Especially in the early parts of your career, there will be many things you do not know. Read postmortems of other games on the internet and talk with senior game developers if possible. Both offer a great insight into what problems have occurred in the past and how they have been handled. Be fast to react to any problems that your team faces and try to anticipate any issues that may come in the future.
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It's good to make plans as long as you are ready to modify those plans if things change. The industry is ever-changing, and you should be ready to react accordingly and quickly.
As a producer, risk management will be one of your responsibilities. Keep in mind, that you also represent the whole team. This is also our next topic.