3 books all Producers should read
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
I’ve read a lot of books over the years in relation to Production and Project Management, a lot of them were dense, dull and repetitive. A few stuck with me however and I often find myself referencing back to them to implement small improvements in my routine, or simply for inspiration in a time of struggle.
A book won’t teach you how to be a Producer, but I truly believe you can take lessons or guidance from these examples and apply them to your daily work; improving parts of your job, in positive and compelling ways.
Here are three books each with a different message I would recommend to Producers of all levels. If you have any suggestions, drop a comment after this post or find me on Twitter: @RetroCrumpet
I was SCRUM certified and running agile teams for roughly 4 years before I read this small, but impactful, book by Jeff Sutherland. The book takes you through the origins of SCRUM as well as the processes that drive the methodology.
That is not what makes it compelling however, it’s the stories and examples Sutherland gives that are instantly relatable to Producers while offering insight and inspiration for your own projects, be it current or forthcoming, that make it incredibly valuable.
Each story starts and ends in the same manner, however it’s the journey and progression along the way that I believe you can use to better your own knowledge and day-to-day activity.
I put off reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team for years. It was dense, seemed boring and in truth wasn’t riveting bedtime reading for me. I was incredibly excited when Patrick Lencioni teamed up with Manga illustrator Kensuke Okabaushi to realize a much more digestible, and honestly, enjoyable version of his bestseller.
This edition brings to life the Five Dysfunctions first raised by Lencioni through thoughtful storytelling and story development. In my opinion it’s the best way to read his work and has the added benefit of being much more digestible by team members, should you wish to introduce this to your colleagues – Producers or not.
I went back and forth on including this in my list. Creativity Inc, by Ed Catmull, goes into detail about the rise of Pixar. Focussing on their practices and development strategies, it gives a lot of creative insight into running projects and taking creative risks.
I think this book is very insightful, but I also believe the culture of Pixar is very unique so I’m wary of recommending that Producers try and re-create the lessons the book teaches. That said I do believe you can learn a lot about constructive feedback sessions, risk prevention, communication and passion.
Creativity Inc isn’t going to teach you about Production in a direct sense, but it will give you insight into a unique company and from this you can gleam key pieces of information that will improve a lot of what you do.
And that is that. Three books I believe are well worth your money and time to inspire, educate and push you forward.
Richard “@RetroCrumpet” Wood