It takes a great number of individuals working together in various disciplines to make any commercial enterprise function.
The mobile games industry is certainly no exception, offering dynamic and diverse roles to thousands the world over.
As such, PocketGamer.biz has decided to celebrate this with a regular series of interviews where each week we chat to a mobile games industry professional from a different field - be it game design, art, or PR - to learn about how they bagged that job in games.
Obviously every career path is different, but the goal is to give a picture of the sorts of skills, qualifications and ambition one might need to find themselves in such a role - and how we can all learn from it.
This time, the spotlight is on Aleksandar Aleksic, Producer on Top Eleven at Nordeus.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about your current role and what it entails.
I’m currently a Producer on Top Eleven. I’ve been in this role for three years now and so far, it’s been a very intensive, fun and rewarding experience.
It’s been full of learnings, ups and downs, but more importantly, full of unforgettable interactions with the wonderful people we have here at Nordeus.
Also, it is an honour and privilege to work on the game that is in top 2% in the industry in terms of people playing it daily.
A Producer has three main accountabilities: Team Management, People Management and Project Management.Aleksandar Aleksic
At Nordeus, the role of the Producer has three main accountabilities: Team Management, People Management and Project Management.
As a Team Manager, I’m tasked with building a high-performing team that will deliver a successful game.
As a People Manager, I’m responsible for each and every person in the team, their career progression and their well-being.
For example, last year we had really intense period while working on a new feature for Top Eleven, and after it I took the whole team on a three-day team-building on Mallorca which was a way for me to say thank you and to give the team the boost they needed.
And finally, as a Project Manager, I need to make sure that we deliver quality updates on time and in the most effective way possible.
How did you first get into this job? (If senior, how did you progress into this role?)
I got into a Producer's role three years ago when a studio-wide restructuring took place and when Nordeus actually introduced the role of the Producer for the first time.
At the time, I was entrusted by our leadership team to start leading the whole development of Top Eleven.
Before that, I was a Client and Art team lead, an experience that taught me how powerful it is to manage by objectives as opposed to managing by tasks.
I learned a critical thing - enabling and empowering people yields far greater results than micro-managing them.
Is being a Producer something you ever imagined yourself doing?
I always imagined myself as a game maker, but not necessarily as a Producer.
When I started interacting more and more with people on the project, I saw how much impact I could have as a Producer.Aleksandar Aleksic
Later, when I started interacting more and more with people on the project and across them, I saw how much impact I could have as a Producer.
When I was given our leadership's trust, I told myself to give it a shot. I mean, why not?
It's turned out to be a very fulfilling role for me. I really like helping people deliver awesome games. It's something that makes me happy.
What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?
I’m a software engineer by training but other than that, no, I didn’t study anything directly related.
Having said that, once I started, I made a huge effort to educate myself about producing games and leading people.
I read a lot of books about agile leadership, organising, making organisational changes, giving feedback and having difficult conversations, for example.
Over time, as I practiced, I began to develop all critical skills I needed. And I guess that’s my advice - get uncomfortable and learn your way out.
But I wasn’t on my own. Nordeus's learning and development program allowed me to participate in wide variety of educational activities with enough space given to be dedicated to my progress.
For example, I took part in Construx's project management course, we had education for giving and receiving feedback, communication styles training, presentation workshops and so on.
As for advice about what to learn? Well, everything that has something to do with leadership, project management, agile and soft skills will be very helpful
More importantly, I believe in the power of embracing every opportunity offered - and to even create them if necessary!
Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?
There's nothing I can think of that would change the way I look at my role or at the industry.
The sheer complexity and scale of making games never really occurred to me when I started.Aleksandar Aleksic
That being said, there is one thing I completely didn't expect. The sheer complexity and scale of making games never really occurred to me when I started - it’s pretty mind-blowing!
But that's not a bad thing at all. If anything, it's what I love about making games. The challenge and problem-solving really fascinate me and make every day interesting.
What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?
For people who are looking to enter the games industry and don't have any related experience, I'd recommend they try to find a job in whatever profession they do.
At the beginning, it's all about mastering those foundational skills, whatever they may be. One thing that helps someone tremendously is making your network larger, for example going to conferences and talking with game producers from the industry is very useful.
You'll hear a lot of cool stuff that you can try out in your work. From there, I'd advise to try and find ways to help Producers become better at what they do.
Not only would doing so lead to recognition, it would open up so many first-hand learning experiences about what it takes to be successful. And nothing beats hands-on experience.
Nordeus is hiring.