What makes a good online producer?

Some times the internet throws up some amazing things. They can be awe inspiring and life changing or they can be silly, trivial and fun. Then sometimes, something just hits the nail on the head.

The following post from the interactive media agency BKWLD is one of those perfect moments as Director of Interactive Production, Dan Fields, sums up what makes a great producer. Take it away Dan.

Web Project Manager

Web Project Manager is a great blog on, surprise surprise, web project management. Run by Sam Barnes, the site has lots of useful resource links and great posts on managing projects for the web. One recent post really worth reading is Sam's interview with Happy Cog PM Brett Harned. Go on do yourself a favour and dive in.

It's the Blueprint of the Plan of the Guide to What You are Building

While writing a Functional Specifications Document (FSD) may not be part of every Producers role, it is a skill worth spending some time developing.

Six Revisions

Six Revisions is a great resource for Producers. Focusing on development and design the site offers excellent insights on building websites such as this recent article on producing websites under difficult IT restrictions.

Live, Work, Meet Up

The Global Financial Crisis has hit a lot of countries quite hard financially. Many governments have had to take austerity measures in order to reduce costs, while looking at ways to shore up diminishing revenue streams.

5 Useful Firefox Add-ons for Web Producers

Over on Kontain, Future Interactive's Executive Producer Stephen Martin posted an excellent piece on what tools a producer at FI would use in their daily role.

This got me thinking, what tools I use on a daily basis, particularly given I currently work in a very restrictive corporate environment? While I have access to the normal Office suite of applications, the range of utility applications I can install is pretty much nil.

The Producer as the Project Manager

Recently I was outlining the role of a Online Producer it was asked of me:

"Isn't that just what a Project Manager does?"
It's a common misconception thrown around frequently, that is the idea that a producer is just another name for a Project Manager. So the question begs, why bother with producers?

Life, the Universe and Websites

Ever had one of those moments in life where you think "what have I actully done up until now?" You know when a sense of panic kicks in as you begin to go through the mental check list of things to do before I turn 30 and realise that you missed half the list and you are about to turn 40.

I getz da mad skillz

Trying to tie down one particular skill set an Online Producer should be focused on is, at the best of times, difficult.

Content vs Production

There is a common misconception with the job title of Online Producer, that is  many people see the idea of the Online Producer as the creator of the content. In fact, if you look at Wikipedia's definition for an Online Producer, you will see a lot of talk about web editors, content creation, journalism and the like. While I don't deny the Online Producer is indeed closely linked to a sites  content, the role of Online Producer is not so much around the creation of content, or even the management of content.

Career Development

When I first started out I was clueless to the career and development path of an Online Producer. Over time I have gained a good understanding of the common producer team structure and development path. While the below structure is probably the most common, it's by no means the be-all-or-end-all.

It’s Really About Communication

Web Producer, Digital Producer, Online Producer, Interactive Producer no matter what you want to call it, they all do the same role. Depending on the business or industry there are always going to be discrepancies and variations on responsibilities, but at the end of the day the Online Producer is all about ensuring the smooth development and day to day running of a website.

The Author

Simon Mainwaring is a passionate and innovative web professional with a broad background in web production and site management. For the past two years his focus has been as a Web Producer driving complex collaborative projects in the Telecommunications space. Alongside his professional interest in all things web, Simon is also studying for a degree in Internet Communication, with a focus on how the internet has changed communication and interaction within society.