02: What Does A Digital Producer Do?
Despite the 561 million results on Google that pop up when you ask, the truth is weirdly obtuse. Time to let you in on the secret.
In our experience, most people think producers do the same thing as project managers: coordinate tasks and resources, and manage a budget. But that stuff isn’t what producers do. Well, ok, it’s some of how you’ll do it, but what you’ll actually do is strategy.
Producers are strategists.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We’re not talking about Strategy with a capital S. You won’t be fielding surveys, digging up insights or planning accounts, but you will use some of the same tools…
Alex M H Smith, Strategic Jedi Master and Founder of Basic Arts defines strategy as simply, “the path you’re going to follow to achieve a goal.” As a producer, you will find and design those pathways, and you’ll use quantitive data (budgets, timings, sizing) and qualitative data (observations, conversations, political and social structures) to do it, just like Strategists do.
The pathways could conceivably lead to anywhere: higher profits, increased throughput or just a deeper sense of satisfaction in the team. Point being, it’ll be you who will discover and surface the direction of travel on a project for everybody.
It’s an awesome skill 😎
So here’s what we want you to do: for the rest of this series, reframe what you think you knew about what producers do. Move away from the idea you’ll be creating outputs, like websites, towards the reality which is much more impressive: that you’ll be finding pathways for people to achieve their goals, and the outcomes they want most in work and business.
Doing this alone will provide you with a whole new way to talk to prospective employers about why you want to do this job, and why you’d be good at it, too. Because anyone can create a timing plan; what will set you apart from other candidates is how you react to what’s going on around you. When the value of what you’re making is called into question, will you keep trying to make it, or will you choose another path?
Time will tell. But what can we can tell you, is that it’s this, strategic ability, that sets the average producers apart from the amazing ones. The ones who adapt and react to change nimbly, feel comfortable being uncomfortable, and help others around them feel the same.
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Hit the hands if you learned something and help others find this content 🙏🏻
If you want to discuss or ask us questions about anything in this story, please drop us a line and we’ll get right back to you!