Are PMs worth more than game designers?

It’s daft to put faith in any single study, especially ones that make you and your profession look good. Confirmation bias, or finding the first example that supports your beliefs and running with it, is an easy trap.

Rather than point to this as evidence for why project managers or designers are most important (which is dubious – they’re both important), I do find the question itself  interesting.  It’s an attempt at a Moneyball, or +/- analysis, for creative teams.

Mr Mollick found that some 30% of differences in revenue between games could be attributed to the producer and the designer alone; and that the lion’s share of this variation was due to the producer. The boring project manager, in other words, meant more to the success or failure of the project than did the flashy designer. Moreover, the effect seemed to persist even as the individuals moved on to other projects, so more than one game could benefit from the same competent producer.

via Business-school research: Game changers (From the Economist).

You can read the actual paper here.

2 Responses to “Are PMs worth more than game designers?”

  1. Shahram Khorsand

    I agree in the effect of the Confirmation bias that most often follow the monyball effect. “I have found 1 evidence and it will bring money”. Many board and management meetings include this type of discussions.
    However, I have found asking questions to be the cure for this. However, if the questions are perceived as critique, it will even increase the heat in the discussions and start a battle.
    You need to be clever with your questions until the person sees your point or the weakness of their own point.

    Great blog and interesting subject indeed!



  1. […] Of course a creative game design attracts customers. Of course quality development assures desirable game play. But a few more weeks, or months, in the market, an effective producer project manager provides more opportunity for earlier revenues. If revenues are linked to product launches, then time-to-market, shepherded by your PM, is key to achieving your goals. [linkage via Scott Berkun] […]

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