Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Maria Maunula, Senior Lead Producer at Rovio. She speaks about the importance of providing fresh perspectives, her background in community management and shares advice for individuals seeking a similar career path. Read more about Maria in this interview:
Hi Maria! Looking back on your career journey, what would you say has been the most unexpected or surprising turn of events that significantly impacted your professional growth and direction?

Looking back, there’s this ‘aha’ moment that now seems both silly and incredibly sensible. It took a while to sink in that I didn’t have to be a master of every code snippet or brushstroke in game development. As a producer and lead, my job isn’t to be the expert in every domain, but to foster growth in the talented individuals who bring our games to life. Understanding their roles is crucial for effective support, but my craft is a different shade of the spectrum. It’s about providing fresh perspectives and pushing boundaries. Together, we forge compromises, make informed decisions, and chart our course forward. Leadership role requires constant learning and I need to stay in my lane to be there for the others.

As a Game Producer, could you describe your creative process and approach to improving existing games while maintaining player satisfaction?

I like to imagine my approach as a spiderweb, with each strand representing a crucial aspect. There’s one for our team’s aspirations, another for business objectives, a strand for market trends, and one for the balance between innovation and proven methods. Everything converges at the heart – the user experience.

To truly understand what players want and need, we must study them, ask questions, and genuinely listen to their feedback. It’s about comprehending why they choose to invest their valuable time in our game. With these hypotheses in hand, we align them with other needs, prioritize, scope, and lay out the roadmap that propels us forward, aiming for outstanding results, and at the very least, invaluable insights to carry with us.

How did your background in areas like customer care and community management contribute to your success as a producer, and what advice do you have for individuals looking to make similar transitions?

Before diving into the gaming world, I cut my teeth in customer service and sales, ranging from porcelain toilets to top-of-the-line cameras. The trick for me was identifying which skills were applicable in my new roles. Sales, in particular, turned out to be a huge asset. It boils down, once again, to understanding the customer’s needs. It’s about dissecting the need or problem, offering solutions that benefit both the end user and the company behind the product. Acting as a bridge between these parties, and providing insights on how we can tailor our solutions to match user needs, was crucial. And, perhaps most importantly, truly comprehending the ‘whys’ behind user feedback, not just echoing what they say.
 When it comes to making a transition like this, my advice would be to:

  • Prioritize Transferable Skills:
    List and prioritize skills from previous roles that align with the new position.
  • Emphasize Learning:
    Highlight skills you’re eager to learn, showcasing your commitment to growth.
  • Align Interests:
    Focus on areas of interest that naturally complement the role you’re applying for.

This approach demonstrates a seamless integration of your background with the requirements of the new role, making you a standout candidate.

Thanks for this interview, Maria!

Maria’s links: LinkedIn

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Madeleine Egger