Consequences and natural worldbuilding are Victoria games' bread and butter. It is to be expected then that no in-game feature can be equated to any other game, and so is the case with Buildings and their Production Methods.
In the previous dev diary Buildings were the object of explanation, and in this one, what happens in those Buildings is.
Strategy games, in general, are games about management. Building, creating, and upgrading your society is the goal, but rarely are there consequences of such actions, aside from those positive ones such as increased output of products and decreased input of materials.
While upgrading in Victoria 3 is by no means a bad thing, not only are certain conditions required to be present, but the players must be aware of what exactly those upgrades represent. Perhaps upgrading a factory will put a strain on the market regarding the materials needed, or the workes may go out of jobs if technological advancements are high enough, or the new product is not as well received as the old one, whose production is now suffering due to a change in Production methods.
There are four basic categories of Production Methods:
-Base: governs the general "tech level" and efficiency of the building produces goods typical for the building type,
-Refining: reduces the output of typical goods in favor of output of specialized or luxury goods, sometimes adding a special input,
-Automation: adds industrial goods as input to reduce the building's unskilled workforce requirement,
-Ownership: determines who owns shares in the building; typically governed by Laws.
Of course, production is not only limited to tangible products. If there is one thing we have learned from previous Vicotira games, it's that every single aspect of the game is inter-connected. So, Production Methods are clerks producing Bureaucracy, as well as diplomats producing Diplomacy and Influence.