As publishers ourselves, we know that one of the big challenges of running your company is to manage the vast number of tasks that have to be done on time, and ensure that your metadata meets industry best practices.
We need to constantly create, send, receive, confirm and update systems, or to monitor and help those who do.
We also need early warning that trouble is brewing, which may be due to delays in a manuscript, or unavailability of a proof-reader, or breakdowns at the printer.
All tasks are equal, but some tasks are more equal than others
There are the milestone tasks that you know you need, the headline dates on the big spreadsheet. Perhaps half-a-dozen to a dozen, often representing go/no-go decision points: receiving a manuscript, handover to production, sending the files to the printer, etc..
Then there are the tasks you know you need, but which make the spreadsheet too big to manage. Maybe they are managed at a departmental or functional level, with another Big Spreadsheet for Marketing or Digital. Per department you might have another dozen of these: updating the final version of the marketing copy, confirming the per-unit print price, sending the marketing material to the sales agency.
And then there are the tasks that your people know are critical for heading off trouble, but they’re too small to be on any of your lists. Very often they are the small checks that follow up on another task. Perhaps they’re on a Post-it note, but because you might never know that they are being done, the people doing them never get the credit for helping the business to run smoothly. If they leave then you’ve lost the institutional knowledge that they held and not only do Things Start To Go Wrong, you do not know how to Make Things Go Right Again.
How many of these are there? Who knows, but who is checking that the uploaded cover image has propagated to major retailers before the author notices that they haven’t, or verified that the website has the new price?
For the complete development of a new work you might be officially tracking thirty tasks currently, but below that level there may be one or two hundred.
This is not the project management of other industries, and it cannot be tackled with generic tools or a one-size-fits-all template. It is the coordinated management of an ongoing series of complex projects, with similar structures and their own variations, across a team of in-house professionals and third parties, and is intimately connected with your works, series, products, authors, and metadata quality.
It’s what keeps us up at night.
So what’s to be done?
On a day by day basis, everyone need to have a reliable store of what needs to be done, by whom, and by when, presented through a familiar interface and shareable with co-workers and third parties.
You need to be able to plan at a weekly and monthly level to see what you have coming up, and whether everything has been done in preparation.
Strategically you need to know how soon you can publish, and whether you are pushing your capacity close to the limits.
You want to plan for smooth continuity during periods of maternity and paternity leave. You want to reduce the number of planning and coordination meetings you’re holding, and make them run more efficiently.
You need to identify risk of slippage early, so you can react and re-plan intelligently.
That’s exactly what Consonance does
In Consonance we have developed a system that shoulders the burden of managing this for you, where no task is too small to be recorded, and nothing gets forgotten. Where you can be agile in responding to problems, see trouble approaching, plan your workload, and use your learned experience to continually improve your working methods.
Book your demo today to see it in action and talk through your specific challenges.
Overwhelmed with spreadsheets? Drowning in thousands of tasks? Worried about not being ready to face the next round of publishing challenges? If you enjoyed this article, and you want to grow your publishing in 2019 but you're not sure where to start, get in touch. We help publishers of all shapes, ages, complexity and sizes to organise, automate and grow. Yes: your legacy data is in a pickle, but we promise it'll not be the worst we've seen. We can sort it out and transform your publishing process quicker, and more cheaply, than you'd think.
We're always happy to have a chat and let you know what we've seen other publishers do in your situation to good effect, and we're happy to arrange a tailored demo just for your team of Consonance: the sure-fire way to improve your publishing and lay the groundwork for growth.