This article offers an example of moving from a manually maintained Excel grid to using to-dos in the system.

Here is an example of to-dos being managed in an Excel grid.

Grid

Here is how they map to Consonance:

Todos grid

Things to notice:

  • Each of the to-dos have been prefixed with the name of the department responsible. This is a way of achieving grouping, but it shouldn’t replace the need to assign an actual person as being responsible for the to-do.
  • The to-dos have been rephrased to indicate action. Instead of Set up title, the to do is Agree title. This is more declarative and indicates what actually has to get done.
  • All the to-dos down to Sign contract are blocked. If you were to edit one of those you’d see this:

Todos blocked

The to-do called Add basic keywords is blocked by the to-do Sign contract. This gives you a heads up that there is something that needs to get done before the to-do can be completed. In this case, you can’t add keywords before you’ve signed the contract.

  • Some to-dos are more important than others, as indicated by the Milestone tag. Editorial: Sign contract, Handover to production, and Proofs are all milestones. To-do reporting on an iCal calendar can be at the milestone level, to avoid being overwhelmed with detail:

Milestone

  • The work this to-do list is attached to has no pub date, so no relative dates can be calculated. However, copy them to a work with a pub date and the relative dates calculate themselves. The pub date of the work below is 4th June 2015: the relative dates get set and the system automatically tags them as Overdue if the due date has passed.

Copt todos

To improve this to-do list further

  • More relative dates should be entered. The publisher should consider how far before publication they want to sign the contract for works, for example, and set the early Editorial to-dos to be relative to that e.g. 18 months. This has the benefit of highlighting where crunches might occur in the project if a contract gets signed less than say 9 months before publication.

  • More rewording should be done. Instead of having a to-do called AIs, it would be better named Review and approve AIs.

  • All to-dos should have a named assignee, to ensure ownership.