Agile (Not Just for Tech…)

Recently I’ve been thinking about Agile… and not just in relation to technology but in relation to all business processes in publishing and elsewhere.

Organisations have started using Agile approaches to manage complex projects outside technology, sometimes combined with Six Sigma or Kanban, sometimes not. But what about the core of what we do, publishing itself!

The editorial process currently seems quite linear, to someone from the technology and operations side of publishing anyway! Recently however, I’ve come across a new style of publisher who iterates publications based on user feedback almost constantly…

This presents a new challenge, one of managing and prioritising feedback, while also curating the quality of that feedback and deciding how and when to implement it. So in this scenario, would the Agile approach work?

In print, probably not as it would be impossible to publish and print with constant iteration and probably cost a fortune. However for digital this approach could be very realistic, albeit needing an audit trail. With expert editors and peer reviewers there should be a way that enables iterations where a change is submitted, reviewed, published and possibly publicly tracked, using a tool something like the JIRA system of release management of user stories in technology.

Changes could be incorporated and released in a two to three week sprint cycle, or faster for a subject matter like law that is swiftly changing. Wouldn’t it be useful if these changes could be distilled and disseminated to enable readers to maintain pace with their particular field of research or profession…

It would be great to understand from publishers and editors whether you feel this kind of approach would work for you.

Thank you for listening.

Ruth

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