How good is your publishing workflow? Here is a 5-point checklist for you to use.

Are your teams working together well or is it a scramble to reach deadlines? Are you spending a lot of resources on minor details instead of the big picture? How much more efficient could you be, really?

"A modern workflow gives you the ability to expand more quickly, with new services or offerings, to meet changes in consumer demands."

Gunnar BlenessSenior Advisor, Inventura AS

1.Workflow checklist

How good is your workflow? Are your teams working together well or is it a scramble to reach deadlines? Are you spending a lot of resources on minor details instead of the big picture? How much more efficient could you be, really?

Depending on the current state of your workflow and your organisation, you may be looking for a few adjustments that can make a big difference or you may want to start almost from scratch and design a completely new approach. Either way, use this checklist to review your workflow:

  • 1. Analyse your current workflow.
  • 2. Set clear and measurable workflow goals.
  • 3. Set clear and measurable multimedia goals.
  • 4. Ensure systems and software support for your workflow.
  • 5. Design your new workflow.

Analyze your current workflow

To help you understand what needs you have, start with an analysis of your current workflow. Find out exactly how your workflow proceeds today – who does what, when and for how long? How do your teams work together? How do information and tasks flow towards your product? Especially, how many times do people get it right the first time? How many resources do you use correcting mistakes or doing things twice?

Use detailed flowcharts to visualize how copy, pictures and film move from original idea via content producer to consumer. What tasks get done when and where, and how many tasks are redone, when and where?

It is important that flowcharts focus on function rather than person. The aim is not to find people who are bottlenecks in the process, but to describe how a system is working – so the system can be improved.

This phase can also be used to get the attention of your organization, signalling that change is coming. If you can get your team to contribute to analyzing today´s workflow, you will have a better and more detailed picture of your needs, and people will begin to see for themselves where room for improvement exists.

2. Set clear and measurable workflow goals.

Set clear and measurable goals for your workflow modification plan. These should include, but not be limited to, the amount of resources that will be allotted to the production, and how you will use the effects from a new and more efficient workflow: for example, shall it be a cost-cutting program, or shall the spare resources be used to produce more or different products?

This obviously depends on your company´s strategy and situation, and will differ greatly from company to company. The most important point is to be clear and concrete about these goals from the start. Nothing is worse for the people of your organization than uncertainty about the goals and purpose of a workflow modification plan.

3. Set clear and measurable multimedia goals.

Many content producers are strong on producing multi-media content. Many are still struggling with it, or are just starting up. When you are redesigning your workflow, it is important that you have a clear ambition and vision for your multi-media position. Which channels are important to you, how will you publish in them, and how should your content be connected and play in different channels?

It is also vital that you assess your social media strategies in this light, and connect them to your workflow and content production. Who is going to fill the social media channels with content, if not your content production team, integrated in their workflow?

4. Ensure systems and software support your workflow

How should your production system support your workflow? This element in your process can come either before or after you have designed your new workflow, depending on your situation.

Do you want to design a new workflow and then adapt your production system to the flow? This could mean changing your system, or at least working with a supplier to make major changes. Still, it might be worth it, depending on how important the new workflow is to you. Or do you want to design the best workflow you can get within the system you already use? In that case, it is important that you clearly understand the features of your system, the possibilities and limitations it will give you, especially concerning communications with other systems.

5. Design your new workflow

When you have analyzed your current workflow, and have set your goals and fully understand the technical limitations and possibilities involved, it is time to design your new workflow
This is a challenging and interesting process that will also result in improving your people and your organization. It can be an involving and evolving process, giving your team the most possible influence over the results, without compromising on the goals you have set. When handled correctly, this can release creativity and ensure engagement and initiative in your team, and will certainly make your new workflow much better.

Your new workflow

Your new workflow should be detailed, and contain elements like:

  • flow charts – to visualize the process and identify the entire process
  • tasks lists – to be completed at each stage, ensuring that all tasks are included
  • competencies required – to specify the needs for change in the team at each stage
  • roles and responsibilities – to specify who does what when, how and why
  • templates – to ensure that concepts are understood and that duplication of effort is minimized
  • systems and system-owners – to ensure that lines of responsibility are clear
  • quality checks and evaluation systems – to ensure that follow-up is effective and that things go according to plan.

Final thoughts

When your new workflow is ready, it is vital that implementation is carried out with the same attention to detail and the same focus on involvement by the organization as a whole.

Depending on how drastic the changes are, this will be vital to securing a controlled and successful transition – and will ensure that you are successful in reaching your goals.

Involving your team-members and organization in constructing a modern and effective multimedia-workflow will not only help you to experience cost and production efficiencies but gives you the ability to expand more quickly, with new services or offerings, to meet changes in consumer demands.