Agile Authoring: A new way to work

The reality of producing a publication is rarely the smooth, streamlined process you envision at the start of a project.

As a publication manager, it’s more likely that you’ll face daily challenges that slow down your publication timelines.

Issues like collaborating with teams across your organisation (or the country!), authors focussing on formatting over content, people making updates to an old version of your document, publishing timelines being derailed because one person is behind in submitting their content…

A shift in your approach to authoring and collaborating on publications can help you work better with your teams and publish faster.

Introducing Agile Authoring  

We believe 'Agile Authoring' can be the solution to some of these tricky issues you contend with. Let's talk it through.

Agile Authoring takes inspiration from 'agile' and 'lean' management concepts. Their roots lie in manufacturing, as lean principles were originally used in the manufacturing industry to cut down on waste during the production process.

In a publishing context, waiting for authors to submit late work, reconciling different versions of a document and excessive meetings are all activities that prevent you from getting on with your job. In other words, unnecessary 'waste'.

Concepts such as early and continuous delivery and enabling easier collaboration between teams are relevant to the authoring and publishing process. These make the authoring and publishing process faster, and much easier to manage at scale.

Agile Authoring starts with breaking up your publication into small parts, which gives authors, editors and reviewers the flexibility to work simultaneously on different parts of the document.

This creates a continuous flow of feedback and changes throughout the process of creating your publication, rather than only waiting until you have a draft of an entire document or section before you start the review process.

How Agile Authoring works

While some authors are still working on their individual sections, you can be making final edits and getting approvals on finished sections. You can start working with your stakeholders and get feedback early on in the process as you work through your publication.

Agile authoring is built into the fabric of MasterDocs. Central to the Agile Authoring workflow is a web-based environment, which automatically keeps your team working on the latest version. This authoring environment has the added benefit of keeping formatting to a basic level, so your authors can focus on content.

Agile Authoring enables simultaneous collaboration on the latest version of your document. 

Agile Authoring enables simultaneous collaboration on the latest version of your document. 

Once the editing, approvals and publishing are done, you've created a structured document with all the right headings and sections, ready to be transformed into the print or digital formats your audience loves.

Collaboration in the digital age

Technology has already changed the way publications – for example, books, manuals or ‘state of the nation’ reports – are distributed. It has also changed the way we work already: email, online chat, cloud-based systems.

Using new technology doesn’t automatically mean we’re working more efficiently. You still need the underlying systems and processes in place, as well as appropriate change management, training and support, to enhance your culture of collaboration and get the best from your teams.

Agile Authoring takes a well-tested approach and applies it to the authoring and publishing world. Talk to us about how we can help introduce the benefits of an Agile Authoring model to your team.