Do You Need a Production Schedule?

The Benefits of a Production Process and Schedule Guidelines

writing, editing, reference books, production process

If your work involves the publication of written materials of any kind, you have undoubtedly experienced the tensions that come up in the final days (or hours) before a delivery deadline between the three critical function involved in production: writing, editing, and formatting or design. In a race again time, the teams or individuals representing each of these function areas can make a convincing case as to why their component is the most critical.

  • Writers are notorious for second-guessing and revising their own work. There is always the nagging sense that a particular sentence could be tweaked, a series of paragraphs reordered, a more apt word swapped in that would make all the difference in conveying exactly what they mean.
  • Editors know that even the greatest writers benefit from another set of eyes to make sure the publication has a clear and cohesive message, reflects the appropriate tone and has consistent style throughout, and is free of errors.  They know that an impeccably constructed thesis will be disregarded if the writing is not clear or contains even a single typo.
  • The formatting and design experts understand that even for complex written content, appearance matters. The eyes of the readers are drawn to certain fonts and layouts, a compelling infographic will enhance key arguments, and a poorly constructed graph can misrepresent key findings. They know that if the publication doesn’t look professional, the audience won’t make it past the first page.

Without a defined production process, these three functions end up competing for the remaining time before the deadline. This competition leads to problems like version control issues, the introduction of major errors, wasted time and unnecessary rework, and hard feelings between teams.

Implementing a set process for production drastically reduces the sense of competition among the three function areas. A clear process will define and order each of the stages and steps necessary to produce a quality publication, from writing the first draft through the approval of the final proof for printing.  Setting up this process will reinforce the idea that writing, editing, and design are all complementary functions leading toward the same goal: creating a high quality and effective publication.

The key to creating a successful process is to include representatives from all three function areas in the development of the process, and to ensure that the unique goals and needs of each area are understood and considered by all. Once there is a stronger appreciation of the expertise and contribution by each area, it becomes possible to develop a process that takes all of their perspectives into consideration.

A clear, well-defined publication process should include guidelines for developing a production schedule with enough time built in for each function to do their work. Developing these guidelines is the hardest part of building a process because it requires everyone to compromise, but it will have a strong and sustainable impact on your business’s ability to produce quality publications in a timely manner while reducing stress for all parties involved.

If you are interested in learning more about how to develop a production process and schedule, or would like help facilitating this process in your workplace, AIS Collaborations is ready to help!

Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash