TWiki Success Story of Magazine Publishing
use TWiki to manage the production of a bi-monthly 30-page magazine. TWiki supports workflow and document management through the whole process from editorial meeting to approval and page layouts. The production team consists of copywriters, journalists, photographers, editors, project managers, proofreaders and magazine designers.
The goal is to give maximum autonomy to the journalists responsible for the texts, and at the same time give overview and status information to project managers coordinating photographers, client approval and updates.
After the editorial meeting for a new issue a homepage is created for that issue. For each text a TWiki topic is then created which is linked to the homepage. The topic holds all information about the text; Story, who, when, what, deadline, interview time and place, contact details. The topic also has the actual text as word document attached - with the current revision level as comment (draft, approved, final, proofread, etc)
The journalists/copywriters are responsible for producing and managing the text all the way to final draft. The project manager then picks up the text for proofreading and client approval. The final layouts as PDF-documents are available for the journalists so they can see that nothing has been left out and that the texts have the right focus in the final step.
We use TWiki forms with checkboxes for workflow management and store all data (telephone, scope, deadline, etc) as form-fields. The "standard" twiki-page is only used for information within the production team and memo-pad for journalists. "Not sure about the terminology xyz, need additional info about product abc" etc.
For up-to-the minute status information of general interest, known as "project noise", we use a very simple mySQL/PHP script to make time/date stamped remarks such as "AA called, told her ...", "Steven thinks the text on zazaz needs a rewrite, will discuss this with NN", Meeting with NN went well, important to stress the fact about ...." This information is available on the homepage for the issue.
The workload on the project manager was substantially reduced, leaving time for better client contact and support. Journalists/copywriters are able to get all the information they need to estimate and schedule their workload and thus avoiding 'late night crunch'.
Overall the quality in the production has increased, and the whole team works as one unit, continually aware of what was going on with the whole production as well as with their own work.
Any changes to deadlines, scope or contacts is immediately available to the writers through the TWiki-pages. The project manager with overview over the whole production can respond to any problems or client questions without having to "check what's going on here and I'll get back to you..."
There was some minor surprises and requests from users when using TWiki in a mac-based
environment as described in TWikiInAgencyWithMacs
but this did not make anyone reject the idea of working with TWiki for the production as the benefits were much greater.
TWiki is now "mission-critical" for the company as it holds all contact details, project logbooks, document revisions and archives. Twiki is as powerful as any $30.000 'knowledge management' application we could buy.
- 11 Mar 2003