Entrepreneurs are a complicated lot, or rather the business of building a business involves a lot of complication. Some of it is necessary, but most of it is unnecessary. You know, the extra steps that get added when you don’t seek the shortest and easiest path to getting where you want to go.
Complication in Action: A Case Study of Publishing Posts
Take the simple act of publishing posts to the MOMeo Magazine site. It seems simple enough, but a recent examination of our internal process revealed a lot of extra complication.
Step 1: Determine editorial plan and assign posts to experts.
Step 2: Edit submissions from experts.
Step 3: Send a copy to the art department for banner creation.
Step 4: Art department creates and uploads banner artwork to Basecamp.
Step 5: Download artwork and post artwork and article to the site.
This is a simple example of how processes, if left to their own devices, become hopelessly and unnecessarily complicated. It involved a lot of back and forth, and completely lacked the ability for steps to be completed simultaneously.
The Less Complicated Version: How to Eliminate Unnecessary Steps
Enter the WordPress Editorial Calendar as a central communication and process management tool. Instead of using email, and Basecamp to manage the process, we eliminated all the process clutter, 2 of the 5 steps AND the need for Basecamp!
Step 1: Map out editorial calendar in WordPress and assign posts to experts.
Step 2: The art department creates banners from the editorial calendar and uploads directly to WordPress.
Step 3: Edit submissions from experts and post directly to WordPress.
How to Find Easy Ways to Manage your Systems
#1: Create a Communication Hub – Instead of relying on back and forth email correspondence, create a central communication hub. If it’s a part of your daily workflow, then cluttering up your inbox with alerts isn’t necessary. Look for built-in communication opportunities that don’t create any ‘extra’ steps uploading files or updating the process status.
#2: Batch Related Tasks – Get in the habit of tackling similar tasks in a single work block. For example, instead of writing a single post, write 3 or 4 at one time.
#3: Cut Out Steps and People – Evaluate every single step involved in a project and if it’s at all unnecessary, remove it! The same holds true for people – everyone needs to know, but not everyone needs to be directly involved!
#4: Limit the Back and Forth – Every time you pass a project back and forth, you burn up valuable time on restarting and reviewing the prior work. Think of a project as moving along a production line with each contributor adding to the final product instead of a decision-making review committee with a designated project manager in charge of the final product.
#5: Create Process Independence – Whenever possible, design your systems to allow people to work independently on different project tasks at the same time! This eliminates the dreaded chain reaction that results in the last in line pulling an all-nighter to ‘make up’ lost time when someone misses a deadline along the way.