Agile Publishing – Direct from writer to reader
There are pros and cons to the “agile” publishing concept. And there are a lot of discussion and opinions floating around RE streamlining for fast feedback . But, I feel this is a process in evolution and will morph out of major drawbacks.
The major pro is speed/fast results — elimination of the multi-layered bureaucracy between writer and reader. The major con is possibly lower quality lit.
Gabe Habash gives insight and a good definition of ‘agile’ publishing in this piece for Publishers Weekly:
Is Publishing Ready for Agile?
“Agile” is becoming more of a buzzword in publishing circles as companies look to harness the new possibilities digital is providing, but many are still unsure whether the agile model is right, and others still aren’t sure exactly what “agile” means for publishing. To tackle these concerns and more, BISG hosted a webcast with featured speaker Kristen McLean, the founder and CEO of Bookigee. (John’s Note: BISG = Book Industry Study Group)
So—what exactly is “agile” publishing? “It’s a philosophy that is grounded in the customer, getting a lot of good feedback, and not necessarily assuming you know the answer without communication,” said McLean. “It’s for learners, not knowers.”
McLean laid out the key concepts of agile: quick cycles (as quick as a week), self-organizing working groups (as opposed to traditional hierarchical working interactions), and iteration (agile publishers assume that there are going to be changes along the way), among many other key principles. One of the more radical differences between agile and traditional publishing, McLean noted, is that it emphasizes process over perfection. “It’s more important to get it out than to get it perfect, because when you get it out you can test it.” This focus on process (which leads neatly into agile’s tenet of customer feedback and interaction) is difficult for publishers to accept. “We don’t like typos; we don’t like half-finished books,” McLean said.
But early evidence, McLean reported, is showing that agile creates a much higher sense of job satisfaction. This is due in part because of the emphasis on transparency and accountability with agile’s self-organizing working groups—the structure naturally highlights those who are pulling their weight, and those who aren’t.