Improving support for lead publishers during transition

Posted in: Beta, Content Publisher

Transitioning our content to the new CMS is a lot of work. The early part of the transition in particular involves lead publishers of departments and services across the University reviewing their content, deciding whether to transition it or not, assigning it a content type (like Guide or Project) and giving it an action (like major edit or delete).

With more than 40 Lead Publishers auditing hundreds of inventories, the content team gets a lot of questions.

Pressure on editors

Up until recently, these questions were sent directly to the three Web Editors in the team who are assigned to Lead Publishers as their single point of contact. Individual Editors were the only ones who could see the questions and the only ones who could respond. This threw up a number of issues for all involved:

  • as a team we couldn’t estimate for delivering support in our sprint planning
  • the work wasn’t being captured in any of our boards or planning
  • the increased workloads impacted on the Web Editors’ ability to deliver other sprint work
  • sometimes Lead Publishers weren’t receiving a response for a number of days, which meant that some of them were unable to progress their work.

Our new process

In true agile fashion, we have pivoted and iterated our support process.

Now, our Lead Publishers email all questions to a dedicated email address that the entire content team has access to.

Each morning one of the Web Editors checks the inbox and triages the queries. They then add the questions to a dedicated Trello board, give each a category, evaluate its complexity with points and assign it to one of the team members, with the aim of the Lead Publisher getting a response within a day.

Bringing support into the fold

This is the second sprint in which we have been using the new support process. During that time we have received more than 60 emails to our shared address. This has translated into 35 tasks completed and recorded on our support board.

Being able to record our workload more accurately has been reflected in our sprint velocity and helped in scheduling other sprint work.

This is important as dealing with stakeholder queries is an integral part of our work, one that requires sufficient time and attention and had previously not been accounted for by our scheduling processes.

Sharing the workload

The new process has taken the burden of support work off the shoulders of our Web Editors and allowed other members of the content team to step in.

Work has been spread across the team more evenly, freeing up the Web Editors to progress more of their allocated sprint work, while giving the rest of the team a greater role in support and stakeholder engagement.

Supporting our publishers

Sharing our support process has also resulted in a better experience for our Lead Publishers. If a member of our team has an especially high workload or is out of the office, it no longer impacts on how long it takes for questions to get a response. We can now consistently provide faster support, and that makes the Beta transition process faster and better for everyone involved.

Posted in: Beta, Content Publisher