Tweak workflow? Don't "archive"/hide cards immediately after publication?

I often tell authors that the Kanban card is the place to communicate with the editorial board about their article. This targets a smaller audience than the discussion forum or the comments section of their article on fedoramagazine.org. So it might be a little less embarrassing if the author wants to request that something like a spelling error be corrected. It also makes it easier for the editors to figure out the history of the article if all the notes are kept in one place.

However, the current workflow moves the card into an “archived” state immediately after publication. In this final state, the card is hidden from view on the Kanban board.

I would like to keep the cards visible for a short time after publication because small post-publication edits are not uncommon. Also, the current “queued” column is a bit underutilized because there is no dedicated artist on the team to do the images for the articles.

My proposal is to rename the current “scheduled” column to “archived”, rename the “queued” column to “published”, and have a policy that cards are always moved onto the top of the new published column so they will always be ordered by their publication date. At the weekly meetings, the last few cards (the articles that have been published for the longest) should be moved to the final archived/hidden state. I would suggest keeping four to six cards visible post-publication for the authors to request updates. I think most post-publication problems are spotted very quickly, so only a few cards need to be kept in the pre-archived (“published”) column to give the authors a few days to request final tweaks to their articles.

Thoughts?

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I’m not 100% sold on the need to keep cards open post-publication, but I’m not opposed to it. I think I’d suggest a slightly different change in workflow, though.

  • Keep “Queued” but redefine it to mean “ready to be scheduled”. That way it’s easy to see what articles are ready when it’s time to build the schedule and we can put them first so that articles that still need editing can be less rushed.
  • Create a “Scheduled/Published” (or just “Published” with the understanding that the articles aren’t necessarily live yet) column where we keep cards for ?? period of time.
  • Rename the current “scheduled” to “archived” as you suggest

The question that I’m not sure about is how long to keep the cards in the “Scheduled/Published” Column post-publication. The upper bound, I’d say, is 30 days. That’s when comments automatically close. It’s probably way too high. “The next meeting” seems too short, because for an article that published Wednesday morning, there’s only a few hours until the next meeting. So maybe “one week” post publication, with the understanding that some cards will end up being there closer to two weeks because the column probably won’t get tended to except when it’s time to prep for the meeting.

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That’s what I was trying to address with the keep 4-6 cards rule. If the column is kept sorted (or roughly sorted) with newest on the top and cards are moved over to the archived column from the bottom up, then the remaining 4 to 6 cards will always include the most recently published articles (1 to 2 weeks worth assuming 3 articles per week). Getting editors to always drag-and-drop cards to the top of the scheduled/published column may be tricky, however. It may not be worth the fuss. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, I don’t think we need to be overly prescriptive here. It’s guidelines, not a law. The 4-6 cards rule probably works just as well except maybe in rare cases like now when we have a bunch of queued up content. But I’m okay with having that problem. :slight_smile:

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It’s your call. I like the suggestions you bulleted.

One technical problem to be aware of regarding keeping the cards sorted with the most recent at the top is that Kanban seems to place the card at the bottom of the column by default when using the dropdown inside the card to assign its column. I prefer the newest at the top to make them more visible and easier to find when they are likely to be needed (that’s the whole point). I worry that this discongruity might cause undue confusion.

My two cents on the topic:

I like the redefinition of “Queued” since that is what that word means to me at first glance.

I would go with “Published” category for visibility for the authors.

Archive renaming sounds appropriate to me.

Published for more than 2 weeks sounds like overkill to me. If someone has not caught a problem before then it may not be caught and if it is the editors can always address it.

I, too, have a problem with new items appearing at the bottom of the list and have to resist reordering whole categories. Is there any way to modify the sort order?

You two gentlemen have been at this a lot longer than I have so I bow to what ever you settle on.

Yeah, that’s annoying.

One thing that occurred to me is that Taiga supports setting work-in-progress limits on a per-column basis. So we can have it limit the number of cards in the “Published” limit. Then if we need to move older cars, we move them whenever. In most cases, we won’t have more than 3-4 that are scheduled and waiting to be published, so if we set the WIP limit to 6, that gives us 3 upcoming and the 3 most recent. That brings us closer to Greg’s original proposal.

As you point out, even if the card is archived, people still have ways to get in touch with us (including finding the card via the link the email notification)

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Sure, Thursday is fine.