The 5 O’Clock Split
PE: What hours do you put in?
PVK: Roughly a 40-hour week. At any one time, we might have five magazines in process. I have a staff—including myself—of three of us to handle our 50-odd projects. We try to stagger them so they’re well-paced for each of us.
The cycle of a magazine from the ad close to when it has landed on the newsstand is 60 days. There’s a lot of milestones within those 60 days where you’re busy. I have a five-foot calendar on my wall that I build a visual set of bars on to show the project milestones. It helps me keep my life sane. When you’ve got many projects that overlap, a visual depiction of them really helps- it seems much easier to grasp than a page full of dates.
The [project management] program I like is Fast Track. It’s very easy to use. I’ve used it for the past eight years. It’s saved my life in terms of knowing where I am and what projects are under way. It’s a nice thing.
We don’t get our schedules disrupted by the advertising department. It happens very irregularly. The scary thing for me would be a power outage or the Internet is down. We’re transmitting all our files and our transmissions electronically now.
PE: What’s the secret behind successfully juggling the production of five magazines?
PVK: I’ve come to appreciate how important the culture is as far as the success of a business. Taunton was started by a family, and their belief was that you meet deadlines and you keep your agreements. And I have been the beneficiary of their vision—it's a great way to do business. Because it starts at the top, it’s a core principal. I don’t have to have a stick to enforce schedules. It’s just a cultural belief here. If someone is struggling with deadlines, it’s because the culture has made it OK. ...