What do I need to do, as a project manager?
Project managers (whether that's your job title or just something you do) keep everything on track, on spec, on budget. They anticipate and avoid problems, and make sure that the team clearly knows what needs doing and when. One of the most crucial stages of production (especially because it's the last stage) is proofing - when the words, artworks, photos etc. are brought together with the visual design, turning a bunch of files into a Book.
Futureproofs helps you make sure that proofing goes smoothly, giving you the tools you need to keep things on track and to know what's happening at any point. We make it simple for the rest of the team to enter their corrections easily and quickly, and to ask and answer queries. And we provide helpful nudges to make sure that deadlines are met.
Futureproofs is a web-based application, which means that it runs in your web browser. We support all modern web browsers, and the chances are you already have the software you need.
When you log in, you'll be shown your Futureproofs dashboard. This lists all the projects you are a member of. Initially, there will be an introductory project called "How to use Futureproofs". This steps you through the basics of marking up a proof in Futureproofs - there are more details in the next section here. (You may also see one or more other projects, if your colleagues have invited you to work on them.)
Creating a project
Although you may only work on projects set up by other people, it's easy to create your own projects.
First, you need to create a Publisher account (or join one created by one of your colleagues). This provides the information we need to invoice you, as well as ensuring that you can cover for colleagues if they're off work around a deadline.
Once you're a Publisher, creating a project just involves clicking the big + sign on your dashboard. You need to give your project a name, and you can choose to edit a few other options, too.
With the project created, you can then upload your proofs, either as single files or in batches, depending on your needs.
You will probably also want to build a team to work on this project - your authors, proofreaders, designers and perhaps also key colleagues who need to review the content.
Marking up a proof
To mark up a proof, you hover your mouse over it on the dashboard and click the 'Check proofs' button that appears. Although (as a project manager) you may not spend much time actually working on the proofs themselves, there's one important button here you should know about: mark your proof as complete. This confirms that each user has finished working on their proof, and is shown in the proof-status report that you see on your dashboard. Once everyone's finished, it means the master proof can be collated. It also means the users won't get any nagging emails about deadlines!
Dealing with queries
On your dashboard, you may notice a message on the left-hand side about queries. This lets you know when one of your queries has been replied to, or when someone else on your team has asked you a question about the proof.
To deal with these queries, you hover over your project again and click the 'Queries' button. You will see all the queries for your project, in order. In each case, the full conversation is stored so that it's always clear what decisions have been made. There's a simple button to see each query in context and respond to it.
If you're a Project Owner then you will be able to view the queries of any member of your team, as well as the usual filters for status, proof and page.
If you don't respond to your queries, you'll get a reminder email each day, summarising all your queries and giving a link straight to the relevant page of the proof.
Dealing with the master proof
Once the master proof has been collated (bringing all the team's markup into a single authoritative document), you will need to share this with your designer. There are two options here.
- Get your designer working in Futureproofs, where they can review the master proof (but not change it), check off each correction as it's implemented in the source files, and raise queries about anything that's not clear.
- Export a PDF file containing all the markup for your master proof. (This can also be useful if you want to store milestone assets for reference.)
We often find that publishers working with overseas typesetters prefer the PDF option, whereas those with trusted onshore suppliers or in-house designers prefer to have everyone working in Futureproofs. Both options can work well and you should choose the one that fits your team and workflow best.
Proofreading the new version
Before you send the corrected proof out to the team for checking, you will usually want to have someone proofread it against the previous version. Futureproofs provides a split-screen mode for this purpose, which shows the master proof and the new proof at the same time, and lets them step through all corrections on the master and copy across any that were missed.
Once this proofread is complete, you're ready to have the rest of the team check the proof again. And so the cycle continues until the proof is signed off and ready for print!