BSA-Pearson Publishing Update: Latest Developments, Expanded FAQ

A New Publishing Model for the BSA
The Boy Scouts of America is in the process of transitioning to a new publishing model aimed at reducing costs, improving efficiencies, and offering customers a wider range of content in a variety of formats. As part of this process, Pearson, one of the world’s leading learning companies, is managing the BSA’s publishing needs going forward. Along with BSA leaders, they have embarked on a process that involves time for discovery, development, implementation, validation, and evaluation of the new model. Pearson has completed the discovery phase and is well into development and implementation of the new process.

Who Do I Call?
These project managers will be able to start your project and answer any questions you may have:

  • For jobs previously handled by Rich Luna, Cindy Mendez, Steve Bufkin, or Beth Blair, contact Beth Blair at x2590.
  • Keith Courson will continue to work on assigned projects as before. Contact Keith Courson at x2341.
  • Diane Leicht will continue to work on assigned projects as before. Contact Diane Leicht at x2262.

Additionally, Pearson will add two dedicated project managers on-site in Dallas in October. (Offers are pending and start dates in negotiation.)

If you have questions about the overall BSA publishing project, contact Sam Bernstein in Supply at 704-588-4260 x383.

Three Steps to Starting a Project 

  1. Complete a Publishing Request and have it approved by your department manager.
  2. Once the request is approved by your department manager, submit that request to Brad Neufeld for budget review. (What’s this? Brad is reviewing all publishing requests to make sure there are adequate dollars set aside in BSA budgets for the project.)
  3. Finally, submit your project to Sam Bernstein, after which a project manager will contact you to discuss your project.

Frequently Asked Questions 
Let’s be honest. This is a big change in a process that hasn’t fundamentally changed since the early 1990s. As you might expect, there are a number of questions related to a change of this size. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q: How do I start a publishing project?
A: Before any work may begin, all new projects must be submitted to and approved by your department manager using the Publishing Request and then submitted to Brad Neufeld for review prior to receiving approval from Sam Bernstein. Our approval process will be a quick turnaround and this review is necessary to monitor the overall BSA budget.

Q: I’m nervous about my project. In fact, I’m sitting on a couple of projects waiting for things to get settled with Pearson. When will it be OK to move ahead?
A: Pearson’s process is up and running. We’ll continue to adjust the process as we move ahead. Please don’t delay any projects you have—come see us and let’s work together.

Q: How should I budget for 2014?
A: The budgeting process will certainly change in the future. However, for 2014, budget just like you always have.

Q: Should we expect delays in our projects?
A: We do not anticipate delays in projects. There will be changes in personnel, processes, and procedures as Pearson assumes responsibility for the BSA publishing function, but we are committed to meeting customer needs.

Q: Will on-demand services (like copy editing) still be available?
A: Yes, on-demand services for copy editing and Web updates will continue to be available. The procedures for requesting these services have not changed.

Q: What is the procedure for initiating AV/photography projects?
A: Department managers must submit all new projects, using the Publishing Request, to Peter Simon before any work may begin.

Q: I’ve heard the terms “project manager” and “account executive.” Which is it?
A: Pearson will use the term “project manager.”

Q: Will I be able to see the status of my projects under the new Pearson system?
A: A comprehensive schedule listing all active projects will be sent from the Pearson project managers to their individual internal clients twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Q: Is Pearson hiring people?
A: Yes. Pearson will be hiring two additional project managers to start sometime in October. To date, nine former BSA employees have been hired to ensure continuity.

What’s Going On Now? 
This is a big project and there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Here are just a few highlights—watch for more news in future updates:

  • Digital End-to-End Platform: A platform developed to manage project planning, workflow, authoring, and digital distribution to multiple formats, including print, Web, and mobile.
  • Content Management (Equella): A centerpiece of the DETE platform, Equella is Pearson’s premier content management system, a repository that tags and stores all content assets in searchable and downloadable formats. We’ve begun a pilot project working closely with BSA’s photography team to tag and upload thousands of photos taken at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. Watch for future updates.
  • Project 411: Project 411 is a major revision of Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing. This is a major project—so major that we’ve assigned a dedicated editor, Caroline Finnegan, to work with Bob Scott and his team.
  • Merit Badge Program: Another major program of Scouting that will have a dedicated project manager.

 Just the Facts: Projects in the Publishing System 

  • Currently, there are 347 individual projects in the pipeline: 98 are on hold, 64 are in manufacturing, and 185 are in a stage of development/production.
  • 63 titles in development/production have planned delivery dates in 2013: 19 in September, 15 in October, 6 in November, and 23 in December.
  • 110 projects in development/production have planned due dates in 2014 and 12 have due dates in 2015.
  • Of the 98 projects on hold, 61 of them have past-due planned due dates, 31 have planned due dates during Q4 2013, 5 have planned due dates for 2014, and 1 for 2015.

Titles on hold are with content owners waiting for feedback so new schedules can be built based upon new content availability dates from the content owners. Project managers will be meeting with the respective content owners to determine project status.

  • Of the 61 titles on hold with past-due planned due dates, 39 of them are Spanish merit badge pamphlets or other translations.
  • Of the 64 titles in manufacturing, 62 are due in 2013 with a breakdown as follows: 25 due in September, 19 due in October, 11 due in November, and 7 due in December. Two projects are with manufacturing that we are planning to deliver early in 2014.

Beginning next week, a comprehensive schedule listing all active projects will be sent from the Pearson project managers to their individual internal clients twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Who Is Pearson?
As the world’s largest learning company—with operations in more than 70 countries—Pearson has placed the learner at the center of everything they do by partnering with educational institutions, organizations, corporations, and government agencies to create effective learning solutions that provide measurable results.

Many of Pearson’s employees have served in classrooms and are members of the Scouting community.

2 Responses to BSA-Pearson Publishing Update: Latest Developments, Expanded FAQ

  1. Bob Myers says:

    I am amazed that someone in the publishing business for the BSA or anyone else would open a segment on frequently asked questions with the term “Let’s be honest.” That is a core value by which we live. I expect you are always honest.

  2. Bobby Sammons says:

    Does this mean that we will finally be able to digital versions of all the Scout publications, including Merit Badge Pamphlets? I know that a lot of people still prefer the standard book in hand, but the digital ones work really well for a lot of us.

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