How Annie’s Weaves Its Publishing Web for Crafters

From its start as a small, mail-order needlecraft company, Annie’s has grown into a craft media empire. Based in Berne, Indiana, the family-owned business produces magazines, catalogs, kits, books, newsletters, and even its own TV show, PBS’s Knit and Crochet Now!


Annie’s web development team handles everything web-related for the company’s wide range of products, which means constant content updates, new sites, and creative projects such as online classes with experts who teach everything from Bavarian crochet and quilting to jewelry-making and knitting magic socks.

Since the web department’s formation in 1998, it’s had to adapt right along with the web revolutions of publishing and retail. Project manager Michelle Lawrence describes the team’s busy role in the transformation that’s had to take place at Annie’s to keep up with the times and the business’s exponential growth: “In addition to performing our technical support duties, we also help guide others when dealing with anything that goes on the internet. It’s not necessarily a part of everyone’s background and explaining what we need and what we do in order for things to run smoothly is not always factored into the time we allot for various tasks!”

With so many parts involved in producing the various media channels, Annie’s web dev team has to make sure those parts keep moving. Michelle notes, “The most challenging thing about all those moving parts is communication, to make sure everyone relevant to a conversation is in the loop.”

Read more

8 Expensive Lessons in Project Management, for Free!

When it comes to project management, it’s so much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistakes. So here are a few of mine!

I’ve been running projects for my whole adult life. I started with computer games at IG. After ten years I switched to marketing and copywriting projects at Articulate Marketing, which I still run. On top of that, I’m now also CEO of Turbine, an online app for purchases, expenses, time off management and HR record-keeping.

Photo: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

Project management is the art, craft and science of getting stuff done by teams. And it’s also like walking through a minefield. These tips – based on my own experience over 20 years – will help you find your way through it.

Read more

The Business Perks of Traveling Back to the Future

Sometimes the sheer clarity of hindsight is like life’s annoying way of saying, “I told you so!” Looking in the rearview mirror to see what went wrong is integral to learning from our mistakes, but we often wish for hindsight’s clear vision when we’re forging our way forward.

Research psychologist Gary Klein has a startling prescription for that feeling:  imagine your plan’s death.


According to Klein, one way to tap into the power of hindsight is a practice called the premortem. In the more familiar postmortem, you analyze an unsuccessful event after it has occurred to figure out what went wrong.

In the premortem, the analysis faces the event head-on while presuming it has failed to generate plausible reasons for the failure. Performing premortems can help identify problems in advance and tune you into early warning signs because you know what to watch out for.

These are the basic steps for conducting a premortem:

Read more