I'm Leaving You:The risks of dumping your old CMS for Drupal and how to manage them By Nicole Lind SVP, Treehouse Agency firstname.lastname@example.org
Why this session? Surprise dangers lurk Unrealistic expectations Drain on resources Change is difficult Unrecognized risks
The goal Set better expectations Provide a risk assessment framework Minimize surprises Bring sanity to a potentially stressful experience
Understanding the Situation:theLANGUAGE & thePEOPLE Doublespeakis language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs), making the truth less unpleasant without denying its nature, intentional ambiguity, or reversal of meaning. Tribalism is a strong Cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the other members of another group. From Wikipedia (paraphrased)
“There’s a module for that” Implication: Your site is practically already built! Truth: You’re going to need plenty of development work to get the custom look and functionality you have in mind. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
“Final designs” Implication: “Of course the designs are final”. Just a few tweaks are expected and shouldn’t impact functionality. Truth: Even small design changes can introduce significantly new functionality. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
“Flexibility” Implication: The new CMS will be completely customized, but should act like shrink wrapped software with documented manuals and no bugs . Truth: Your CMS is custom-made and will require a debugging period and custom documentation. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
“Cost Savings” Implication: Drupal is free! Of course it’s going to be cheaper! Truth: Every project is unique. While Drupal is free, the development, support, and hosting of your project is not. Savings (and costs) will vary. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
“There’s talent all over the world” Implication: There are Drupal developers everywhere…just outsource to a cheaper country and save loads! Truth: Depending on your project, management style, and organizational culture, international outsourcing may not be a practical approach—and could end up costing more. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
“Critical launch issue” Implication: Whoops! Something “just came up.” Truth: Bizarre unknown use cases only became known at or after launch. Somebody didn’t think things through enough. Understanding Drupal Doublespeak
Understanding the Drupal Tribe Members Common tribe members of a Drupal CMS migration Evangelist member Passive-aggressive member Openly hostile member Know-it-all member Apathetic member Protector member Chief member
Evangelist Description Brought Drupal to the organization or pushed for a major over hall of the existing implementation Caveats Depending on how they “sold” Drupal (which is often an oversell with Drupal Speak terms) to the organization will determine how to handle the rest of the tribe members. What to do with them Manage expectations and bring everyone back to reality
Passive-Aggressive Description Tries to please people by agreeing to their plan of action publically, yet actually doing the opposite privately Caveats Although not a very vocal tribe member, the passive aggressive often uses subversive emails and conversations to pass blame and avoid doing their job What to do with them Point out the inconsistency between their words and actions
Openly Hostile Description Openly antagonistic to the project. They will be the first person to say I told you Drupal was a bad idea Caveats Often motivated by jealously and they often feel they should be leading the project effort What to do with them Assign an important job in the project to this person or completely eliminate them. There is no sitting on the fence or shades of grey
Know-it-All Description Often a very experienced technical person but they are new to Drupal. Caveats Fear of change drives this person and they will complain about the inadequacies of Drupal What to do with them Train these people as soon and as much as possible!
Apathetic Description The apathetic will sit on the sideline and make no meaningful contribution to the project Caveats Usually much of the editorial staff is apathetic and unfortunately they don’t say much about the CMS until the new product is already built What to do with them Preview as much of the early build through demos and test accounts
The Protector Description Keeper of the budget and sustains the migration effort through resourcing Caveats Sometimes unclear who this member is and how much power they have What to do with them Make this tribe member your friend. Take them for dinner and drinks. Schmoozing!
The Chief Description The mover off all things related to the migration effort. Understands the strategy, language and players associated with getting the job done Caveats Not always well liked and may need to be hard on other tribe members What to do with them Empower this tribe member with real authority
People are scared. Tough changes can make people redundant, threaten jobs and require the restructuring of the organization Speed of change matters. Slow is usually easier, but many web projects require urgency and speed to market People react differently. Some are more impacted by change and sometimes do not cope well; may act out, taking on tribe roles of the openly hostile or passive aggressive member Change is inherently risky. It should be managed with care and professionalism Understanding Change in the Drupal Tribal Community
Migrating is Inherently Risky and What To Do About It Evolving People and Language Through Risk Assessment
Identifying the most common risks Risks Potential Impacts No Drupal experience Unknown dependencies Scheduling Double data entry Unidentified block behavior Old legacy system has no clear migration path Lack of clear content mapping Cost Schedule Performance
Survey users and stakeholders for additional potential risk Don’t forget members of the technical team (including developers, system administrators and hosting partners). Hosting is often overlooked in budgets and requires critical skills that maybe missing. Spend the necessary time to understand editor and content contributor processes and expectations for the administrative interface. Often a very overlooked area for risk.
Setting up a risk tracking method Many formats available on the web; Google “risk analysis” or “risk assessment” for ideas. Most often includes tracking risk for Likelihood of occurring and Impact on the project; impact could be financial, timeline, or quality of the outcome
Sample risk assessment
Creating risk mitigation plans for Drupal migration projects
Common sense plans that help reduce risk Set clear and measurable goals Conduct a project discovery Provide as much training and documentation as budget and schedule allows
Setting clear and measurable goals UNCLEAR NOT SPECIFIC UNREALISTIC “We are moving to Drupal because we want our CMS to be more flexible.” “We expect to save a lot of money moving to Drupal.” “One of the main goals of this project is to double our traffic the first month after launch.” Goals need to be specific and realistic to help set expectations for success of the project. Goals also focus our attention on higher priority activities versus lower priority activities.
Project discovery Project discoveries help stakeholders and implementation team to understand the real needs of the migration project Project discoveries are ideal for fleshing out the unknowns (risk) of a project. Once something is known, it often dramatically reduces the risk and exposure involved in migrating to Drupal Project discovery can be as short or long as need be but should be done regardless
Training and documentation Budgets and timelines generally don’t cover the real outlay for training and documentation…which is a risk More efficient delivery: Create inline documentation as much as possible. Saves time and money relative to creating documentation in two places. Regularly demo functionality for stakeholders. These sessions can be recorded and used for future training and documentation needs. Maintain a central repository for all project documents.
Putting everything together
Distributing and publishing the riskand mitigation plans Initial risk assessments should be placed in the project discovery documentation (if one is conducted) On-going risk assessments should be shared with project stakeholders through meetings, email, scrums, etc. Once new risk are communicated the document should be updated and saved to the central document repository (i.e. Google docs, Basecamp, etc.)
Final thoughts Be patient Understand the people and language of the community moving to Drupal Be sensitive to how other tribal members deal with change Identifying and managing risk is the most effective way to evolve your community and successfully migrate to Drupal
Thank youQuestions? By Nicole Lind SVP, Treehouse Agency email@example.com
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