Taxonomy Design for the Short on Time


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Knowing your taxonomy project goals and having a detailed understanding of the process you will be using help ensure that your taxonomy program can be implemented in the smoothest way possible and in the least amount of time.

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Taxonomy Design for the Short on Time

  1. 1. Taxonomy Design for the Short on Time Presented by Fred Leise SLA 2012 July 16© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 1
  2. 2. About MeOwner and principal, ContextualAnalysis, providingtaxonomy and user experience consulting services since1995.Back-of-book indexer and indexing instructor(UC Berkeley Extension Online)Past-president, American Society for IndexingManager, taxonomy team, Sears Holdings CorporationBio available at:© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 2
  3. 3. OverviewThis session will not cover the details ofcreating the taxonomy itself, but focuseson the organizational structures andprocesses needed to establish a taxonomyprogram.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 3
  4. 4. OverviewFor an optimized taxonomy design projectyou need to know: What your goals are What tasks you are performing Why you are doing them Who is working with you and what they are responsible for When you need to be finished© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 4
  5. 5. OverviewThe clearer you are on these, the faster youcan work without the need to redo workyou have already completed.You will also be able to delegate more workand keep the project on track.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 5
  6. 6. OverviewPlanning/proof of concept/buy-inTaxonomy design processChange managementProject documentationStandards and other resourcesFeel free to ask questions at any time© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 6
  7. 7. OverviewWork smarter Do your most unpleasant task first Do your most important tasks after that Make progress on the big project every day Don’t try to multitask; it doesn’t work Plan the project; work the checklist© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 7
  8. 8. Planning/Proof of Concept/Buy-In© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 8
  9. 9. Planning/Proof of Concept/Buy-InSponsorshipOwnershipStakeholdersScopeContext© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 9
  10. 10. Planning/Proof of Concept/Buy-InCostBenefitsProof of conceptBuilding the caseGetting buy-in© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 10
  11. 11. SponsorshipAn executive who will: put his or her active support behind the project actively recommend the project to other executives obtain necessary budget and other resources provide appropriate visibility for the project to executive leadership© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 11
  12. 12. SponsorshipStrong sponsorship helps you navigate thepolitical waters and ensures success© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 12
  13. 13. Sponsorship: Action StepsIdentify potential sponsors; meet with themto discuss project.Identify the single best individual tochampion your project and get theiragreement to be the sponsor.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 13
  14. 14. OwnershipThe individual responsible for activelymanaging or overseeing the project. You? Helps plan project Helps manage resources Keeps project on track Supports individuals working on the project Enlists help from sponsor when necessary to remove barriers© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 14
  15. 15. Ownership: Action StepsWith help of sponsor, identify the individualwith the passion and the drive necessary toensure successful completion of theproject.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 15
  16. 16. StakeholdersAnyone impacted by the project or whoneeds to be consulted or informed aboutthe project Content creators Content users IT Customers/Members/Public© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 16
  17. 17. Stakeholders: Action StepsIdentify all project stakeholders. Involvethem as necessary/appropriate.Establish appropriate communication planfor stakeholders.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 17
  18. 18. ScopeFailure to properly determine project scopeis one of the major reasons for failureAgree to scope before the project startsBeware of scope creepDo not be afraid of calling a request “out ofscope for phase 1”© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 18
  19. 19. ScopeElements of scope Divisions/departments to be included (enterprise taxonomy?) Number and types of taxonomies required Use of taxonomies: across enterprise or within individual departments/units? Which departments?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 19
  20. 20. ScopeElements of scope Content types that will be covered by taxonomy: documents? images? video?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 20
  21. 21. ScopeElements of scope Documents: reports, white papers, research papers, product manuals, contracts, material safety data sheets, user-generated content (UGC)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 21
  22. 22. ScopeElements of scope Images: product images, employees, museum collections Videos: educational, training, product use Extent of metadata (depends on how content will be stored/used) Phased approach© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 22
  23. 23. ScopeFactors affecting scope Desired implementation date Available resources© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 23
  24. 24. Scope: Action StepsWork with sponsor, owner, andstakeholders to establish and commit toproject scope© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 24
  25. 25. ContextThe milieu in which the project will beconducted: items outside of the projectitself that will have significant impact on it.Understanding the context mitigatesagainst surprises Purpose Project drivers/pain points Desired project outcome Technical limitations© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 25
  26. 26. Context Tools used to build and maintain the taxonomy: existing/new; internally/externally sourced Format for taxonomy: Excel? XML? Related technology and its metadata capabilities, e.g., DAM, CMS Users of the taxonomy (internal/external)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 26
  27. 27. Context Does content exist or does it need to be created/acquired as part of the project? Sources of content: users, 3rd party content providers, internally generated Taxonomy sources: existing internal, new internal, free, purchased Existing internal taxonomy capabilities, e.g., existing, need to be expanded, or need to engage external resources?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 27
  28. 28. Context: Action StepsBe sure you understand and document thecontext of your taxonomy project so thereare no surprises as you move forward.Better to know things now than to have tospend time redoing parts of the project.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 28
  29. 29. CostsTime: How long will the project take?Resources: Who will be working on theproject and creating the taxonomy? What isthe cost of those resources?Software: Will software development/purchase costs be included?Don’t forget to include integration costs ifpurchasing new taxonomy software.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 29
  30. 30. BenefitsWho benefits and how?Find information faster = Time savings =cost savingsReduced duplication of effort = greaterefficiency = cost savingsGet customers to content/products faster =increased revenueQuantify benefits for building the case.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 30
  31. 31. Costs/Benefits: Action StepsPrepare a cost/benefit analysis to helpmake the case for your project.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 31
  32. 32. Proof of ConceptA demonstration or smaller scope projectproving the benefits of your taxonomyprojectConsider completing a proof of conceptproject to help promote buy-in if yourtaxonomy project is large, expensive, orinvolves multiple resources© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 32
  33. 33. Proof of ConceptConsider using a limited set of documents,those from a single department, or within asingle general subject areaPerform relevant user testing to establishbenefits of using the taxonomy© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 33
  34. 34. Building the CaseCosts/benefitsStakeholder needsPain points© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 34
  35. 35. Getting Buy-InWith proof of concept and cost/benefitinformation in hand, it should be easy toget executive buy-in for the taxonomyprogram.Schedule a meeting with the executivesponsor. Get their buy-in and let thatindividual set meetings with additionaldecision-makers.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 35
  36. 36. Getting Buy-InPresent the facts in a logical, concisemanner.Help those unfamiliar with your projectunderstand how it can benefit theirdepartment/division/unit.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 36
  37. 37. Taxonomy Design Process© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 37
  38. 38. Taxonomy Design ProcessOperational requirements Processes Parallelism Project Management Communication© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 38
  39. 39. ProcessesDefine in detail exactly what steps you willtake in what order to create yourtaxonomy.See “Process Documentation” laterKnowing what you will be doing when helpsensure there are no surprises along the waythat cause delays in development© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 39
  40. 40. ParallelismWhenever possible, use multiple teams towork parts of the taxonomy developmentprocess in parallel, shortening overalldevelopment time.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 40
  41. 41. Project ManagementIf available, engage a project manager tomove the process forward, making sureteams stay on track.This saves your time to focus on thetaxonomy development.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 41
  42. 42. CommunicationBecause teams will be working in paralleland no one individual will have all of theknowledge gathered, good communicationamong the teams is important© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 42
  43. 43. Communication: Action StepsEstablish weekly meetings at which allteams report on progress, identify possiblebarriers, and share findings and knowledgegained.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 43
  44. 44. Taxonomy Design ProcessUnderstand stakeholder needsUnderstand usersComparative analysisBuild/buyValidate/Modify© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 44
  45. 45. Taxonomy Design ProcessImplementMaintain© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 45
  46. 46. Understand Stakeholder NeedsWhat content areas are of primaryimportance? (Helps identify scope,implementation phases)Are there new content/product areasplanned?Current content/product areas that will nolonger be supported?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 46
  47. 47. Understand Stakeholder NeedsWhat are their pain points?For taxonomy revisions: what do they like/not like about the current taxonomy? Whatcan you change? What can you not change?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 47
  48. 48. Understand UsersAre your users heterogeneous orhomogenous? (Multiple audiences or singleaudience)What are the different audiences?How do their information needs differ?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 48
  49. 49. Understand UsersExplore mental models: how do usersunderstand your information space?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 49
  50. 50. © 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 50
  51. 51. Understand UsersMethods: user interviews, surveys, cardsorting, task analysis (in person/remote)Reflecting users’ mental models in yourtaxonomy means users will findinformation or products faster© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 51
  52. 52. Understand UsersIf you have multiple audiences, be sureusers you interview or test represent thosedifferent audiencesChallenge: identifying and schedulingusers.Consider using a recruiting company withexperience in your field.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 52
  53. 53. Comparative AnalysisWhat do other similar organizations/competitors use for their taxonomies?Check publicly available websites,trade/professional associationsWhat are the commonalities?What do you like about the taxonomies?What do you not like?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 53
  54. 54. Build/BuyDo you build your own taxonomy orbuy/license an existing one?Are there any existing taxonomies thatwould serve you needs with little or onlyminor modifications?For example the taxonomy the covers mostof your content except for one top-levelsubject category. Buy that, build themissing piece.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 54
  55. 55. Build/BuyOr, the taxonomy covers most of yoursubject areas, but you need a deepervocabulary in a specific area. Again, youcan modify the original to meet your needs.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 55
  56. 56. Build/BuyOther considerations:What is the cost to buy/license?One-time fee?Annual updates?Subscription basis?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 56
  57. 57. Build/BuySources Thesauri on-line (http://www.fbi.fh- Thesauri A-Z ( Willpower Information (© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 57
  58. 58. Build/BuyDoes your organization have the internalexpertise/resources available to create yourown taxonomy?Will you need to engage a taxonomyconsultant?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 58
  59. 59. Create/Buy the TaxonomySee Jean Aitchison, Thesaurus Constructionand Use: A Practical Manual© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 59
  60. 60. Create/Buy the TaxonomyBe sure your taxonomy meets relevantstandards, e.g., Dublin Core. Dublin Core Metadata Element Set ( there other metadata standards foryour organization that you need to meet?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 60
  61. 61. Validate/ModifyWith you taxonomy in place, validate it withthe appropriate stakeholders and modify asappropriate based on their input.Test with content creators: can theyappropriately tag content?Test with users: can they browse torelevant content or products based on thetaxonomy© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 61
  62. 62. ImplementThe complete, revised taxonomy is nowimplemented in the various systems inwhich it will be used.You have consulted with IT about theirformat needs, right? So you know if theycan handle and Excel file or need XML.© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 62
  63. 63. MaintainNo taxonomy is every “complete” or “final.”There will always be a need to change orupdate the vocabulary.Establish triggers for taxonomy review: Mergers Acquisitions Change in mission New audiences© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 63
  64. 64. MaintainBe sure you have a maintenance process inplace.Who can suggest new terms?How do they do that?Who has the authority to modify thevocabulary?How are stakeholders notified of changes?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 64
  65. 65. Change Management© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 65
  66. 66. Change ManagementWhat processes and workflows will the newtaxonomy affect and how will they beaffected?Who are all of the individuals impacted bythe changes?© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 66
  67. 67. Change ManagementCommunicate early and often toconstituents (internal and external) Project updates What changes are coming When the changes will happen What will it mean for them© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 67
  68. 68. Change ManagementProvide training in new processes/ workflows/methodologies In-person or online workshops Asynchronous training materials (podcasts) Training documentation© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 68
  69. 69. Project Documentation© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 69
  70. 70. Project DocumentationCreating and following two documentsensures that your project can be completedin the shortest amount of time: Process flow (what happens in what order) Work plan (who does what when)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 70
  71. 71. Project DocumentationPossible optional documentation: RACI chart© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 71
  72. 72. Process FlowLinear, sequential list of all tasks in theprojectMay include time period/datesNames of individuals responsible for taskImportance (H, M, L)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 72
  73. 73. Process Flow Taxonomy Development Process Individual Start Item Responsible Duration Date H, M, L Notes 1. Identify potential sponsors           1.1. Contact potential sponsors and  discuss project   2 days       1.2. Review discussions and identify  project sponsor   1 day       2. Identify project owner   1 day       3. Establish project scope (meet  with sponsor/owner)   1 hr       4. Identify stakeholders   2 days       5. Identify project team   3 days       5.1. Hold project kickoff meeting   2 hrs       5.2. Establish roles/responsibilities   1 hr       6. Interview stakeholders           6.1. Create questionnaire   8 hrs       6.2. Schedule interviews   2 hrs       6.3. Perform interviews   10 hrs       6.4. Analyze interviews   10 hrs      © 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 73
  74. 74. Work Plan: Swim Lane DocumentGraphical display of: What teams/individuals are involved What tasks each performs Order of tasks Dependencies/timing (same tasks as process flow)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 74
  75. 75. Work Plan: Swim Lane Document Taxonomy Process© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 75
  76. 76. RACI ChartResponsible for completing that step in the processAccountable for ensuring step is completed/decision authorityConsulted prior to completion of stepInformed of results once step is completed© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 76
  77. 77. RACI Chart© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 77
  78. 78. Resources© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 78
  79. 79. ResourcesDublin Core Metadata Element Set Knowledge: Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organisational Effectiveness, Patrick Lambe (© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 79
  80. 80. ResourcesMetadata for Still Images t/details.php?project_id=69 (ANSI/NISO standards for digital still images)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 80
  81. 81. ResourcesSpencer, Donna, Card Sorting, Rosenfeld Media, 2009Taxonomies and Other Resources (owned by Dow Jones)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 81
  82. 82. ResourcesTaxonomy Software (list of thesaurus software)Thesaurus Standards t/details.php?project_id=46 (ANSI/NISO guidelines for monolingual thesauri)© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 82
  83. 83. ResourcesYoung, Indi, Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, Rosenfeld Media, 2008© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 83
  84. 84. ResourcesWax, Dustin “50 Tricks to Get Things DoneFaster, Better, and More Easily.” Availableat: 0-tricks-to-get-things-done-faster-better- and-more-easily.html© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 84
  85. 85. Contact Information Fred Leise 773.764.2588 @ChicagoIndexer© 2012 by ContextualAnalysis 85