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Taming fiefdoms: Collaboration, content and complex stakeholders


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CSForum Melbourne, October 2016. Transcript at:

As content strategists, our work often involves trying to change the way an organisation does something—whether it’s by way of a new website, updates to navigation, a content review, or even implementing a governance model.

And at the heart of change are people. Some who will be excited and ready to embrace what you’re doing, and some who will be harder to engage as they become protective of their patch of turf. Competing priorities, battles over budget, and plain old internal politics can be tough to manage, especially if you’ve got a project to deliver.

This presentation looks at practical ways you can collaborate with complex stakeholders on your next content project. It will discuss different warning signs to keep your eye out for that could disrupt your plans, as well as offer tips for gathering stakeholder requirements, obtaining constructive input, and techniques for aligning different business groups to share a common vision.

Published in: Internet
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Taming fiefdoms: Collaboration, content and complex stakeholders

  1. 1. TAMING FIEFDOMS Collaboration, content and complex stakeholders
  2. 2. Individual fiefdom •  Often feared •  Becomes roadblock •  Complex motives •  Driven by control Group fiefdom •  Protective of turf •  Puts up walls •  Hoards data •  Driven by power
  3. 3. [Digital transformation] …for much of your organisation —particularly senior management— requires the acceptance of a significant loss of control and power. Gerry McGovern
  5. 5. Image carousels reveal internal arguments, not information. Wise words from Max Johns
  6. 6. THE MARKETING FIEFDOM Signs: Battles over home page, last minute requests, secrecy over projects, content production and approval bottlenecks. Impact: A content team that’s reactive rather than proactive, uncertainty. Caused by: Lack of a clearly communicated vision (won't give up control because they can't articulate what should be there). Collaborate by: Facilitating a vision workshop & communicating results.
  8. 8. The governasties. Rahel Anne Bailie
  9. 9. •  Marketing and technology fiefdoms often battle over technology. •  Traditional IT departments are seen as slow moving and difficult, stifling competiveness and innovation. •  Conflict between waterfall program offices and Agile delivery teams.
  10. 10. Robert Rose’s framework HIGH needfor flexibility • Content / experience management (Presentation – driven by interface, channel, audience) MED needfor flexibility • Engagement management (Optimisation – driven by contextualisation, personalisation, testing) LOW needfor flexibility • Core data management (Content & knowledge repository – driven by standards, scalability, availability) LOW need for dependability MED need for dependability HIGH need for dependability HIGH need for flexibility MED need for flexibility LOW need for flexibility
  11. 11. Low impact to legacy systems Rapid delivery Close to customer Low integra7on Process-based governance Low investment High flexibility Low impact to people & processes Alignment exercise High impact to legacy systems Tradi7onal delivery Away from customer High integra7on Approval-based governance High investment Low flexibility High impact to people & processes
  12. 12. THE TECHNOLOGYFIEFDOM Signs: Conflict between teams that want to be nimble and innovative using apps or technology and a traditional IT department that is slow moving and restricted. Impact: Slow speed to market, increased cost of implementing content projects, overkill on technology. Caused by: Risk aversive IT departments, trying to use one piece of technology as the solution for everything, one-size-fits-all approach to technology in general, Agile delivery vs waterfall programs. Collaborate by: Building trust with alignment exercise. Understand how the enterprise works together and be aware of the systems you play with.
  14. 14. •  Land grab of people and resources. •  Many content projects become digital transformation in disguise. •  Business fiefdoms wary of change. •  Understand money - Don’t be afraid to talk money and budgets. •  Show, don’t tell and make the intangible, tangible. •  Bridge the gaps between Agile projects and business as usual (BAU). •  Upskill team members and build in-house capabilities.
  15. 15. THE BUSINESS FIEFDOM Signs: Resistance to change, content returned to a waterfall team after Agile project delivery. Impact: Ineffective strategy implementation, under resourcing, poor governance and workflow. Caused by: Fear, uncertainty, lack of skilled resources, digital transformation in disguise. Collaborate by: Building trust and empowerment through a strong communication strategy, content toolkit, and developing in-house capabilities.
  16. 16. THANK YOU
  17. 17. Sally Bagshaw @snappysentences