Critical Success Factors: Separating Fact from Fantasy


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Presented by Rahel Bailie at Documentation and Training West, May 6-9, 2008 in Vancouver,BC

There are many ways to skin a content management project, and the skeletons of CM projects gone awry, or even abandoned before conception, line the ditches to prove it. Of all the critical factors on a content management project, why is all the talk about technology? Separate fact from fantasy, marketing from mayhem, and figure out where to focus your energies to make your content management process a success.

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  • Rahel Bailie Many of you may know me from Intentional Design. Also a managing partner in a multi-disciplinary consultancy, Strategy A. We do content management consulting from a more holistic perspective than most consultancie. What I mean by that is that we don’t just look at one aspect of a client project and bail out when it’s time to hand the project over the fence. Because we have someone who looks at the requirements side AND the content side AND the change management side, there’s project continuity there.
  • Critical Success Factors: Separating Fact from Fantasy

    1. 1. Content management success: Separating fact from fantasy, marketing from mayhem, silliness from sensibility
    2. 2. Purpose of this session <ul><li>Look at some facts, fallacies, and fantasies </li></ul><ul><li>Dissect some of the marketing speak </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the critical success points </li></ul><ul><li>Share experiences, information, questions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Fallacy: Tools are the engine
    4. 4. Fact: Tools are the caboose
    5. 5. Fallacy: Easy as reading a book <ul><li>Learning content management is like learning a new software language </li></ul><ul><li>“ Just read a book” </li></ul>
    6. 6. Fact: CM projects are complex <ul><li>Multiple skill sets: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content architect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content structure editor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxonomist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Template designer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information architect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>XML technologist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>XSL developer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple roles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content architect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CMS Administrator </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple phases: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology analysis </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Fallacy: Focus on features
    8. 8. Fantasy: Install, input, output
    9. 9. Fact: Build, buy, rent? Do you have enough in-house resources What kind of content processing power do you need Are your processes documented How much custom work is needed Can the software support your needs What is the TCO
    10. 10. Marketing vs mayhem <ul><li>Smart client </li></ul><ul><li>Component content management </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-user enabled client </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-media or multi-channel publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Integrates with popular translation and publishing tools </li></ul><ul><li>DITA-compatible </li></ul><ul><li>Feature-rich XML solution </li></ul>
    11. 11. Marketing and feature speak <ul><li>No standard industry vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Features give competitive advantage: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Image resizing – Automatic? Batch? Choices of outputs? Included or custom work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentication – What type does it refer to? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friendly URLs – same as “URL rewrites”? </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Fact: It’s not what, it’s how <ul><li>Not: Does the product have workflow? But: Does your product’s workflow support how we need to work in our organization? </li></ul><ul><li>Not: Does the product have verisoning? But: How does your product do version control, and keep audit trails? </li></ul>
    13. 13. Successful CMS projects <ul><li>What does success look like? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Silliness: Tools driven project <ul><li>IT hears about a CMS. </li></ul><ul><li>The CMS gets installed. </li></ul><ul><li>Your group is told to use it. </li></ul><ul><li>You find it lacks the right functionality. </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t get the resources to customize it. </li></ul><ul><li>The project goes sideways. </li></ul><ul><li>You go back to manual processing, and IT brands your group “uncooperative.” </li></ul>
    15. 15. Sensibility: Process-driven project Used under Creative Commons (c) 2006 CM Professionals
    16. 16. Insist on a project plan Activity Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Do this   Do this    Do this       Do this     Do this       Do this   
    17. 17. Handle process issues Where will the content be stored Will our docs get restructured Will we change production processes What about our translations Does the project fit with our corporate strategy Do we have to tag everything
    18. 18. Handle governance issues Who owns the content Who will enforce the processes Who will own the budget Is there enough political will Who will own the process Will our staff cope
    19. 19. Adopt a naturalistic system Better usability Better processes Higher rate of acceptance
    20. 20. Consider change management Get cross-dept buy-in Get exec. commitment Make it easy, easy, easy All clear about hows and whys Training, follow-up, evangelize, iterate Plan, decide, communicate
    21. 21. Share information <ul><li>Share experiences with other users </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to peers at conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to other system users </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to vendors, then </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to more users </li></ul><ul><li>Talk with technical folks </li></ul><ul><li>Ask lots and lots of questions </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Contact info: </li></ul><ul><li>Rahel Anne Bailie </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional Design Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>+1.604.837.0034 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Discussion