Taxonomy Change Management

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Presented as part of the session "Keeping Your Taxonomy Fresh and Relevant", SLA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, USA, 18 July 2012.

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Taxonomy Change Management

  1. 1. Taxonomy Change Management Matt Johnson SLA Annual Meeting Chicago, Illinois, USA 18 July 2012© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 1
  2. 2. What’s this about? Many sources of information on how to create taxonomies; fewer on how to manage taxonomies once created Taxonomy management platforms typically don’t account for business processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. Who’s it for? Focus on large enterprises Tools and best practices can be applied in many settings© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. Who are you?• Program Manager, Information Standards, eServices, EMC • Computer hardware and software manufacturer • B2B space • Fortune 500 • ~54K employees around the world• Formerly lead taxonomist for Microsoft field sales and marketing portal© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. Survey of working taxonomists Conducted via SurveyMonkey, March 2012 Promoted to a global audience via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups (notably TaxoCoP, SLA Taxonomy Division, regional SLA chapters) 55 individual respondents 5 high-level questions about taxonomy management practices in their workplaces© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 7
  8. 8. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 8
  9. 9. Why business processes? Most taxonomists don’t work alone.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 9
  10. 10. Why business processes? Minimize input channels Avoid reinventing the wheel Avoid hearsay Avoid duplication of effort© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 10
  11. 11. Why business processes? The taxonomy will last longer than you will.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 11
  12. 12. Business processes are dynamic.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 12
  13. 13. Business processes are dynamic. Expect them to change as new requests are made.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 13
  14. 14. Integrating with existing data and workflows Unnecessary in an ideal world, but most of our worlds are far from ideal.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 14
  15. 15. Integrating with existing data and workflows Taxonomies often dependent on large, complex data infrastructure with its own processes Each part of the process known to relevant stakeholders, but no overall insight© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 15
  16. 16. Integrating with existing data and workflows User research techniques for identifying existing processes: – Interviewing stakeholders – Observation© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 16
  17. 17. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 17
  18. 18. What’s an SLA? A negotiated agreement between taxonomy consumers and taxonomy managers Records a common understanding about services, priorities, responsibilities, and guarantees Commonly includes: – definition of services – performance measurement (metrics) – problem management – consumer duties Need not be highly formal© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 18
  19. 19. What’s the value of an SLA? Setting expectations with consumers Setting expectations with management team When there is disagreement, SLA is an artifact which can be referenced Typically requires collection of metrics© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 19
  20. 20. Why are metrics useful? Tracking to meet established SLAs Identifying heavy consumers, taxonomy growth areas Identifying processes which can be improved or discarded Estimating team capacity Making a case for resources (money, tools, staffing) to meet need© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 20
  21. 21. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 21
  22. 22. How many stakeholders?© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 22
  23. 23. Who are the stakeholders?© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 23
  24. 24. Identifying stakeholders Audiences you need to engage to be successful – Content authors and publishers – User experience designers – Developers (front- and back-end) – Site/repository owners – Subject matter experts (SMEs)© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 24
  25. 25. Keeping them engaged Emphasize value and relevance to what they care about Frame introduction and use of the taxonomy as simply as possible The “what” is less important than the “why”© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 25
  26. 26. Keeping them engaged Winning advocates and promoters The personal touch: face-to-face, phone, email Establish clear communication channels Establish SLAs and meet them consistently Educate as you go Other methods – Documentation (internal/external, processes/applications) – Live/computer-based training sessions – Social media© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 26
  27. 27. Agenda Overview: survey of working taxonomists Developing change management processes Establishing service level agreements Engaging and training stakeholders Using tools to support management processes© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 27
  28. 28. What tools are commonly used?© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 28
  29. 29. Pros and cons: word of mouth • Immediacy and transparency Pros • Ease of explaining complex issues in person • Not easily used by larger, Cons distributed teams • Not captured in metrics • No audit trail • No opportunity for oversightFully 1 out of 5 respondents rely on word of mouth for some part of their request management© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 29
  30. 30. Pros and cons: email • Everyone already has it and Pros uses it Cons • Timely response not guaranteed • Mechanisms for oversight limited • Metrics, audit trails hard to derive • Vulnerable to corruption and loss Most commonly used (2 out of 3 respondents)© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 30
  31. 31. Pros and cons: separate tracking tool • Ease of oversight Pros • Ease of use by distributed teams • Ease of extracting metrics, audit trails • Separate from taxonomy manager • Need for training on tool, procedures Cons • Limited accessibility, transparency for consumers • Big investment in addition to taxonomy manager Bug trackers, task managers, CRM, etc.© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 31
  32. 32. Pros and cons: taxonomy editor • All the information you need in one Pros place • Ease of oversight • Ease of use by distributed teams • Ease of extracting metrics, audit trails Cons • • Expensive Technically difficult to implement and support • Limited accessibility, transparency for consumers Many, though not all, taxonomy management platforms incorporate a work queue© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 32
  33. 33. All tools have pros! • Discussion is indispensable, provided it’s also documented somewhere • Email is useful for timely answers to specific questions posed by a small audience • Most taxonomists are using multiple tools in conjunction with one another© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 33
  34. 34. Summary • You’re not in this alone • Set expectations, back them up with data • Know your audience, keep them motivated • Know the right tool to use for the job© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 34
  35. 35. We’re looking fora few good:• UX designers a taxonomist• Usability engineers• Search architects• Metadata mavens EMC© Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 35

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