For each project, regardless of size, it is critical to understand the required ownership, business purpose, prerequisite education / resources needed to execute and success criteria around it. Without doing this, there is no way to get a handle on the content life-cyle, resulting in a mass of orphaned material. This lowers the quality of end user experiences.
The good news is that by using a simple process in this request phase – we will not have to revisit this phase unless something drastic changes in the project. For each of the elements mentioned above in this stage, the why, how (technically focused) and impact are outlined with the intent of providing the most value to a small team.
Why – Without ownership information it will not be possible to track and manage any of the content and take advantage of many features of enterprise content management technology. To hedge against this, we need to ensure that both a individual and their group or department within the organization are associated with the content.
How – Apply metadata that indicates the owner and department or group that has responsibility for the content.
Impact – It is possible to keep the content system optimized by running native reports against the meta-data and acting on them based on what has been outlined for success criteria. This will maximize end user experience, as content will be faster to locate and more relevant to the user by virtue of working through a smaller collection.
2. Business Purpose
Why – This simple step will weed out requests that have tepid justification, as users will most likely not spend the effort to request resources if they do not have a real need.
How – Use a simple online form to collect and workflow the request to management native to the content system.
Impact – Minimizes the amount user generated content that is of low value to the organization.
3. Prerequisite Education Resources Needed
Why – If a project cannot be properly staffed the probability of its success is going to be low. By outlining the resources needed – in both skill set and duration – it will cause the requesting party to think critically about the commitment needed to complete their project and what gap must be closed with regard to education of those resources.
How – In the simple request form outlined above, resources and a commitment to fulfilling any needed education should be included with a brief acceptance clause that outlines the requesting party’s commitment.
Impact – This stage acts as a formal commitment to ensuring that resources are able to execute on the vision for the project.
4. Success Criteria
Why – Similar to the business purpose, this is a key element in helping to determine if the project and its respective content should continue to exist if it does not meet its intended goal.
How – Set a review point for the project content that will check the progress against the originally outlined success criteria and then determine the fate of the content. This can even include logic that will tell the content system to remove items that have not been opened by any users in X amount of time.
Impact – This ensures that projects and their contents do not live past their useful lifespans. Just as with orphaned content, non-relevant information will slow user’s access to relevant materials for the jobs.
Request Phase Summary
With a simple form that outlines the ownership of a project and its content, business purpose, education and resources, along with success criteria, we can ensure that an enterprise content management system will stay clean and relevant to end users – allowing it to deliver the most value possible. The key here is to make it straightforward to make the request and let the content management technology manage as much as possible through metadata, retention policies and workflow. Doing these basic steps will allow project content to get off to a great start in the enterprise!
Stay tuned for the next installment – the “Create Phase” – covering security access and workflow involved in content creation, enabling a practical layer of governance over our enterprise content repository.