The Minimalist’s Approach to Content Governance

Let’s be honest – content governance is far from an exciting topic. BUT the potential of a very small intranet team creating and maintaining a platform that provides an organization with relevant, high value information, helping workers to get their jobs done with greater accuracy and in less time is exciting. It is easy to quickly start producing content, but the challenge is ensuring that the environment is easy to navigate and use on the third week and during the third year.

What can be done to bridge this gap?

Over the next few blog entries let’s take a pragmatic, minimalistic view of a process that can help any team manage a wealth of unstructured information. Based on an earlier article that I wrote around Portal Governance, I am going to focus on using technology as much as possible to support the governance of content with minimal involvement from users. The only certainty about content production is that business users are not fans of maintaining content. Maintenance is overhead and is a long-term investment thats value will possibly not be realized under the current content creator’s watch.

To add context to how we will use technical tools in this process, each post will highlight one section of the content lifecycle process as outlined below

Content Lifecycle Stages
1. Request – Understand the education, purpose, resource and success criteria for content
2. Create – Determine access and workflow for content
3. Manage – Understand ownership and review cycles
4. Retire – Act on thresholds established during the request stage

Within each state we will also elaborate as to
1. Why – why would we entertain doing this?
2. How – the steps that are needed to make it happen
3. Impact – what is the net benefit or loss based on the process

Over the next few weeks we will dive deep into the stages and the minimal amount of time, effort and process within each to make some meaningful gains in the improvement of user experience and productivity in their search for information. It might be a stretch to say that we can make content governance exciting, but hopefully it can end up being painless and paying dividends.

Request Phase

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.
read details for Request Phase

Create Phase

In this installment of our Minimalist Approach to Content Governance we finally get to the fun part of the content creation process! Once the content requester has addressed the items outlined in the Request Phase it is time to setup and begin the production of content.

For this to be done correctly it is important the the content be assigned appropriate workflow and security information. As in our prior phase, let’s take a look at what can be done to streamline this process – as contributors are focused on getting information to their end users as quickly as possible. This often means that details around how to ensure that the materials are properly managed can be overlooked, but fortunately there are some techniques that leverage our content management system’s native capabilities to automatically take care of some of the details.
read details for Create Phase

Manage Phase

Most people would probably agree that creating content is the enjoyable part of the content life cycle. Management, on the other hand, is generally not. This is why we thankfully have an opportunity to leverage meta data, security and other settings that have been applied or inherited in the prior parts of our governance process. In the interests of keeping this process pragmatic, there is little day to day activity that needs to happen here. Most of the activity that happens post creation will occur in the final “Retire” phase in which content may be archived or removed. The Manage Phase will focus on updating content and the meta data associated with it – specifically around ownership. Often times the largest issues with content ownership occur when a content creator leaves and organization or changes roles within an organization.
read details for Manage Phase

Retire Phase

Good news – the Retire Phase is actually more fun than the Manage Phase. During the Retire Phase our content management team should not have to track down content creators if the Request Phase of this process was completed successfully. The ownership meta data, success criteria and time stamp that was applied to the original content submission will help to manage content at the end of the content life cycle. The Retire Phase will provide the opportunity for us to prune irrelevant content items through archiving or deletion, keeping the content system clear of irrelevant information, streamlining users ability to browse and search for content.
read the details for Retire Phase

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