The Origins of ‘The CMS Myth’

The spark for The CMS Myth occurred in April 2007, at dinner with Connective DX interactive agency colleagues at a San Francisco content management conference.

Our notes hit familiar themes: CMS vendors were pitching; consultants were advocating. And many real users were venting frustrations about CMS complexity; poor interfaces; organizational disorder; strategic failures; projects on hold – certainly not new feedback to us, having delivered hundreds of CMS-driven websites over the past 10 years.

Our conversation kept coming back to key questions:


  •  If CMS technology (now 10+ years on) promises to make life easier for people and organizations using the web, then why is there still so much angst out there?
  • What factors make CMS-centric website projects successful, and what habits and practices put content management projects (and related web strategies) in peril?

One of us at the table used the phrase “the CMS myth” – describing a gulf that exists between vendor promises and user reality – and we left determined to establish and drive a market conversation we saw as lacking, but absolutely necessary.


Our initial Myth foray, an article in May for Connective Thinking, prompted an immediate, visceral response from readers familiar with the pain of the Myth. We followed up by presenting The CMS Myth to a full-house at a CMS user conference in Boston. At the end of October, we’re scheduled to speak to 35+ web pros and marketing execs in Portland, Oregon, eager to understand Myth-related threats (and opportunities).


At its core, The CMS Myth believes this: A web CMS project is not just about the technology you choose. It’s really about the Three P’s: your plan, your people, and your process.

The goal of this blog is not to recommend one system over another. Rather, we want to help you beyond CMS acquisition by delivering tips, tricks, perspectives, best (and worst) practices, web strategies and tactics that matter.


We also plan to grow this site as an online community for web pros, marketers and anyone else whose job intersect with CMS and websites, to capture the good, the bad, and the ugly of your experiences. (Got a CMS story to share? Email us at


Finally, most blogs have a few guiding beliefs that set the tone.  Here are a few of ours, straight from the consulting advice we provide to interactive clients every day:

  • “Content management” is a philosophy and a business process; CMS is a software tool. You need both. Don’t equate one with the other.
  • If you don’t have a clear web strategy, get one. If you don’t have a strategy, don’t get a CMS. A CMS is not a web strategy.
  •  A CMS doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Other web software (analytics, email marketing tools, etc) is probably in play. The CMS may be the glue that holds it all together, but always remember that it’s one part of a diverse web ecosystem.
  • Plan ahead and document your plans. And when you’re done, plan some more. There’s no such thing as too much planning before you tackle a CMS project.
  • All vendors say their CMS is easy to use. OK, we’ll buy that. If you buy it too, be prepared to invest in user training and mentoring – and potentially lots of it.
About the Author
David Aponovich

A former 'CMS Insider,' David is relentlessly focused on the gap between vendor speak and customer adoption. In addition to keeping a keen eye on industry trends, he works with clients on the cultural and process implications of CMS that are so often overlooked. David wrote for the CMS Myth during his time working at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design).

More articles from David Aponovich

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