Are You Making the Right CMS Promises?
With the primary elections officially upon us, candidates are making promises that they will be expected to keep if elected.
In the same spirit, web content management projects are full of promises. More so than a lot of web initiatives in fact.
We talk a lot about the expectation gap between vendors that beat the drum of ‘out of the box,’ and ‘easy’ compared to the reality on the ground of a complex implementation. But it’s time to take a closer look at what promises we’re making internally inside the organizations before deploying a CMS. Some common promises include:
Enable anyone to easily publish content
Save time and money
Create better experiences
Remove dependency on IT staff
Are you keeping those promises to the organization? Probably not.
In most cases, a CMS actually adds cost and complexity and takes more effort to maintain and run. Often times enabling more users to edit content means creating a less flexible system for the power users and developers who spend the majority of the time maintaining the site.
In my experience, the CMS is often to set up to fail from the get go by the way that success is promised.
What if you change the promise? What if the project lead says:
“Our new approach to content management is a paradigm shift for the organization and is going to be a difficult transition. It will require significantly more resources and added cost for training, new staff and new technology. However, if we can make an organizational commitment, the payoff and long term return on investment is tremendous…”
Changes the picture a bit doesn’t it?
Sure it may stop a few CMS projects before they get started. But that’s not a bad thing for an organization that doesn’t have the stomach to see it succeed.
What it will do is help you start to better define success before you start and set proper expectations. After all, it’s better to be the hero at the end of the project than the beginning.