Published on June 25, 2014
The Content Revolution: Managing the Move to a CCMS Leigh White DITA Specialist Congility June 2014 “I just think we're living in a time of massive, amazing change, like the Industrial Revolution on acid.” —Kelly Lynch
The Industrial Revolution
The Content Revolution • A perfect blend of variation and standardization • Produce lots of versions/variations of your content • But produce them in the same way with the same content and using the same processes every time • The best of both worlds • BUT…you can’t have both variation and standardization with traditional publishing processes
Human vs. machine • Humans need the machine • But humans fear the machine • Humans will automatically feel the loss of Ownership Creativity Control over the process • How to make them see the gains as well?
So really, this is just another cleverly- disguised presentation about
What are the obstacles? • Black hole syndrome...writers can't "see" their stuff • Other writers making changes without their knowledge • Seemingly endless unaccounted-for cases when in fact their old process is the one-off that needs to be made compliant • Over-expectation...well, it's a machine, it should automate everything! • Frustration at not being able to "just do it“ the way they could on a file system • Giving up processes and tools that they developed or championed What are the solutions?
Begin at the beginning • Outline the problems you need to solve and the improvements you want to implement • Know your budget • Know your timeline • Know your technical requirements (OS, server platform, database, security, etc.)
Have a champion • Someone at the highest levels who believes in what you’re doing and will support and defend your effort
Select the CCMS democratically • Or at least neutrally A third party to help you evaluate is helpful Outline your requirements first Evaluate all vendors using the same criteria Evaluate both the software AND the people • Neutral/democratic process guards against “I told you so” later on
Have a plan • Before you present the CCMS to the team, cover all your bases Anticipate every question and opposition Be able to communicate exactly what will happen, when, and who will be responsible: Installation/maintenance (IT support) Training Governance Collaboration among authors (ownership) Legacy content conversion Pilot project
Be honest • The learning curve will be steep • There will be extra work in the short term • Be honest about what will change Not just a move from one tool to another Completely different approach to writing No more Lone Rangers…writers must collaborate and follow same processes
Don’t get sidetracked by naysayers • Address their general concerns • Don’t get led down the garden path • Stress that all processes and procedures are up for reevaluation Everything is on the table. They must be prepared to offer solid justification for their wants. “We’ve always done it that way” is not solid justification.
Enthusiasm is not necessarily contagious • Even though you explain the problems and how a CCMS will solve those problems, many people will still be unconvinced Don’t let the resistance take you by surprise Don’t get exasperated Lots of uncertainty and doubt associated with change Can I learn to do this? Increased efficiency = staff reduction?
Talk to individuals • Completely open discussion • Get to the root of resistance It might not be about the current situation at all Previous negative experience Ongoing life events • Set individual expectations and measurements How will their work and responsibilities change? How they will be measured? • Frame discussions in each person’s individual context
Create ownership • Identify key people and let them help you Every team has natural leaders outside management … people other writers naturally look up to. Involve them at the earliest practical stage and get them to help you plan. Have them lead teams as mentors or representatives so that decisions (where practical) are made collaboratively from within the ranks instead of coming down from “on high.”
Summary • Understand the problem • Have a champion • Select the CCMS based on your requirements • Have a plan • Be honest about the work involved • Don’t get sidetracked • Have discussions with individuals • Create ownership
Reality check • Understand that a CCMS is not your strategy...it is a tool to help you implement your strategy
Questions? Comments? Cabbages? firstname.lastname@example.org
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