Roundarch Understands the Complexities of Planning for Content Migration

Understanding the Complexities of the Content Entry Process: Utilizing a 5-Stage Framework to Help Preserve Project Timelines

In traditional web content management system implementation projects, project teams often spend too much time focusing on the actual design, development, and release of the system itself, only to find project timelines to be missed due to the content being unprepared in time for launch.

In these projects, it is common for our clients to have the desire to take on content preparation and entry themselves—all they typically ask for is a target date for completion. While we support this model in theory, we have also learned that there are more variables that must be considered in order to preserve project timelines – which go beyond our clients simply authoring the content by that target date. Our experiences in this arena have led us to create a content entry project planning framework, which we assess at the onset of projects during the planning stages.

This framework consists of evaluating five stages of preparedness, all of which need to be addressed prior to beginning content entry into a system:

(1) Staff Readiness

  • Ensuring the staffing model is properly addressed is the first stage. This is a combination of two elements – definition of a governance model, including reporting and workflow processes, and acquisition of resources who can operate within that model as content authors and administrators. In parallel, clear plans must be put in place to equip the staff with necessary skills—which may include training.

(2) Content Readiness

  • The actual content for the new site will materialize in one of two ways: new content authoring and existing content migration. This pertains to both standard, text-based content and also to image, video, and audio content, as well as items such as FLASH modules. In most cases, the content will be a combination of both approaches – new content and existing content migration. For new content, often times external copywriters or legal counsel will need to be involved in the plan. For existing content, a manual or automated migration strategy will need to be adopted, strategies which can greatly influence the staffing approach and project plan.

(3) Template Readiness

  • No content can be entered until the content entry templates within the Content Management System (CMS) are ready. However, evaluate what “readiness” means in this case – it can vary from a system which is in partial development and testing (rarely the case) to complete development, and testing of a specific template, workflow, and deployment process.

(4) System Readiness

  • Assuming that the template itself is ready, the next question is to determine where that template will exist for content entry to be conducted. This involves discussion of multiple items, including technical environment and server structure and stability, database location and ownership, and developer build and release schedule. Content authors need to work uninterrupted, without server refreshes, developer builds, or full system crashes.

(5) Site Readiness

  • Finally, before starting the actual content entry, consider how the content in hand relates first to other content, and second to the actual site itself. Content managers typically like to see their work before labeling it as “complete,” and thus a suitable preview environment is often necessary for them to fully perform their job.

Evaluating these five stages of readiness prior to embarking upon content entry will help ensure project plans and delivery dates hold intact by more accurately understanding the complexities of the content entry process. This approach has been adopted by us for major content management efforts at clients such as Starwood, Avis, and ClubCorp, and doing so has allowed us to successfully deliver these sites and<