Finding a Content Management System Solution – Part 3

In part 2 of this series, I talked about selecting a content management system (CMS) and including the needs of people (stakeholders and users). I shared several great questions to ask when choosing a solution. So after you have done all the work of finding, selecting and implementing a CMS you can relax and take it easy – right ?  Sorry, a good CMS does not stop at the launch of the solution; in fact, many people would say your “journey into the land of Knowledge and Content management” has just begun!

Your organization has invested time and energy into picking and implementing the right CMS and you want it to be effective and improve the knowledge retention of the organization.  Do these software products do all this by themselves?  Of course not – Now you have to provide on-going processes and people to maintain and adapt your CMS to the changing environment.

If the goal of your CMS is to provide knowledge, lessons learned or any organization-valued information, then the content that it manages must have several qualities:

  • Currency – is the content current or so old as to be useless
  • Relevancy – is the content relevant to the needs of the users
  • Accuracy – has someone validated the accuracy of the information

These qualities do not happen by themselves but rather are part of the on-going processes, maintenance and support that you must provide.  I find that many Knowledge Management or CMS initiatives don’t include critical maintenance support. It is unfortunate that this happens and why CMS solutions like SharePoint, often get a bad rap. There are several things to consider for the on-going support, use, and effectiveness of your CMS:

These qualities do not happen by themselves but rather are part of the on-going processes, maintenance and support that you must provide.  I find that many Knowledge Management or CMS initiatives don’t include critical maintenance support. It is unfortunate that this happens and why CMS solutions like SharePoint, often get a bad rap. There are several things to consider for the on-going support, use, and effectiveness of your CMS:

  • Knowledge management staff
  • Training
  • Documented, updated and utilized processes
  • Culture and Change Management
  • Executive support

Staff and training
If you have not planned for staff that is responsible for the on-going maintenance and support of your CMS then you may be in for a train wreck.  I shudder to think of the future of the World Wide Web or a giant CMS that no one thought about maintaining! There is a lot of stuff to be found on the internet – but just try to find the “right” piece of information – that is hard to do. And how about training for users and stakeholders on how to use the CMS processes and tools? I assume that you will change processes over time or add new features… and what about new staff coming into the organization?

My recommendation is to put training time and resources for transition and maintenance into the CMS plan. Ensure that everyone has an initial class in using the CMS and document marking. Place someone in charge of the CMS and make using and supporting it part of employee reviews. Reward the staff members who make the system more effective through their efforts.

Processes
An effective CMS is not a one-time and you are done effort. Require training to show employees and team members how to use and add to the document store covered by the CMS. Quarterly or semi-annually, assess the performance of the CMS using quantitative and quality measures. Include questions on employee surveys about CMS use and perceived value. Take action when the results of performance analysis indicate less use or value than desired. Consider conducting an external review of your CMS’s performance from trained knowledge professional after implementation.

Culture and Change
To maintain a CMS and continue to receive benefits from a more sophisticated way to management organizational knowledge, company culture — the way we work here — will need to change. As I have said before, changing a culture is not easy. For those individuals pushing for using a formal CMS system or tasked with implementing and promoting it, I suggest modeling, training, rewarding and practicing patience.

Executive Support
No major cultural or programmatic change can happen in the absence of executive support. Formal support in terms of resources for designing, initiating, implementing and training are essential. Informal support, which can often be more powerful, happens when senior managers use the CMS system and can talk knowledgeably (and with data) about the system’s benefits. An enthusiastic executive champion can sway undecided or reluctant employees to try.

I hope your CMS or KM system can provide the kind of effective solution that organizations are looking for today.

________________________________________________________________
Some additional resources:

Knowledge Management—Emerging Perspectives – short article on KM by Gene Bellinger

Defining and designing the performance-centered interface: moving beyond the user-centered interface – Great article on making your solution a “performance based” system. (Another copy is located here: http://www.cognitive-technologies.com/whitepapers/files/Performance_Centered.pdf

Content and Knowledge Management resources list – provided by Ingistics, LLC

KMworld – online site for the magazine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Lazy Project Manager's Blog

The Home of Productive Laziness Thoughts

ProjectManagement.com

Thoughts, experience, tips and tricks on issues affecting managers and project management

A Girl's Guide to Project Management

Project Management musings for one and all

How to Manage a Camel - Project Management Blog

Project Management Recruitment, Careers and News from Arras People

LeadingAnswers: Leadership and Agile Project Management Blog

Thoughts, experience, tips and tricks on issues affecting managers and project management

Project Management Hut

Thoughts, experience, tips and tricks on issues affecting managers and project management

Herding Cats

Thoughts, experience, tips and tricks on issues affecting managers and project management

beyondcenter

Pushing the Edges Out ...

projectxpert

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: