I’ve been thinking about some great project managers I’ve met over the years and what works for portal projects. In some ways, it could be said a good project manager should be a jack of all trades, master of none. The theory is that a person who masters both the art and science of project management can strike off in any direction. Nonetheless, each project, each team and, arguably, each technology platform is bound to present unique challenges.
What lessons can a project manager expect to learn from leading their first Web Content Management (WCM) project? It extends beyond managing time, scope, budget and quality, I can assure you. Here are my top five. In a series of future posts I will discuss possible solutions for each of these; I hope you will check them out and add your thoughts and experience along the way.
- Creative Types – It can be a challenge getting the “Creative Types” in the marketing department to get involved with critical decisions not related to the assets on the web site’s published pages. Subject matter experts from the business can tend to “check out” if not properly engaged.
- Mobile First – This concept seems to be popping up everywhere right now. In fact, I just did a quick Google search on “Mobile First” Responsive Design, chopped the results to only the last 24 hours and found over 100 results. The notion of responsive design is fantastic, but if your organization has not embraced this approach already, get ready for a fun ride!
- Authoring Requirements – If this is your organization’s first WCM platform, it can be challenging to imagine the end-to-end authoring experience up front. This can lead to uncertainty and ongoing change management concerns. If not managed properly, it can risk user adoption, which can be absolutely lethal to the success of your project.
- Testing – A web content management platform should not be tested like a static web site. Is your QA team ready to adjust their approach, accordingly? This will be an important part of ensuring your people, processes, and tools all line up to thoroughly test things which may not be immediately obvious, such as the authoring experience, workflows, and content migration operations.
- Change Management – This topic should be on any project manager’s list, especially when they lead their first implementation for a given technology platform. For WCM, does the organization have a good plan for governance, training and support? Where is the organization on the spectrum of content curation maturity? What are the expectations for authors and contributors? Are there any current behaviors which they are expected to change?
If you are about to kick off your first WCM project, I hope you will check out my future posts to consider as you form a team, define the processes you will use, and perhaps even the tools you adopt to support your project. For those of you who have run WCM projects in the past, let me know if these sound familiar, or if you had a different experience.
The Project Manager doesn’t just keep lists and meeting agendas, but must proactively provide leadership in all of these areas. As I learned in Spiderman, with knowledge, comes great responsibility.