Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“Just get some contractors,” Does Not Work with a Complex WCMS

Back when we did all of our writing in Word then tossed it over the fence to a team of HTML programmers it was easy to take on large, surprise projects. We just hired a few writer and HTML developer contractors and put them to work. It was an easy process. But with a complex WCMS, that’s just not an option. The general estimate here is that it takes about three months of full-time work to get someone up to speed with just the WCMS basics.

The learning curve for using our WCMS system is huge. You not only have to deal with the normal problems of what to write and who is the subject matter expert, but now you have to figure out how to build the content, using a variety of content types and presentation templates. Some of the content you may need to change may be reused elsewhere in the site so it takes someone knowledgeable to figure out where it might be used, and if the proposed changes apply in all contexts. Then there are the workflow issues… don’t even get me started.

Anyway, it’s something to consider when deciding to implement a big complex WCMS system. If you have an unpredictable workload and large projects may fall into your already %110 allocated lap, then you had best start training the admins and support staff now. You will need them eventually, and when you do, you won’t have time to train them.

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