Monday, January 26, 2009

Content Strategy - Don’t Forget Your WCMS during Project Requirements Gathering

If you generate your HTML code using a Web Content Management System you must take that system in account when setting requirements for a new project. Over and over again I see projects come my way that have been approved and completely wireframed, that I cannot build with the current WCMS. When I bring this issue up people tend to blame the WCMS. This is totally unfair. The WCMS is not magic, it can’t just generate anything. It has to be designed and programmed like any other piece of software. It’s not that the system can’t do what is being asked, it’s just that it will take some work and time.

Push as hard as you can to get someone who understands the capabilities of your WCMS system involved as early as possible in planning for new projects. Evaluate all page layouts with an eye towards what your current WCMS can do. Usually, supporting a new page layout just requires a new WCMS output template that may only take a few days to program and test. But someone still has to be assigned to do the work, and that work has to be completed before any real content development can be completed.

Figure this out early and it’s just one more thing to track and complete, find out late and it’s a show stopper.