The CMS Wisdom Report

By Deane Barker on June 29, 2013

I just loved the CMS Wisdom Report from ISITE.  I had no idea this existed before today.  It’s a simple document – stories about what people learned during CMS implementations:

A free report with 54 inspired tales of web content management trials, tribulations and tips from the men and women who lived to tell their stories

I think I pulled a muscle from nodding my head.  Some highlights, then an observation:

Choose a CMS that will allow you to grow and migrate away from that CMS at a later date because eventually you will.

Yep.  Remember, every CMS is in some stage of obsolescence, and every CMS is just a migration project waiting to happen.

If I were to do it over again, I would probably find a CMS with a much better WYSiWYG editor and file operations, as our users are not interested in any kind of markup – no matter how easy it is.

Editors Live in the Holes.  If they can’t create a solid, attractive page of content with your tool, then it doesn’t matter how good you think it is.

Open source is far from free. If you choose an open source solution, be prepared to spend a lot of time and/or money getting it implemented.

I have yet to do a CMS implementation where the license cost was the biggest expense.

To properly gauge the level of community and support provided by a CMS vendor, go to their forums and check how many questions get left unanswered.

The main developer forum for the CMS we use regularly has, as of the time of writing, 13 posts on its front page with zero replies. That’s 13 questions their support crew haven’t even been polite enough to comment on. It can make a man feel awful lonely

I’ll just leave this right here: An Oft-Overlooked CMS Feature: The Community.

The client often didn’t have a content strategy, which then translated to a lack of content when the deadline approached. Content needs to be the central focus to a CMS strategy. Without content, and a coordinated strategy, the most powerful CMS will do nothing for you.

Yep: What Content Management Won’t Do

Here’s the observation —

None of what I read in the document was hard, technical reason why a project went sideways.  No one said, “We couldn’t model content effectively in our CMS,” or “we didn’t have the right kind of workflow.”

The fact is, CMS implementations rise and fall on “soft” factors: training, for one.  Project management, for another.  Governance, for a third.

Too many people look at a CMS implementation as a pure technical project.  As for me, looking back on more than a decade of this, I’d say it’s 20% technical engineering, and 80% social/human engineering.

(Yes, you have to provide contact information to get the report. Do it anyway.  It’s worth it.)

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