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What to Expect When Implementing a New CMS

Apr 23, 2012
Aleksandar Radonjic
Aleksandar Radonjic

When implementing a new CMS, it’s easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles of the platform without considering the basic implications of a new system.  What type of development method will you use? Who will own the project? How will you get everyone on the team on board? How to plan for the unexpected costs? How will you make sure everyone has the training and support they need.  

Before you dive into a new CMS, it’s important to answer these questions to avoid wasting time and resources down the road.

Different Development Methodologies

There are three main types of CMS development methodologies, which one will be best for your project?
  • Waterfall – sequential development approach through Analysis, Design, Implementation, Quality Assurance, Integration, and Maintenance.
  • Incremental – breaks a project into smaller segments, reducing risk by working on smaller segments; also allows for some development flexibility. 
  • Agile – iterative and incremental development where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing/cross-functional teams.

The Need for a Product Manager/Owner

According to Forrester Research, more than 60% of Web Managers are dissatisfied with their current CMS. A lot of that dissatisfaction can be attributed to a CMS implementation that doesn’t address original business needs.

Having a Product Manager/Owner, someone that understands your needs and is responsible for the overall direction of your CMS, ensures that your CMS implementation stays on course and is not derailed by short term interests and conflicting visions. 

Avoiding Adoption Issues

Humans are creatures of habit, so don’t expect your editors to fall in love with your new CMS just because it’s new and full of great features. Your CMS implementation will fail if you can’t get everyone pulling in the same direction. 

How to encourage user adoption:
  • Clearly outline your goals and objectives
  • Involve your site users and editors during the Design Phase
  • Show your editors how your new CMS will make their day-to-day tasks easier
  • Offer support and training – this is paramount, but often overlooked

Different Users = Different Training Needs

Don’t assume that everyone on your team will find your new CMS easy to use. What is simple and intuitive to one person might not be to the next, so conduct training needs assessments and tailor your training accordingly. Try not to cut corners around training; it will cost you in the long run. For example, editors not following best practices and administrators not following security guidelines will cause major issues within your organization.

Unexpected Costs

Irrespective of which development methodology you use, some enhancements will only become apparent and necessary after you had a chance to test and use your new CMS. Create a plan and set aside additional funding to deal with future enhancements and to avoid launch delays caused by time or budgetary constraints.

You will Need Support 

When something goes wrong, it can be very frustrating if no one can help you in a timely manner, particularly when the issue is out of your control and you are dependent on external support. Some open source and low-cost CMS offerings do not include support, so take time to evaluate your support needs before choosing a CMS.

Software Development Methodology (Wikipedia)
Agile Software Development (Wikipedia)
Why Could Your CMS Implementation Fail? (SlideShare)

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