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Failing Content Management Projects—Human Causes with Social Solutions

Sponsored by: Comtech Services, Inc. and CIDM
Presenter: Joe Pairman, Mekon Ltd.
Date Recorded: January 8, 2015
This is a free webinar.


Target Audience:
Primarily managers, project managers, and stakeholders involved at any stage of a CMS implementation.

Knowledge Required:
No particular required knowledge, but it would be useful for attendees to consider before the session what factors they feel contribute to CMS project failure or success.

Around 30% of IT projects fail completely, and a further 40% do not meet expectations. Surprisingly, technology itself is rarely a key factor in those failures. Projects break down primarily due to human factors: lack of knowledge, poor communication, and mismanagement. Content management projects are particularly susceptible to this. The ill‐informed view that ʺit’s just contentʺ, combined with a cognitive bias to over optimism, leads to a lack of engagement from stakeholders and unrealistic pressures on time and budget. The tendency to view DITA as just another tool leads to inadequate training, requirements analysis, and change management. Further down the line, efforts to distribute a locally successful solution across an enterprise often founder due to a lack of communication and an unwillingness to adapt content creation workflows. These human factors manifest in early warning signs which, left unchecked, grow into fully fledged disasters, costing organizations huge amounts of money and demoralizing all involved.

Thankfully, just as the causes of content project failure are often human, so are the solutions. Whether the warning signs appear early in project planning, during implementation, or even after the project is mature, there is often a lot that can be done to remedy matters. Effective knowledge sharing to the right people at the right time, in the right way, is incredibly helpful. It is usually not too late to improve strategic communication, management, and distribution of responsibilities. This presentation shows how at‐risk projects can be turned around through appropriate intervention.


Joe Pairman is a Senior Consultant at Mekon Ltd., helping clients realize the full potential of structured content. Before joining Mekon, he led the implementation of DITA at HTC, driving development of the information model, solving numerous publishing and localization challenges, and designing the support content architecture for HTC's help app and responsive website.


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