I’ve spent the last few days in classic, end-of-year ‘take-stock’ mode: reviewing projects and deliverables; making lists and notes; planning for the coming months; and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. As part of this effort, I’ve put together this ‘Dot-Connection Year in Review’, which I’d like to share with you here.
Global content and country sites: consulting and project piloting
Though all projects we were involved with had some element of global content governance, two assignments in particular focused exclusively on it. These were for B2B companies in the fields of technology and biotechnology, and the goal of the assignments was to:
- establish rules around global and local content (who gets to publish what, where; what can be changed/removed/locally-produced, and so on);
- improve information and publishing flows between central and local teams;
- improve visibility and access to localized content;
- improve transitions between sites and languages.
I spent the first week of April in beautiful, sunny Italy attending two conferences: the first, a W3C workshop in Pisa on Content on the Multilingual Web; and the second, Eurocomm, organized in Turin by the Europe and Middle East chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
While the two conferences attracted different audiences and addressed different issues, some of the same themes cropped up in several presentations at both.
For those of you who don’t know her, Lisa Welchman is a U.S.-based consultant and thought leader in web operations management. She was in Paris on her way to the J. Boye Conference in Denmark to give a talk entitled “Hitting the wall: why web governance matters now more than ever”, and kindly offered to spend some time with our group.
It seems that web teams everywhere are faced with a common problem: huge projects to undertake, volumes of content to clean up, and inability to muster the internal organizational resources to get things done. “You want to do cool things, but you can’t because you’ve hit a wall. You have a mess on those servers,” she said.
One of the biggest pain points I had when I was managing large corporate B2B websites was trying to reconcile the rhythm of day-to-day operations with the demands of a major project.
Day-to-day web operations are driven by calendars: editorial and publishing calendars, webmastering and meeting schedules, and so on. Changes to those calendars are common. Expected content is late due to a program change; something goes into crisis mode and the time you’d planned for X gets allocated to Y. And on it goes.
Day-to-day is about the execution of a thousand tiny details, so time is managed in short increments: fifteen minutes here, a half-hour there, seven mails fired off in five minutes, a 40-minute meeting, 20 minutes in a colleague’s office—it doesn’t stop.