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Case Study

About the Discovery Phase for a CMS Implementation

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About the Discovery Phase for a CMS Implementation

Introduction

Most of the clients that want a CMS implementation or want the content to be migrated to an upgraded version of a CMS or to a new version, might think they know pretty well the requirements for the implementation mostly because they choose a CMS from the market and most specifications are of course, content related.

However, almost all the clients also want custom features that are not supported their chosen CMS. More than that, important key steps from workflows are often missing.

Giving these circumstances, you have to be very careful not to jump to the estimate document too soon without engaging first in an CMS discovery phase.

The objective for an initial CMS discovery phase is to better understand the client requirements and workflows and to gather as much information as possible for the new proposed solution. The following activities might occur the CMS discovery phase:

In case of an existing CMS solution:

  • Review the current CMS solution, architecture, technologies and implementation
  • Understand the scope of the migration and timelines

Both new and existing CMS solution:

  • Understand the new requirements and the new proposed design
  • Review the client’s proposed CMS solution
  • Review the client’s proposed CMS implementation and development
  • Review the client’s security requirements

At the end of the CMS discovery phase, besides the common documents like estimate, project planning, budget allocation, etc. you should also come with a CMS Content Audit Plan and a CMS Content Migration Plan document if it’s the case.

The CMS Content Audit Plan is a document that should evaluate topics like:

In case of an existing CMS solution:

  • Estimate for the content that needs to be migrated

Both new and existing CMS solution:

  • Details about page layouts (Content Type Definitions) or Rich Media capabilities
  • Details about project architecture or content folder structure
  • Social Media Integration (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • CRM Integration (e.g.: Microsoft Dynamics, SalesForce)
  • Users, Groups, Authentication process, Users Repositories (e.g.: Active Directory)
  • Details about content workflows validation and publishing
  • Mobile Compatibility, Responsive Design
  • Details about multi-language content
  • Multiple domains

Once the CMS Content Audit Plan is discussed and approved by the stakeholders, if the client already has a CMS solution, a CMS Content Migration Phase should be taken into consideration.

However, before the CMS Content Migration Phase should start, the new CMS solution should be already deployed in two environments: Staging and Production

CMS Content Migration Phase has the following steps:

  • Create content type definition mappings between the old CMS solution and the new CMS solution
  • Create tool to perform the content migration from the old CMS solution to the new CMS solution
  • Create a test plan to test the content migration
  • Perform migration of the content to the test instance of the new CMS solution
  • Perform content validation on the test instance
  • Perform migration of the content to the new CMS solution

I highly recommend to apply the described phases from above if you deal with a client that wants a CMS implementation or a content migration without having detailed documents about content migration, workflows or custom implementations.

I admit that not everyone might pay for a CMS Discovery Phase but if you have the opportunity to do it, do not hesitate about it!

Darius

Darius

Darius Dumitrescu is a creative Senior CMS Consultant with in depth .NET knowledge, focused on Web Development and Architecture Design.

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