Ensuring long-term success

 

In an ideal world, you could build a new authoring environment, deploy it, and wash your hands of the project. In the real world, however, changes are inevitable. Even in the best-planned, most-organized environment, you will be required to make small changes to the content model, add new output paths, and so on. You must have a plan to manage these changes, as in any software development project. This means developing a change control process and identifying and prioritizing bugs and enhancements.

Your process must address several competing requirements: it must minimize changes, ensure that changes are made in an organized manner, and be flexible enough to ensure that the environment meets the workgroup’s evolving requirements.

Some workgroups implement changes on a schedule. For example, for the first two years, the implementation team rolls out new versions quarterly; after that, every six months. You might also schedule change implementation based on priority—changes with higher priorities are done quickly; lower-priority changes are rolled into a scheduled update.

After building, testing, and deploying the project, you need to shift resources from development to maintenance.

As you move forward, you can evaluate the implementation against the goals you identified at the beginning of the project. Are you seeing increased productivity and reduced production-editing requirements? Is content management improving? If your implementation was successful, you can tick off the items you listed at the beginning of the project (and perhaps a few you didn’t anticipate) as accomplishments now.

 

 

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