Here at the cmf2007 conference
in Arhus, Demark, we're listening to Lisa Welchman
discuss Web Governance and Web Operations Management (WOM).
Web Governance has little to do with information governance and records management. The exception to this is that -- as one might imagine -- the principles of good Web Operations Management can reference and/or learn from the principles found in other, more developed areas of organizational operations.
In Lisa's words, Web Governance
is how decisions and policies get made and implemented with respect to the content, data and applications used on an organization's Web products. And that governance guiding principles, policies and standards must be supported by sound Web operational principles, which include:
* strategic direction and leadership from senior management
* an authoritative, administrative and programmatic structure
* an effective communications strategy for all Web stakeholders
What's driving a focus on WOM? It's the fact that many Web content management projects fail, run over budget or just seem to never arrive at the point originally envisioned. Over time content volumes go up, staff changes, strategies shift, etc.
As time passes, the mess builds and the fingers point in oh so many directions. The problem, asserts Lisa, is not a technical one, nor an editorial one, nor a IT one. Rather, the problem is that there is a lack of maturity in the way organizations operate the disparate groups and resources who participate in the creation and operation of their Web-based assets.
According to Welchman, the Web Operations Lifecycle has four components to it:
The website is the front door. It needs to be taken seriously. It needs to be managed by a high level strategic manager. Decisions must not be pushed down to a low level in the organization.
Standards are lacking. One might find a style guide, maybe. You might have coding standards and policies like "no pop-ups". But real governance and operational policies need to be defined as part of healthy WOM.
Certain functions ought to be centralized -- a Web team can't write all the content. Certain functions should not centralized. This is a range which must be tuned to the organization's temperament and culture. This role is effectively product management.
This is really about measurement, and keeping in touch with two sets of people: people working on the site and external users. The two groups need to talk to each other all the time. A healthy, communicative community must be developed and needs of these communities need to be fed into the strategic decision making process.
Making these four components work together in a functional manner is the foundation of good Web operations. And the goal of good Web operations is to connect strategy to implementation and to align disparate skills and interests in a common framework. Makes sense, but it does not come easy.
Stayed tuned as we continue our coverage of the cmf2007
event, and as we dig further into Welchman's take on modern Web operational woes and goals.