Managing Your Internet Site


The Role of Governance When Implementing and Supporting a Website

Governance is a key activity when implementing a content management system for your website. There’s a lot of work and input required from a lot of departments, divisions and or people. Likewise, managing the day to day operations of a website takes a lot of work and requires governance.

But what is governance exactly? Basically it’s oversight by one or more persons on the activities that happen when building or maintaining your website. Essentially, there are two types of Governance Roles with different responsibilities and activities. Both are essential to successful content management implementations.

Project Based Governance Teams

Project based governance is governance that occurs during the project to implement the CMS. This team is usually made up of a number of people with varying roles in the company:

  • Technical Team Representative: One or more people who represent the helpdesk, development team, architecture, etc..
  • Management Team Representative: One or more people that represent the management team for the company and make the final decisions on finances
  • Project Manager: This is the person who would lead the Governance team
  • Content Owner Representatives:One or more representatives from each area of the company that have content or functionality that needs to be available on the website

Responsibilities for a governance team during a CMS project include the following:

  • Ensure that all the content required for the website has been identified and prioritized
  • Ensure that the visual design and information architecture for the website meet the needs of all content groups and the organization (obviously there will be some interesting discussions and negotiations)
  • Ensure that the design is clearly understood by the development team and that they raise any issues related to design implementation
  • Clear any bottlenecks or issues related to the project

Operations Based Governance Teams

Operational Governance teams are responsible for ensuring that the website runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. In this instance, there is often an editor assigned to manage the day-to-day operations and a larger governance team who meets on a bi-weekly or monthly basis to review status and discuss issues.

There are several types of representatives for this governance team including:

  • Content Owners: One or more persons who author and/or publish content for the site.
  • Technical Support: One or more persons responsible for managing the development enhancements and helpdesk support for the site
  • Management Representative: General oversight, issue resolution and finances
  • Operations Editor: Manages the day to day operations on the website

Responsibilities for this operations team is different in that they need to be aware of how things are going with the website once it’s up and running. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Ensure all content is up to date and relevant and being monitored closely
  • Reviewing monthly web site statistics to see how the site is doing in terms of visitors and other statistics
  • Dealing with any issues related to authoring and publishing of content, including issues with any authors or publishers
  • Dealing with any technical issues that arises during operations, such as software upgrades, planned and unplanned downtime
  • Understanding the volume of helpdesk calls and how they might resolve these issues
  • Reviewing and approving an enhancement requests or other changes for the website

Being a part of a governance team, whether during the CMS implementation or during operations is very important. These teams are seen as having ultimate responsibility for the success of the site. So participating on one is no small job.

Carefully select your representatives for each team. You want people who care about what’s happening, who try to understand all points of view, who aren’t afraid to speak up and voice their opinion.

Implementing these governance is very important to ensure your website is implemented properly and maintained throughout it’s life. A CMS based website, like any other website is a work of art constantly needing to grow and enhance and it’s these teams that ensure they are the best they can be.

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