More and more clients are asking for “best practices” – “Tell me about your best practices, what does your company recommend?”
When I think about best practices, many things come to mind such as:
  • Project Sponsorship – does the project have an appropriate level of sponsorship within your organization?
  • Governance – does your organization have a goverance plan to make sure the project is architected and executed properly?
  • Information management – what data will reside within the Portal? What are your legal and privacy obligations? International laws? Liabilities?
  • Capacity Planning – do you have a capacity plan in your design?
  • Systems Design – do you have a design that is compliant? Have you taken into consideration the user and data requirements? Implications of your network?
  • Information Architecture – do you have an information architecture that delivers value and is extensible? Managable? Do you have a common vocabulary? Have you aligned the information architecture with staff and management job goals and tasks?
  • Distributed Aurthoring – do you have a plan and ownership model for content authoring?
  • Branding – do you have a branding design and plan that meets requires from both a look and feel and cost of ownership perspective?
  • Operations – have you planned for operational impacts? Help Desk, training, support scripts, monitoring and alerts, backup and restore, reporting (Usage compliance, search queries etc…), reporting to name a few.
  • Expertise – do you have people with the appropriate level of experience? Have done this before (and not just in their lab)?
Most clients I speak with over simplify these sort of projects. Why? They just don’t know any better. My analogy is that of when Exchange appeared 12 years ago and they deployed the product and several years later realized they had made mistakes (that cost money and their credibility) and learned a lot from them. MOSS 2007 is at that stage now! Many clients have made mistakes with past Portal and related projects (Search, Document Management etc…) and want to avoid those mistakes with their new project but don’t have the holistic view. Some think they do by reading Blogs but that will only take you so far.