How to choose CMS software

Giuseppe Persiani wrote:
> I was a consultant for one of the most expensive CMS around and I know that
> sometimes moeny doesn't really pay.

Indeed. I was on the customer side of the CMS dance not too long ago, and I noticed a few things. First, the definition of "CMS" has become extremely "fluid" (that is, ill-defined). Second, management is almost always willing to throw money at a problem if they are guaranteed it will "just work". These two facts combine to create a recipe for disaster.


When the customer doesn't know what they want, and they are willing to pay through the nose to get it, they will get something expensive that doesn't work.


Customers with vague requirements are led-astray by salesmen and analysts enjoy describing all possible features. The customer starts thinking about what they *could* do with this software, rather they *need* to do with the software. In other words, the sales person is *creating* user requirements and changing the scope of the project from under the user's nose. That's bad.

The hidden bad thing about such over-featured software is that those features are often obtrusive and difficult to remove if you end up not needing them.


Know exactly what you need, and systematically look at all options. Software evaluation is very demanding work, and it's tempting to farm it out, but don't if you have a skilled person able to do the evaluation work who is a permanent employee. They will take greater care because a) they know the requirements (both user and developer), b) they will have to live with the decision and c) the quality of the decision could affect their future salary.

There is an interesting article on CMS at the wikipedia. If it can be believed, Vignette was spun out of CNET and was the first CMS as we know it today. (And I've heard the horror stories about Vignette, too.)

No comments: