taxonomy governance

advice, best practice, enterprise content management, taxonomy governance

Effective Taxonomy Governance, Part 1: The Taxonomist’s Role


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The key to successfully creating, implementing and maintaining a taxonomy in an organization is having an effective Taxonomy Governance Plan. The governance plan is the road map that coordinates the efforts of everyone involved as they go through the phases of developing a taxonomy that is fully integrated with the organization’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and becomes part of the daily workflow. The goal of this three-part series is to provide an in-depth look at the taxonomy governance road map for each of the three main teams that need to work in tandem to accomplish this goal: the Taxonomist, the IT/System, and the Enterprise.

Let’s start with the taxonomist.

TM_TaxonomyGovernanceForTheOrganization_Taxonomy

The Taxonomist’s Role

The taxonomy team is charged with the crucial task of creating the taxonomy. An effective taxonomy governance plan clearly sets the parameters of what domains the taxonomy is going to cover and what it is that the overall project is supposed to accomplish. The governance plan also gives the team the credentials and organizational support that they need to conduct user interviews with key stakeholders and perform the content audit. With the guidance of the governance plan, they are able to focus their efforts on gathering key terms and concepts that should be included in the taxonomy, discovering all of the potential document repositories and content types, and understanding what is important to the people who will ultimately be using the taxonomy.

The content audit and stakeholder interviews inform the creation of the draft taxonomy. This draft taxonomy needs to be reviewed by stakeholders and user testing conducted to make sure that it is on the right track. After this critical review process, the taxonomy is put into the ECM system test environment along with some sample content to ensure everything is working before it goes live and becomes part of the daily workflow.

The implementation is just the beginning of the taxonomy governance process. The users will inevitably need to add new terms to the taxonomy to reflect the changing nature of their work. The governance plan needs to address the process for adding new terms to the taxonomy. The taxonomy team will receive requests to add new terms and make the determination of whether to add the requested term or not. There will be pushback from some stakeholders who may not be happy with the taxonomist’s decision, and the governance plan must address how to resolve these conflicts.

Once the taxonomy has been created and has been implemented, there will be reports and metrics to monitor how it is being used. The taxonomy team is on the front line seeing how the users are interacting with the taxonomy and their input is critical in determining the next steps that are necessary to make improvements.

advice, best practice, Posts, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010 taxonomy, SharePoint 2013, taxonomy governance

Friday Afternoon Tips: 5 Key Questions about Taxonomy Governance in SharePoint


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Some clients have said they don’t even know how to ask the right questions about taxonomy governance. Based on the Taxonomy Governance for SharePoint guide (see more in our Store), here are five key things to think about regarding governance and your taxonomy in SharePoint:

1. Why is a taxonomy necessary? A taxonomy (or a collection of taxonomies) provides a foundation for how a company can control and use terms and vocabularies across all of its assets and content/information systems.

2. How long does it take to create a taxonomy? An initial taxonomy can be created in as little time as a month, but most take 2-3 months to establish and many more months to be fully integrated into one or more systems (e.g. SharePoint).

3. Why does a taxonomy need governance? Taxonomies can grow rapidly and can quickly become outdated or unnecessarily complex unless some kind of rules and processes are in place to help with control and planned growth.

4. What kind of governance ‘model’ is best? Of the three main types of governance models (defined below) – centralized, decentralized, autonomous – in most cases the best is a decentralized approach that works best for growing and maintaining a taxonomy.

5. Who’s going to maintain it? For those without the services of a professional taxonomist or trained knowledge manager, maintenance can be accomplished with shared responsibilities within the existing staff. The harder part is how the taxonomy should be maintained and even expanded and improved over time.

 

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Taxonomy Governance for SharePoint guide now available!


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Taxonomy Governance CoverThis nearly 100-page, hands-on guide to taxonomy governance in SharePoint 2010 / 2013 is now available in our Store. Also includes links to 15+ videos that show the ideas in action.

Designed for anyone responsible for maintaining a taxonomy in the SharePoint Term Store, this guide will get you started on governance and help keep your taxonomy up to date and useful once it’s launched.

Don’t let your SharePoint taxonomy investment go to waste! Use industry standards, policies and procedures and best practices for taxonomies.

advice, enterprise content management, taxonomy governance

Effective Taxonomy Governance, Part 3: The Enterprise’s Role


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by Brian LeBlanc, Term Management Taxonomist

The key to successfully creating, implementing and maintaining a taxonomy in an organization is having an effective governance plan. The governance plan is the road map that coordinates the efforts of everyone involved as they go through the phases of developing a taxonomy that is fully integrated with the organization’s enterprise content management (ECM) system and becomes part of the daily workflow. The goal of this three-part series is to provide an in-depth look at the taxonomy governance road map for each of the three main teams that need to work in tandem to accomplish this goal: the Taxonomist, the IT/System, and the Enterprise.

Previous posts in the series addressed the role of the taxonomist and the role of IT and the system. Let’s now conclude with a look at the role of enterprise.

TM_TaxonomyGovernanceForTheOrganization_Enterprise

The Enterprise’s Role

The enterprise team has the crucial role of creating, promoting, and enforcing the taxonomy governance plan itself. The enterprise team includes the taxonomy champion, the project manager, and key leaders who back the project. They are the people who see the big picture of what the taxonomy project is all about and they need to convince everyone in the organization to sign on and contribute to its success.

At the heart of the enterprise team’s work is the convening of the governance committee. This team will create the statement of purpose for the entire project, which will guide the creation of the taxonomy governance document. The governance document should clearly explain the purpose, the timeline, and the expectations of the project.

Once the governance document has been created and is in use, the enterprise team will switch to monitoring the work being performed, promoting the initiative, and making sure it gets the cooperation of key stakeholders.

After the taxonomy and ECM system implementation, governance shifts to focusing on the rules regarding how terms will be added to the taxonomy. The taxonomy team will inevitably get pushback from various stakeholders demanding that their terms be added. If the governance team is not there to referee and enforce the rules, then the taxonomy could be overloaded with too many terms.

Once the taxonomy has been implemented in the ECM system, it is time to look at the results. The enterprise team will monitor the results of the implementation and lead the effort to make the needed improvements to the taxonomy.

 Conclusion

While a taxonomy project can be started, it is never completed; rather, it is always evolving to meet the needs of the users or risks falling into disuse. An effective taxonomy governance plan defines what needs to happen to successfully launch the taxonomy, but also how to maintain it and make continuous improvements. A successful taxonomy is one that has an effective governance plan in place to help it grow and evolve along with the organization.

(If you are interested in getting a copy of the entire Taxonomy Governance Plan, please contact us.)

advice, enterprise content management, taxonomy governance

Effective Taxonomy Governance, Part 2: The System’s Role


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by Brian LeBlanc, Term Management Taxonomist

The key to successfully creating, implementing and maintaining a taxonomy in an organization is having an effective Taxonomy Governance Plan. The governance plan is the road map that coordinates the efforts of everyone involved as they go through the phases of developing a taxonomy that is fully integrated with the organization’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and becomes part of the daily workflow. The goal of this three-part series is to provide an in-depth look at the taxonomy governance road map for each of the three main teams that need to work in tandem to accomplish this goal: the Taxonomist, the IT/System, and the Enterprise.

The first part of the series addressed the role of the taxonomist. Now let’s take a look at the role of the system.

TM_TaxonomyGovernanceForTheOrganization_System

The System’s Role

A taxonomy is only as good as the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system that will be using it to tag, classify and retrieve the content required by the users. The IT/Systems team has a very focused, specific and crucial role to play in this process as they are the ones responsible for the integration of the taxonomy, the enterprise’s content, and the ECM system. The IT team needs the taxonomy governance plan to help inform the selection and implementation of the ECM system, the content migration plan, and the testing period before everything goes live.

The systems team is in charge of one of the most vital parts of the entire project, namely deciding upon and implementing a new ECM system for the entire organization. The adoption of a new ECM system is a catalyst for people in the organization to determine what content they want to migrate into the new ECM system. The IT team can deploy the new system in a test environment with a draft taxonomy and some sample content. Once everything is found to be working properly in the test environment, content can officially be migrated and the taxonomy can go live.

Once the ECM system is up and running, the IT team can start to retire the old content repositories after the appropriate amount of time has passed. During this time they will also be monitoring how the ECM system and taxonomy implementation is working in practice. Their insights will be a crucial part of the improvement process.