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Office of Communications and Consumer Information Relaunch/redesign of nhtsa.gov (based on a true story) Jim Schulte nhtsa.gov Content Manager The Tiny.

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Presentation on theme: "Office of Communications and Consumer Information Relaunch/redesign of nhtsa.gov (based on a true story) Jim Schulte nhtsa.gov Content Manager The Tiny."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Office of Communications and Consumer Information Relaunch/redesign of nhtsa.gov (based on a true story) Jim Schulte nhtsa.gov Content Manager The Tiny Type: All opinions expressed – especially the really outlandish ones – are mine alone. No IT staff was harmed in the making of this website.

3 Office of Communications and Consumer Information NHTSA.gov redesign & CMS implementation: Challenges, successes, really hard challenges, creativity … and what do you mean we won’t get any more money until 2007, maybe?

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5 4 4  NHTSA.gov launched in 1996  Began as a billboard site; evolved to more consumer focus  Seemingly designed for the internal audience; organizational approach to content presentation  No official owner or decision-maker; IT became default editor/owner  Two scariest issues  Daughter sites had sprung up  Content management? People’s memories  End result  Warehousing of content  Nobody really knew what was where and why, how old, or how much We were more ready for reality than reality was ready for us

6 5 5  10. Impossible deadline  9. Very small project team  8. Huge internal skepticism  7. Covert foot-dragging / overt turf tussles  6. Taxonomy? What the hell do stuffed animals have to do with anything?  5. Money, money, money, money  4. What do you mean we didn’t buy workflow?  3. I thought I was in charge? Who are you guys?  2. Site licenses? We don’t need no stinking site licenses!  1. We didn’t know what we didn’t know! Top 10 key issues facing the project

7 6 6  The start  Internal discovery/decision process from Jan.-June ’04  Met with Knowledge Advantage Inc. and Infused Solutions early July  Chunked down project into Phases  The fears  Could we speak the same language?  Didn’t want a two-ton pencil with a four-ton eraser  Didn’t want a drive-by delivery  The finish  Launched Phase 1 beta for internal audiences feedback on Oct. 4  Went live on the web on Dec. 7 From zero to 60 in a relative nanosecond

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10 9 9  What happened  No money, honey  What do you mean we didn’t pay for training?  Jettisoning key things to lightening the balloon  Shifting priorities: All consolidation, all the time  Champions leave, vacuum ensues  The impact  Phases 2-on are delayed  Expanding the user-base for the tool is delayed  Project has lost momentum; internal skepticism on the rise again Reality bites: From 60 back to zero

11 10  We ain’t dead yet  Small-scale innovation and problem-solving  If you can’t change the tool, then change how you use it  Is anybody writing this down?  Build a test VCM as a test/staging server Necessity is a mother … of invention, even

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18 17  The takeaways  Designate an Al Haig; Clear authority on the decisions is paramount  Market to the internal audience, often and then some more; they can kill you, or make you wish you were dead  Have a high-ranking champion … and a couple of white knights  It’s OK to be stupid; As long as you’re not afraid to ask questions  If you love it, set it free: Don’t get too wedded to a feature or function because it might not survive triage and fighting to keep it could impact the project  Change hurts: Never underestimate the amount of training/explaining/education you will have to do with your readers  Always try to break the tool/system as soon as possible  Choose well who you bring to the dance If we had to do this over again …

19 18 Semper Gumby or Keep cool, but do not freeze But when all else fails … try these words to live by

20 Office of Communications and Consumer Information Jim Schulte 202.366.6651 james.schulte@nhtsa.gov Questions? Rebuttals? Arguments?


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