Requirements analysis is standard procedure in software engineering projects.
When it comes to content management systems, however, standard requirements analysis methods and tools may need extension.
What is a CMS supposed to do? How? It all depends. How long is your piece of string?
Most CMS products on the market have not quite reached maturity yet, as the curve is continually turning, increasingly widening the systems scope and reach.
Organizations have not yet quite understood how a CMS can be integrated into their processes structures to cut down costs, boost productivity exponentially and change the business dynamic radically.
James Robertson has published a Content Management Requirements Toolkit, a 64-page paper listing 112 requirements, across five categories: creation, content management, publishing, presentation, contract and business.
By grouping standard CMS functionalities into categories and mirroring them into a list of ‘requirements' the toolkit aims to offer a shortcut in the process of identifying business needs when selecting a CMS, says Robertson.
A ‘toolkit’ can be a very useful guide, especially if the buyer has little technical knowledge or CMS expertise.
But on its own it may not be sufficient to avoid costly mistakes.
While some requirements are met with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, some other need to be measured and detailed to avoid costly approximation.
For a requirement to be met by a system, the simple ‘our product can do that’ said by the vendor is not sufficient.
Familiarity with the organization’s business processes is essential to model abstract requirements to the reality, and must be supported by a rather detailed and exact specification document, a quantitative measurement of the functionality performance against the more generic requirements.
Once a product has been identified that can deliver the desired functionality, the contractual agreement between vendor and buyer must include the condition that product delivery is only satisfactory and complete if the requirements are met as per the specification provided.
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