Thursday, September 15, 2005

CMS Projects - same old story

While visiting an immense project today, the following exchange was held between someone based at the project, another colleague, and myself (this exchange is not verbatim):
"Sorry, did I hear you say you used Documentum for Document Management?" (me)

"Yes, but not everyone uses it. It isn't really that user-friendly: when you start, the next page takes a minute, a minute-and-a-half to load up, and then you are presented with a list of options that no-one understands. Oh, and that means no-one uses it - everyone gets trained, and the system can do some really good things, but it's then two months before you use it again and you've forgotten everything. So we also had some document managers, but since everyone gives them the stuff to put in, they're swamped. So the system doesn't have that much information on it." (project colleague)

My colleague and I looked at each other, as she has been looking for a killer internal argument for usability to convince others. This isn't a criticism of Documentum - a great tool in the right hands - more an expression of my continued surprise at how little thought is typically put into human "engagement" in DMS and CMS projects, not just "usability" issues, but also ongoing training and workflow analysis. No matter how many projects you work on for different companies, you always hear the same old story - it would be nice to see someone doing it the right way from the start for a change.

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