Tag Archives: planning

Don’t blame the tax(onomy) man, he’s only doing his job.

8 May

Taxonomy: “Taxonomy is the logical organization of content in an ECM system”
(Source: Chris Riley: http://blog.cloudshare.com/2012/05/10/taxonomy-planning-in-sharepoint-2010/ )

I rather like this definition. I wish I had found it the first time I had attempted to tackle the issue of taxonomy. Instead, I spent about 2 hours trying to explain the idea to people who initially thought it was the practice of stuffing dead animals…

Over the next two days I will be re-addressing taxonomy, attempting to plan out the classification of content for our organisation. I realise that posting a blog prior to this all important meeting seems a little pointless, but having attempted taxonomy once before (attempted being the optimum word) I thought I would try and help you steer clear of the mistakes I made first time round.

1. Leave your blindfold and blinkers at home.

That is to say, make sure you understand the task at hand. Now obviously most people will do some research into what taxonomy is beforehand, but you need to go beyond the basic definition. “Well, its groups of words that are used to classify documents that we can make available globally” just isn’t good enough Im afraid. You need to decide (or at least be ready to decide) what the scope is. Who are you creating it for? Is one taxonomy enough? What are your reasons for doing it? Where is the value going to come from? And other such “larger” questions.


2. The more cooks, the better the broth.

As frustrating as it can be to have lots of people in a meeting, even more so if they are all from different areas and focussing on their own needs, it is important to have an accurate cross section of your user base present. Taxonomy is their classification of their data, so its no good creating something without their input – all that will end up happening is you will spend days or weeks creating it and they will look at you, laugh, stick up two fingers and carry on working the way they have been all along.


3. A picture paints a thousand words.

It is very tempting to immediately start thinking about ways you classify data. For us it was thinking about things that can be used globally, groups of things such as document type, product, division etc. The reason that this is often the go to starting point is because its easy. Granted it may not feel all that easy at the time, but in the grand scheme of things coming up with a large set of words that you already use day to day is easy. The harder bit, and in my eyes the more important aspect, is the overall picture of what it looks like. What is the structure going to be? Who is responsible for maintaining the branches? What sort of size is required? If you are able to come up with an ideal framework, the population of it is easy (and you can even rope in even more help to get the lists of terms).


These are my top three rules, judging by our previous failed attempt. Now I have the delight of sitting in a room with a group of (admittedly rather nice) people for tw days and attempting to really get stuck in to this.

I’ll let you know how it goes… 


Where to go from here?

29 Jan

This is the question we found ourselves asking recently.

To fully understand I need you to bear in mind that many companies will have a reasonable sized team with a reasonable time frame to complete the planning and implementation of a SharePoint environment. We, on the other hand, have one and a half people (myself full time, my boss part time) dedicated to this project and we’re sort of learning as we go along.

As well as this, along the way we’ve had various people within the organisation (the kind that you have to listen to) speaking sentences such as “ah forget governance! Just get some sites working!” and “Whats taxonomy? Like stuffed animals? Ah forget it and get some sites working!” and “implementation plan? ah-” well you get the idea.

This has all led us to a point where we have a couple of areas working fairly well in the business; a few areas under construction; a high demand; and no governance policies in place.

You think that looks a little backwards?

You’d be right.

It has finally caught up on us, we have about 30 decisions that need to be made by a number of different parties, written up and distributed. We need to gather committees, do some sales and networking as well as continuing with the sites we’ve already promised. Oh, and we only have about a week to do it.

I’m aware that this article hasn’t been hugely helpful for anyone who actually works with SharePoint, but if you’re just starting out remember this:

You always build the house before you decorate the rooms.

…Unless its one of those buildings that you build the rooms and slot them into a frame…Lets pretend I didn’t say that… Thanks.