Taxonomy Research: Project Strategy Determination for Taxonomy creation

During my flight to SharePoint 2011 continued research on developing Taxonomy creation methodology.  Lambe’s book provided excellent insights.  What I glean from his work was prior to undertaking a taxonomy project its necessary to assess the state of readiness an organization.  The question becomes what you do to assess taxonomy readiness.

Here again Lambe provided excellent insights.  The two major factors to use in an assessment are Information Maturity and Technology/Environment Maturity.  Information Maturity can be partitioned using Cynefin Framework into four state matrixes: Known, Knowable, Complex, and Chaotic.  This matrix infers that level of taxonomy usage that is applicable:  Structure & Organizing, Establish Common Ground, Span Boundaries, Sense Making and Discovery

The assessment of technology maturity spans a range from Ad Hoc Storage, Bucketing, Libraries, and finally Content Management Systems.  These ranges of technology maturity limit to what level of usage are possible in the current enterprise.

By the end of the week I hope to have both an assessment worksheet and guidance selector for how to scope a taxonomy creation project.   

The Big Elephant in the SharePoint Room

After all the “SharePoint Saturday The Conference” excitement has died down.  I looked at both the agenda and attendance and came to the obvious conclusion.  We’re still more enthralled with technology than content.   I will not say that is necessarily a bad thing, however, for a technology that professes to help manage content as a community we’re still more focused on widgets, parts and branding than on getting a handle on actually helping the end-user manage content.

I hear lots of pushback on this topic both at the conference and work.  We’re here to provide a tool; it’s the end-user’s responsibility to use it correctly.  The only problem with this answer is that if you don’t assist the end-user community in seeing how the technology enables one to accomplish a task better and in a new way you’ll end up with the same problems with just a new face on them.

How many SharePoint implementations are just Web front-ends to G-Drives?  I’ve done several snap surveys and audits to see this trend continuing.  In an effort to deploy the latest and greatest technology we’ve lost the rational for its usage to start with.  In order to be successful in delivery, we’ve sandbagged its capabilities.

Helping end-users understand their role in information management is not an insurmountable task, but it does suggest SharePoint community members need to move out of their comfort zone of lists, sites, and web parts and into the more abstract area of content strategy, information architecture beyond UI design and into how content’s lifecycle needs to be managed beyond slamming a quick and dirty article into a content management system (CMS) or I.T. launch process.