Saving CMS Consultants from Being Beaten Up

Wise man are rare, but they exist and one of them is happy to share his wisdom with all tense CMS consultants and project managers to help them relax.

Martin Bauer is his name and Packt just published his book entitled Managing eZ Publish Web Content Management Projects. In fact, this book is a tremendous work of reference for any kind of CMS project, be it eZ Publish or not, proprietary or Open Source. Only two of 13 chapters actually deal with eZ Publish specifics.

The book contains a hand full lines of code, the rest is valuable information covering the whole life cycle of a CMS project, for example:

  • Project cost estimates
  • How to write a specification
  • Project management approaches
  • Implementation and testing
  • Training
  • Maintenance and support
  • Risk management
  • etc.

What makes the book such a great source of information is its valuable combination of experience and facts. Just a few insightful quotes:

If a developer continually gives me best-case scenarios, I’ll protect myself by adding 40% to the estimate.

So, you can accomodate some delays, additions, or changes but once it gets beyond 10% [of estimated project duration], the project will be in trouble.

Risk management itself is a risky activity, but an important one. It’s a bit like insurance; you can get away without it until something goes wrong at which point you wished you had done something earlier.

If you make the mistake of thinking that the team doesn’t include the Client, then chances are you’ll fall into the “Us and Them” syndrome.

From my past experience as a Senior Consultant at eZ Systems, the creator of eZ Publish, I can wholeheartedly recommend Martin’s book – it will help you a lot to successfully cope with implementing CMS-based solutions.

If I were Packt, I’d cut out the eZ Publish-specific content from Martin’s book and make it a general reference for CMS project methodologies. Based on that book, Packt could publish vendor-specific references (e.g. eZ Publish, Drupal, Typo3, etc.). That way, Martin’s book could become a classic.

Two bloggers of the eZ Publish community also reviewed Martin’s book.

Disclaimer: The publisher approached me and asked me to write a review of the book. I agreed not without making clear that I will express my opinion independently.

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