Janaka Fernando
Jan 29, 2020
(8 votes)

Is your organisation still developing Episerver solutions in isolation to your Content team?

Your projects may be experiencing any of these symptoms.

The team feels they're making good progress on all their sprints. Then they hit the dreaded UAT phase of the project and suddenly loads of bugs and problems have been found!

You are forced to make assumptions based on designs (or lack of them) - "Does anybody know if a Banner block should have a call to action button? It was included in one of the mockups, but no one discussed it as a requirement."

The project finishes, you hand over the keys, but nothing happens till months later when the customer finally gets around to understanding how to manage content.

Everyone says we are doing Agile, but it feels a lot like Scrum-Waterfall.

Feeling unwell?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

One explanation for why these problems are occurring is real world content is not being included in the delivery at various stages. Yes content, that thing the solutions we are building is meant for. You probably have people who are paid just to create this stuff. Are you utilising your Content team effectively?

Here's a couple places to be thinking about content.

Customer Experience (CX)
This is the place where content is considered and played around with in order to determine the best way for the site's customers to experience different journeys. Domain experts are needed here to provide better context and examples.

Wireframes and Designs
While prototyping can be a quick process, ensure we have captured good samples of content to include in our wireframes and hi-fidelity designs. "Lorem Ipsum" and repeated filler text can come back to haunt the team later when it is unclear what production content looks like.

Content Strategy
This is where you will need to ask your customer questions on what content and message they want to present. What will be the information architecture for your solution? Will content be migrated, will we be producing new content, or both?  Without this going live will become slowed down by inertia when content creation becomes a bottleneck. 

Ensure your team is thinking about production content during development with good, clear user acceptance tests. Build out real, production content when you do QA.

Agile Delivery
Rather than just give a sprint demo every couple of weeks, how about delivering the actual product? Have your Content team build out production ready content each sprint.

Better content, Better projects.

By the end of your project a good chunk of the site should be already in place.  At the very least all of the key pages are in the CMS and every single one of your Page and Block types has been built with production content. This has been a collaborative project for everyone involved.

While this isn't specifically an Episerver development problem, ignoring it makes problems grow exponentially when developing for Episerver.   For anyone interested you can read my article about including content in your development team's definition of done for a more general view of how to apply this thinking.

A customer who has been involved early on seeing the project come to life, will have a richer understanding of using the completed Episerver solution - and the project will be more likely a success.  When it is difficult to tie down a customer to commit time to the project, promote a Digital Marketer from your Content team to take the lead. They can fill in the gaps and provide useful feedback to developers.  Having a Content Specialist as part of your delivery team is a must have!

Finally, don't we all want to create something amazing and engaging? The reason we work with Episerver is because it gives us a platform to create an unlimited variety of customer solutions with different kinds of content. Try introducing more collaboration with your Content team into your product development and see the difference it makes.

Jan 29, 2020


Arild Henrichsen
Arild Henrichsen Jan 29, 2020 02:08 PM

Great post and often-overlooked topic, @Janaka! 

Jeroen Stemerdink
Jeroen Stemerdink Jan 30, 2020 08:42 AM

It is indeed often overlooked. There are some other considerations about content, besides this one, as well though

Please login to comment.
Latest blogs
IDX21323 - RequireNonce is true, Nonce was null

We have multiple clients configured with Azure Active Directory (Microsoft Entra) for requiring authentication when accessing their website. The...

David Drouin-Prince | Oct 1, 2023 | Syndicated blog

Minimum Detectable Effect in Optimizely Web Experimentation

Understanding Minimum Detectable Effect Minimum Detectable Effect (MDE) is a core statistical calculation in Optimizely Web Experimentation. In...

Matthew Dunn | Oct 1, 2023 | Syndicated blog

Configured Commerce - Introduction to Long-Term Support (LTS) Releases

First off, for those who have not had a chance to meet me yet, my name is John McCarroll, and I am the Technical Product Manager for the Optimizely...

John McCarroll | Sep 29, 2023

Auto-translate with OpenAI in Optimizely CMS

You can now auto-translate content using your favorite online AI service, inside the old trustworthy Episerver.Labs.LanguageManager!

Tomas Hensrud Gulla | Sep 29, 2023 | Syndicated blog