Ditch the spreadsheet for content analysis.

Decide. Don't Inspect.

Key Points

  • Our goal during major digital change is improved quality. We need to make content decisions early for highest impact. To make decisions at scale, we shouldn't inspect every piece of content.
  • Decide: yes. Inspect every item to decide: no.
  • Separate deciding about content from executing upon content improvements.
Related resource
Dispositions Cheat Sheet | Use this sheet on your projects.

When we're making big digital changes, content is essential. Instead of an afterthought, content planning should happen very early in the process. A core part of the planning is figuring out: a) what content you have, b) what you want it to look like after improvements, and c) how you're going to get there. All three of these are related. In particular, it's not enough to just define the desired end state. Declaring some idealized state that you cannot achieve leads to train wrecks.

We've become stuck in our ways, thinking that the best approach to making content decisions is to inspect every piece of content. But, especially at scale, we want to make decisions in a faster, more consistent, and repeatable approach so we can plan early. We should bucket by rules.

One key point here is that we should separate out two things:

  1. DECIDING about content.

  2. EXECUTING content changes.

To be clear about one thing: we are attempting to increase quality using this approach. Making decisions en masse is to ensure that time is being used most effectively. Instead of having teams flounder in their content, you can be much more directed about what deserves the most attention. For example, it may make sense to delete all old press releases to open up time for improvements to the more important product pages.

Another way we are working to improve the ending quality is that we take the time to consider the best way to make that happen. Sometimes it may be more manual writing and editing time. Sometimes it might be better structuring the content. Or maybe better templates or better automated migration. We need to be creative about dispositions of content. But these kinds of decisions can only be made early. And asking people to review all their content line by line won't get us there.

Decide. Don't Inspect.

Dispositions Cheat Sheet Use this sheet on your projects.