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Dispositions: getting the most from your content during digital change

Key Points

  • Go beyond drop vs. move as is
  • Use rules to assign dispositions during planning, not during content implementation
Related resource
Dispositions Cheat Sheet | Use this sheet on your projects.

What is a disposition?

A disposition is a consistent way of treating content during digital change. The simplest dispositions are keep as is and delete (example dispositions are in bold throughout this article). Note: if you're only considering these two then you're probably doing it wrong!

Download the dispositions sheet for more options.

What kinds of projects benefit from dispositions?

Dispositions are important for any project where a large amount of content is potentially being changed. Some primary example projects are redesigns and migrations, but it could be other cleanup efforts like reducing digital presence size or moving away from PDFs.

When in the process are dispositions used?

Broadly speaking, we want to follow a process like this:

  1. Generate a list of your content.
  2. Define dispositions and assign dispositions to buckets of content.
  3. Hand off for execution.

Note: By the time the hand off for execution occurs, you should have already: a) defined the dispositions for your project and b) generated a list of content that is getting each treatment. When it is time for execution, all the key decisions about treatment should already be defined.

Estimating effort levels is a good way of confirming that your dispositions will work, and perhaps indicate where you should optimize/tweak dispositions.

Why are dispositions useful?

Fundamentally dispositions allow you to plan more effectively, to:

How should dispositions be defined and assigned to buckets of content?

Ideally we define the following:

Define rules to assign buckets, dispositions, and assignments for content

What are some example dispositions?

Some example dispositions, in order of effort level per content item, include:

There's some nuance within each of these. For instance, there are lots of different flavors of Keep as is, such as:

Dispositions Cheat Sheet Use this sheet on your projects.