The Price Of Content Management
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You are in charge of a project that is trying to migrate from one website, one content management system to another content management system.  The systems are not compatible so a conversion effort needs to occur, potentially a manual conversion effort.  And let’s say that you have 100,000 pages of content to convert.  Would you think that a $100,000 budget was realistic?  Probably not.  I wouldn’t accept the project with that sort of budget.

Let’s mix it up a bit.  Let’s expand the project.  How about 1,000,000 pages of content at $1 per page.  Once again keeping in mind that you are going from one content management system to another.  Oh, wait, wait, let’s really go all out.  How about 10,000,000 pages of content at $1 per page.  Now let’s really get spicy.  How about 10,000,000 page of content from 1500 different content management systems?  Would you accept that project?  All for $1 per page?

If I could get a vendor to agree to that fixed fee price I would jump on it right away, knowing full well that they aren’t going to be able to do it at that price and I would be happy at saving myself a bundle.

So why would the Government of Canada think that they could do it?  They tried.  And they failed.  What’s worse is that in the Government of Canada scenario we weren’t talking about $1 per page, but something closer to $0.60 per page.  And the $1.5 million for Adobe software?  Yeah, that’s now $15 million.

No offense to project managers, but sometimes you need to talk to someone who understands, really understands the technology before making a cost estimate.  Individual Government of Canada departments have spent tens of millions of dollars to move 230,000 pages.  Instead of $0.60 per page that is looking like $150.00 per page.  Off by a mere 250 times the original estimate.

Wow.  I know that my estimates suck sometimes, but I’m never that far off.

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