Defining SharePoint taxonomy for work management success

April 24, 2012 —  (Page 1 of 2)
Designing your taxonomy is the hardest thing you'll have to do for your SharePoint project. The correct definition will inevitably mean the difference between success and failure, and alignment between your corporate road map and strategic objectives is critical. As your standard business language, your taxonomy must be all encompassing but provide a strong foundation for corporate growth. A question that comes up early and often in a project is that of taxonomy: What is it, how does it work, and how do we “get a good one”?

Taxonomy should be very straightforward and is easily understood across business lines regardless of your position, role or department. Taxonomy is the common business language that logically classifies and categorizes information and data across your organization.

For example, if I were speaking to 200 people and said the word “coffee,” everyone in the room would understand what I meant. Therefore, coffee could be a term in your taxonomy because it is commonly understood and accepted. From that single term, many other variations could be made regarding a favorite drink or method of making it, but the foundation would never change. For all you Starbucks lovers, even a venti-2 splenda-blonde-misto is still coffee, it just has some additional metadata elements attached to it.

When it comes to a business-level discussion, there are so many different perspectives on business vernacular that defining taxonomy is difficult. To complicate the issue, Microsoft hasn’t done much to offer predefined taxonomy, leaving companies up to their own devices.

At Concatenate, we have created our RealTime Starter Kit as a solution to true out-of-the-box taxonomy at a work management level. This article will provide some insights into that process, and give you some tips to creating your own taxonomy to establish work management success. The process of creating your taxonomy takes a great deal of time and effort to complete. In fact, a 2010 white paper stated that it takes approximately 500 hours (or US$200,000) to engage a consulting firm to create a business’ taxonomy with proper definition.

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