All my client engagement include developing a Content Life Cycle as a part of planning for structured authoring migration and content management implementation. This effort is always in the form of a workshop and requires input from every member of the team.
Recognizing the content life cycle helps identify business requirement for how content must be treated, handled and processed. Applying the content life cycle presents opportunities for workflow improvement, automation and ways to measure cost. It is also makes a tacit technical publication process explicit. When preparing for a content management system, a clear understanding of the current content life cycle helps team members understand the coming changes in process and technology. It also provides a basis for identifying future hardware, software, workflow and human requirements. With clear requirements and a focus on the re-engineered content life cycle, a content management solution will be geared to the users and not driven by vendors and product software capabilities.
Since the scope of the content life cycle focuses on every content state and the tasks associated with that state, the content life cycle requires interaction with the technical publications team. The primary focus is on identifying core tasks and the order in which they occur. The secondary focus is on identifying who performs tasks and the tools used.
Working with technical publication groups to develop their own CLC is both revealing and great fun. Here are two versions of the same model: authoring only and authoring with translation.