Pitfall No. 1: Failing to identify your goals. Identify your strategies for success. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help your organization define and measure progress.

Pitfall No. 2: Choosing a CMS without set requirements. It is critical to identify the requirements of your users, understand the skill set of your contributors and identify technical parameters—including, but not limited to, integration requirements.

Pitfall No. 3: Unrealistic timelines. Avoid launching a new CMS around a major event, such as an annual meeting or tradeshow. Ample resources need to be committed to both—one endeavor should not overshadow the other.

Pitfall No. 4: Not assigning a project leader or creating a multidisciplinary team. Appoint a leader whose primary responsibility is to ensure project timelines and budgets stay on track; is responsible for the project plan; and makes appropriate resource assignments. Also, in my experience, the best selections come from a multidisciplinary team, not just IT or other single team.

Pitfall No. 5: Underestimating content migration. Assign responsibilities for review and creation at the beginning of the project and determine early on how content will populate the new system.

Pitfall No. 6: Overlooking proper testing. Go back to the core success criteria and create test scenarios that will validate you’ve met those goals. When creating an acceptance test plan, ask: Does the CMS meet the expressed business and functional requirements? Does it execute as anticipated?

Pitfall No. 7: Focusing too much on the software and not the vendor. Things to look for in a technology partner include: Their quality and project successes, project management experience, understanding of your organization, chemistry, size and trust.

Pitfall No. 8: Failing to test the proposed solutions. Test the two finalists against important usage scenarios for a limited amount of time before committing. This will give you much greater confidence of the vendor prior to signing a contract.

Pitfall No. 9: Not making the overall user experience both off line and online a priority. If your site is difficult to operate, it will discourage your content contributors from using the system and visitors from seeking information from your site. A simple test involving three to five people can identify aspects of the site that require reworking.

Pitfall No. 10: Negotiating a win-lose deal. Be sure to negotiate a fair deal. If you start among the vendor’s least profitable, you may become the least desirable customer. Try to select a vendor where you are the ideal customer: Not too big or not too small.