I’ve Written My Standards, But Nobody Follows Them

Kristina Podnar DG Blog

IMG ALT: Hand in the air holding letters that spell out STANDARDS

38515411 – hands holding up standards against blue sky. Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Frequently I hear from organizations that they have created a set of standards but they can’t get digital content authors and producers to focus on their adoption and implementation. As we often say, unless you have been delegated authority to drive standards into the organization, you may not be able to get people to listen to you. While obtaining authority is the first aspect of digital standards that you should focus on, it is only the start.

Often individuals designated as digital standards stewards for the organization, i.e., those asked to formally specify guidance on what is to be done in regards to aspects of digital publication, focus on defining standards and ensuring they are documented. However, that is not the end of the standards lifecycle, which comprises four stages:

1. Define
2. Disseminate
3. Implement
4. Measure

In other words, the steward should not only ensure that the standards are created and documented, but should also think through the approach for storing and distributing the standards to those working in digital. The steward should also communicate to digital workers and train them how to adopt the standards, as well as support the standards implementation process by helping individuals assess whether or not the standards are applicable to their digital project. Lastly, the steward should validate adoption and implementation of standards and provide regular reporting to digital leadership on how consistently the digital portfolio is published.

By ensuring that the entire standards lifecycle is followed—including digital worker training and enablement—your standards are more likely to be implemented, resulting in good digital quality.