United Nations Development Programme
the Management of
Annex 1: Definitions, Categories and
Annex 2: Workflow Steps
Annex 3: Rationale for the Decision
shifts from information to content management to address the need for quality
control of the organization’s information production and its distribution
or revised administrative procedures for the production and revision of UNDP’s prescriptive content are developed and
The Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Management (BOM), in
close consultation with the Internal Communications Services (ICS) Team, shall
be responsible for the development and implementation of standard global
procedures for the management of prescriptive content, including quality
control standards, workflow and governance mechanisms, that can increase
consistency, reduce redundancy, facilitate access to content, and support the
creation of information that will add value to UNDP operations.
The key principles that shall govern the development of
these procedures are as follows:
content sets the parameters and provides instructions for staff members about
how to do their jobs (see definitions and categories in annex 1). This content must be presented in
a manner that is systematic, unambiguous and up to date. Its substance must be
internally coherent and consistent with higher regulations, rules and policies.
To be effective, prescriptive content must also be realistic and feasible in
its application, that is, it must be user-friendly and be supported by examples
of best practices from various work contexts. This content must reach all staff
members who use it in a comprehensive, accessible and timely manner.
procedures shall take into account the current implementation of the PeopleSoft
ERP solution and the ongoing development of the corporate portal. The
procedures shall also provide clear provisions related to version control,
security, and integrity of electronic documents to ensure that past
prescriptive content can be retained electronically for archiving.
and responsibilities in the content management process, including publication,
revision and deletion of prescriptive content shall be established.
procedures shall define clear provisions to institutionalize responsive review
and approval processes for changes in policies and business processes over
time, using the Management Practice Network (MPN) as primary mechanism. In line
with this concept, the procedures shall also establish a framework under which
users could submit proposals for changes in policies and procedures through the
MPN for possible consideration by the unit responsible for drafting or revising
provisions must be established for prescriptive content. These provisions shall
mandate regular review and revision of prescriptive documents to ensure their
continuing currency and relevance. A sunset provision shall result in the
suspension of content from the portal if a mandatory review has not been
undertaken as scheduled.
establishment of permanent governance mechanisms for prescriptive content and
due to the urgency to address immediate needs related to the PeopleSoft ERP implementation,
the Executive Team has decided to appoint temporarily the Assistant
Administrator, BOM, as the focal point for making decisions in regard to the
correctness and appropriateness of prescriptive content from the perspective of
the organization. At the discretion of the Assistant Administrator, BOM,
decisions on complex issues will be brought to the attention of the Executive
Team for final resolution.
the Assistant Administrator, BOM, a small group will be established and charged
with the task of initiating the process. More specifically, this group will:
Prepare a matrix for content management, taking stock
of existing initiatives and mapping out the status of all manuals (March 2003)
Develop TOR and appoint Prescriptive Content Managers
for each responsible unit (March 2003).
Develop Guidelines for Prescriptive Content Migration
Identify “problem areas” related to content overlap and
responsibilities, and elaborate proposals to address them (May 2003).
Formulate a draft of the above-mentioned procedures, as
well as a standard workflow for development and revision of prescriptive
documents, including, for each subject area, the responsible unit, the
competent body and the approver (June 2003). In the interim, the generic
workflow steps described in Annex 2 will take effect immediately.
Formulate a proposal for consideration by the Executive
Team on the establishment of permanent governance mechanisms for prescriptive
content, and the composition of a new competent body (Approval expected in
Content Clean Up. There is an immediate need to
integrate all revisions and updates of prescriptive text and other housekeeping
revisions into a single text on the portal. All units producing prescriptive
content shall communicate to the Assistant Administrator, BOM, the current
status of the content they manage, and plans for update, starting with UNDP’s
existing core manuals. A questionnaire with the above matrix will be circulated
shortly in this respect. There is also an immediate need to store all UNDP
prescriptive content in one location, and discontinue the current practice of
having such documents on various Intranets. The Portal shall be the single
repository of UNDP prescriptive content and a rapid migration of baseline
documentation shall take place following the issuance of the policy, and based
on the Guidelines for Prescriptive Content Migration mentioned above.
and ERP preparation. After content clean up, the next challenge is
simplification of prescriptive content. Simplification, as an element of the
overall re-engineering of UNDP business processes, will require a much greater
commitment of time and energy. The mass of existing prescriptive content falls
into two categories: 1) prescriptive content that will be directly affected by
policy and process changes from the PeopleSoft ERP system and 2) prescriptive
content that will not be affected by the ERP. Consequently, the first task
confronting the units responsible for prescriptive content is to determine
which content will be subsumed by and which will remain outside the PeopleSoft
Prescriptive Content. The
PeopleSoft ERP system will drive simplification and rationalization of all
business processes and related prescriptive content that the system addresses.
Units that produce prescriptive content should prepare for the ERP by using the
flow-charts of new business processes, identifying related information, and by
reviewing any checklist of needs presented by the ERP tracks’ core teams.
Prescriptive Content. While
preparing for the ERP, the concerned authorities should focus immediate
attention on the opportunities to clean up and simplify prescriptive content
that will not be covered by the ERP. Such content should be subjected to the
same rigorous review outlined in Annex 2.
The WITs Team shall provide in due course to all units concerned
additional guidance and information related to ERP prescriptive content.
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Annex 1: Definitions, Categories and
and Content Management: Content is broadly defined as data, documents, multimedia resources,
and other forms of codified knowledge. Viewed through a knowledge management
lens, people and shared experience can also be viewed as “content”. Content
management refers to the range of strategies, policies, tools, and resources
mobilized to effectively assess, organize and exploit internally produced
information resources. Content management is collaborative, involving everyone
within the organization who produces or consumes information.
UNDP utilizes three main categories of content:
provides frameworks and instructions for the implementation of UNDP programme
and operations functions (e.g. rules, regulations, policies, procedures)
Descriptive – informative
content related to UNDP and its activities (e.g. news, statements, directory
knowledge generated by the organisation
reports, evaluations, experience and knowledge network discussions)
shall be separated into two large types: 1) legislation and policy statements,
and 2) administrative procedures for business processes.
Legislation and Policy Statements
Legislation includes the resolutions of superior UN bodies, UNDP Executive Board
decisions, and rules and regulations that are legally binding on all UNDP
Policy statements include the Administrator’s Business Plan, Administrator’s Directives,
and UNDP Policies approved by the Senior Management Team or the Executive Team.
“Administrator’s Directives” is a new category of prescriptive
documentation. Directives issued
by the Administrator are typically instructions for the implementation of the
business plan or other policies. The
Office of the Administrator needs to ensure that such directives are issued and
classified as discrete documents and not mixed in with other communications of
the Administrator as is the case at present.
Policies are strategically important plans or prescriptions for organizational
behavior that have been officially agreed by the organization’s policy-making
authorities (the Executive Board, the Administrator, the Senior Management Team
and the Executive Team). Policies in general have relatively long-term
stability in comparison to procedures.
Administrative Procedures for UNDP Business Processes
UNDP’s business processes are systems for carrying out the organization’s
basic functions, such as, programming, project cycle management, personnel
recruitment and management, procurement, and financial management. The sub-headings in the framework correspond
to sections in the UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules that specify the
approving authorities for administrative procedures in the various business
Administrative procedures, in contrast to policies, are lower level,
standardized methods or practices, usually in a sequence, for doing work. Adherence to administrative procedures is
mandatory. In the dynamic work
environment in which UNDP functions, there are frequent needs to review and
revise administrative procedures.
from the taxonomy above is the term “guidelines” which has typically been used
in UNDP to mean temporary or non-binding procedures. This usage is not helpful
and should be discontinued for prescriptive content purpose. The term
“guidelines”, to serve as practical guides including best practices, could
still be considered, but would then fall under Substantive content.
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Annex 2: Workflow Steps
Draft or Revision of Prescriptive Content. The responsible unit will take the lead in
drafting or revising prescriptive content. Responsibility is defined rather in
terms of facilitation of content production than “ownership” over content. It
suggests a participatory process with users which can be facilitated by an
appointed Prescriptive Content Manager within the unit. Drafts of new
prescriptive content or revisions of existing content may be prepared by staff,
networked teams, or consultants. Users should also be encouraged to submit
proposals for changes in policies and procedures through the MPN. In this case,
the MPN Moderator should alert the Prescriptive Content Manager of these
proposed changes for inclusion in new or revised text if relevant. New and
existing content should be prepared or converted into html from other formats
(in most cases, MS Word using a standard template). Draft and revised content
should be published to the portal with access limited to designated users while
the text is being developed and reviewed. Drafts of new content or substantive
changes should progress through all of the remaining steps in the workflow
Content Clean Up. In the present context, content clean up
refers to the integration of all revisions and updates of
prescriptive text and other housekeeping revisions into a single text on the
portal. Content clean up and publishing of integrated prescriptive content
on the portal is an immediate need. However, the backlog of revisions that need
to be integrated in basic text is very large, so a serious level of effort in
all units is necessary. All previous revisions of prescriptive content that
have not been incorporated into main texts should be duly incorporated at this
time. In other words, all revisions previously issued as circulars or other
communications should be integrated into the relevant main text. After this
integration is done, these circulars will become redundant and shall be removed
from the portal and the Intranet. Such revisions and other minor revisions or
editorial changes may be approved and published on the portal in accordance
with the procedures set out below beginning from step 7. On the long term, once
this major exercise is completed, content clean up shall refer to archival of
old content, links updates and modifications required on specific parts of
other content components as a result of new text being introduced.
Testing with Practitioners. New prescriptive content needs to be tested
with users for clarity, consistency and the feasibility of its practical
application. The frequent lack of sufficient user testing has often resulted in
the introduction of unworkable or unduly burdensome systems and
procedures. The experience of the
Management Practice Network (MPN) clearly illustrates that UNDP’s global staff
members can provide critical and timely input on proposed systems and
procedures. All new prescriptive content and any major revisions should be
reviewed by MPN subscribers in accordance with the discussion methodology that has
been established for that practice network.
Revision. On the basis of the review of the new content with practitioners,
the drafters should revise the text. If the revisions are major, another round
of testing with practitioners may be indicated.
Comments. After it has
been reviewed and revised, the draft text should be submitted to a competent
body for further comments. The competent body or its members polled
individually will be required to comment within a reasonable period of time,
say, two weeks. The comments of this body (or the lack of comments) will be
conveyed to the relevant authority for consideration in his/her decision
regarding the draft text (as indicated in the above section on Transitional Arrangements, the competent
body will temporarily be the Assistant Administrator, BOM, pending the
establishment of permanent governance mechanisms).
Final Revision. The relevant approving authority
will decide whether to modify the proposed text in accordance with the advice
of the competent body or his/her own counsel. The ICS Team will edit the text
for style, and in consultation with the relevant approving authority, will
decide about the need for translation in French and/or Spanish.
Approval. The relevant approving authority will decide whether to approve
or reject the proposed text.
Issuance. This step consists of three elements: preparation of the approved
text for publication, announcement and publication to the portal. Prior to
issuance of approved prescriptive content, the text must be converted to portal
templates and reviewed for consistency with the portal taxonomy. On completion
of these preparations, the approving authority will instruct the Internal
Communications Services Team to announce new prescriptive content, or that
changes have been made to specified prescriptive content, the effective date of
the changes, and the portal address of the new content. This announcement will
not include substantive content or the text of the changes. This announcement
will be issued in lieu of any “circular” via email broadcast and will expire in
60 days. Finally, the relevant authority will instruct his/her unit’s content
manager to publish the approved version of the new text on the portal for
general access, replacing any old text as required, so that only currently
valid prescriptive content remains. Old versions of prescriptive content should
be retained for archiving.
Maintenance and Mandatory Review. All
content posted to the portal will include standard metadata providing
information about the document as well as the date for a mandatory review of
the content. The relevant approving
authority will establish the date for mandatory review. Following the mandatory
review, if no changes are proposed, the approving authorities must re-authorize
the existing content for a new period of validity. (UN legislation and rules,
Executive Board decisions, and the Financial Regulations and Rules would be
exempted from this re-authorization requirement.). A round of testing with
practitioners will be required if the proposed changes are significant. A
sunset provision shall result in the suspension of content from the portal if a
mandatory review has not been undertaken as scheduled.
The following arguments are presented to support this policy
Essential for implementation of the Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy.
The UNDP ICT Strategy (January 2002) facilitates UNDP’s transition to a
decentralized, networked, information-based organization. The success of business process reengineering
efforts associated with simplification, harmonisation and the implementation of
PeopleSoft will be highly dependent on the effective and timely updating and
dissemination of UNDP’s prescriptive content.
Need to rationalize the dissemination of Information on
Changes in Prescriptive Content.
There are two main governance problems in regard to the dissemination of
information about changes in prescriptive content, the use of circulars and the
direct issuance of instructions by senior management. The standard method for
communication of changes in prescriptive content has been the issuance of a
circular. Overtime, the accumulation of changes made in circulars has created its
own set of problems: even though the circular collections are maintained on the
Intranet, the information is fragmented and hard to find. Users are forced to find and cross check
information. Circular content often remains in circular format and does not get
integrated into the relevant main text of procedure
so the user can understand it in context. Senior management has increasingly
avoided the issuance of circulars in regard to changes in key policies and
procedures and has issued direct instructions to staff. While it is certainly
within the authority of senior managers to issue such instructions, issuance in
this non-standard format does not guarantee systematic coverage and does not
provide sufficient impetus for revision of the underlying texts that staff
members rely on. The opportunity now exists for immediate online amendment of
procedures on the portal. This use of the portal would ensure comprehensive and
timely distribution of procedural changes that would be immediately integrated
into the main body of UNDP’s prescriptive content.
Standardization of Prescriptive Content Format and
De-cluttering of Manuals. At present, much prescriptive content is
presented in the form of manuals.
However, to be useful, manageable, and searchable, the content related
to a business function must be divided into discrete chunks or components. A
virtual manual will require the establishment of context for each component of
prescriptive content. There is
therefore a need to develop standard templates for Content authors and editors
so that context information and metadata can be incorporated into the
presentation of each content component.
Need to establish responsibility for the Maintenance of
Prescriptive Content. Maintenance of
prescriptive content, that is, keeping it up to date and user friendly, is a
major problem in UNDP. The results of
weak maintenance practices are manifest on the Intranet in the form of clutter,
difficult navigation, and content that is often obsolete, redundant or
confusing. Staff members are forced to
waste time and energy trying to figure out how to do their jobs and the
available content often does not provide useful answers to their questions.
While legislation issued by superior UN bodies is not subject to review, all
other UNDP prescriptive documents should be periodically reviewed and
updated. Mandatory reviews of
prescriptive documents need to be incorporated into the work plans of approving
authorities and the units responsible for maintenance of these documents.
Content Governance. Content management implies a need for
governance (i.e. decision-making) in regard to the correctness and
appropriateness of content. There
is a pressing need to establish the content management function at the level of
units currently responsible for producing and maintaining specified
content. The Unit Content Manager could perform the
first level of governance by ensuring that content is clear, complete, up to
date and accurate from the perspective of their unit. This role should
be institutionalized in the job descriptions and performance appraisals of unit
staff. There is a further pressing need for a governance mechanism above the
level of individual headquarters units to provide leadership in regard to the
coherence and consistency of UNDP’s content, in other words, perform a systems
integration function, as well as to resolve content issues between units.
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