New to SDL Tridion?

Here's how to get started with SDL Tridion. But then what?

We sometimes learn our tools and trade from others or in formal training. For software systems we have services, documentation, support, and community-contributed online information. What happens when you inherit some system, though? For example, maybe you've been assigned as the SDL Tridion contact for either business or technical issues and you're not sure where to start.

Well, here's my list to someone stepping into such a role.
  1. Review the official materials. Software purchases include a license agreement and support details as well as the original purchase order and any statements of work. This gives you the official agreement between the vendor (SDL in this case) and your company. This is part due diligence, but you might be surprised to find potential benefits in features that weren't implemented in "Phase 1."
  2. Read your documentation. It's worth tracking down a few important pieces including:
    • Functional Design (including the BluePrint diagram and design)
    • Technical Design
    • Architecture Design and related diagrams
  3. Reach out to colleagues. They'll have background on the project, the business goals, and any challenges or opportunities they fixed or are looking to solve next.
  4. Confirm with the stakeholder. Successful projects have executive sponsorship. Someone wanted and approved the system. In step 3 you might find a mix of feelings toward the system. For those wondering how/why it's different, first read this advice from former PS Principal-now-Product Manager Nuno Linhares. He points out, "Tridion IS different - and customers buy the software for those EXACT reasons that make it different."
  5. Contact the vendor. Like other vendors, SDL tries to remain competitive by offering features that are in demand today as well as by anticipating or even leading in the "Next Generation" of solutions. I've seen software changed not because it wasn't capable but because users didn't get it or they didn't bother checking with the vendor for better ways to use it. Or worse is when companies buy several versions of the same type of software (multiple analytics packages, dozens of ways to create PDFs, etc). Analyst Robert Rose points out "yes you can" speak with the vendor.
  6. Update your contact details for product support by submitting a ticket. (Tip: SDL is the company and SDL Tridion is the Web Content Management system)
  7. Get started with the community at SDL Tridion World. Ask for a Tridion World ommunity account, which is separate from the details for Support tickets.
Then really get started by learning what's needed in your new role. If you can get an overview or training, great! Maybe I'll see you on site. But be sure to confirm are you:
  • A (the) new developer for the platform?
  • Vendor contact, handling questions down to tickets with the vendor?
  • Serving a business or business analyst role
One final tip if you are part of the team managing the system:
I've taken for granted in setups where I was there from the start is I knew what we wanted to build. Coming into a new environment, you don't know what the challenges were or why a system was set up in a certain way. So you won't know what a specific field in Tridion does without checking simply because it depends on how the original team built it.
And that could be a surprise and possible opportunity for you with a change in "ownership" for something like Tridion. The forms, approach, architecture, and setup are meant to be managed as well as be flexible enough to meet your needs, back when it was first setup and now with you on board.

Welcome to the community, fellow Tridionaut. :-)

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