Embarking on a new intranet project can be daunting for an organisation no matter how big or small it is, but it doesn’t have to be. These top tips will not only help you to begin your project plan but will also keep you on track to launch and embed your new intranet into your organisation with minimal stress.
Before beginning any intranet project, it is crucial to begin with the user. By defining your audience and their specific needs for the intranet system, you will ensure a successful launch as well as an engaged workforce.
By getting people from different levels, and different roles in your organisation involved, you are building up a team of advocates and ambassadors who will happily spread the word about the benefits of the new intranet, and (if you get it right) they will feel ownership towards the system and will want to keep it fresh, relevant and informative for others.
With knowledge of past user experience and what it is your workforce require, you will be able to move through your ‘discovery phase’ with ease and a clear vision. This is an ideal time to include your workforce not only to ensure engagement, but also to make your team feel they are part of the journey.
Focus on a few key objectives for your intranet that can be referred to during the project and after launch. Objectives and analytics are different – your objectives should be strategic and based around behaviours and feelings rather than data.
Before the days of agile development, solutions such as intranets would be built to highly detailed, technical specification and needed multiple approval steps before being given the green light for launch. The biggest problem with this approach is it can take such a long time and when the users finally get to see the product, their requirements have changed, and a lot of money and time has been wasted. Now, the goal for software development is to get something live as quickly as possible with the very basic functionality that an audience would want. This is called an MVP or ‘minimal viable product’.
Beginning at launch of the intranet you work with the users to start to adapt your solution and add/remove features all in a live environment with real time user data. Some organisations find this approach a bit nerve wracking – especially when working with an external development agency because it’s difficult to lock down the cost and budget for a project. Although it can seem risky to go with this approach it’s proven to be worth the risk as you are truly putting users at the heart of your project and only make changes that is actually needed – in the longer term it’s much better for engagement and you end up with a system that you know works.
Intranets can become black holes of endless documents and old news that are no longer needed. When starting a new project, wipe the slate clean. You can spend time doing a very lengthy content audit process to review what you need to keep, refresh or delete from the current system. Alternatively, you can ask document owners to identify their top ten documents for their specific areas and only upload these to your new intranet. As long as the old documents and content can still be accessed, you can always transfer over anything that users identify and request.
A truly successful intranet continually evolves and changes. A mistake a lot of teams make when starting an intranet project is to think the launch phase as the end point. The intranet must be managed and reviewed on a timely basis way after launch. It’s important to make sure there is a support team in place for the initial “go live” phase in order to iron out all those pesky bugs, as well as offer training to users. Get the structure and operating model agreed before you go live to ensure a seamless transition.
At Silicon Reef, we are passionate about creating people-led solutions that fit best for each of our clients. We are extremely collaborative with clients’ teams in order to recommend options suited for each bespoke project.