Your Intranet: If You Build It, Make SURE They Come

Ken-Hardin

Our Ann All reports that to really get behind a new corporate intranet, some executives have moved their popular blogs or other important info onto the new platform to encourage employees to get involved.

 

That's one tactic in what has proven to be one of the more challenging IT initiatives for a lot of companies. Intranets sound like a great idea-they can improve communication, increase productivity and provide visibility into everyday operations. But getting employees to actually use them requires building buy-in up front and, as any project manager will tell you, a lot of planning.

 

Our partners at PM community site gantthead.com have developed a 14-page Intranet Strategy Plan that covers all the bases when it comes to getting your company and team ready for an Intranet rollout. The document is available free to IT Business edge members here in the IT Downloads library.

 

The centerpiece of the report is the Methodology section, which includes 13 "rules of the road" to guide you in laying the groundwork for a successful Intranet project.

 

One rule, "Eat What You Cook," echoes the advice from Ann's blog about the importance of executives and other corporate leaders committing to use the tool. The plan does note that if you really want the higher-ups to use the intranet, you should ensure that the system makes some process easier or more lucrative for them from the get-go.


 

Other pearls of wisdom from the strategy plan:

 

Mix Up Your Staff: Be sure to include different perspectives and skills in your intranet project team. Pick members from a wide swath of the company and run demos for broad audiences in order to get feedback from as many people as possible.

 

Think Organizationally, Not Computationally: Select technologies based on goals and needs, not popularity with other organizations. "Everyone else has it," is a bad criteria for decision-making in general, and this is particularly true for intranet projects.

 

Prepare for the Intranet to Become Mission-Critical Fast: Do it right, and the intranet should be a hit from the day it rolls out. This means it must be maintained and upgraded as a production system from the moment it is launched. Change orders are great, but they will need to be processed in an orderly fashion.

 

The comprehensive plan goes on to lay out a vision statement outline and the key strategies of the sample projects in a benefits/enablers/inhibitors format. You will need to modify the Word document extensively for you own project's specifics, but the level of detail in this sample document will provide clear guidance and let you see how effective this approach can be in communicating the specifics of your project.

 

And, of course, since the document was prepared by project managers, you'll find plenty of cost-and-risk identification tables, like the one shown below.

 

 

If you are in the initial phases of an intranet project, be sure to check out our Intranet Development Project Guide. You'll find a complete walk-through of the planning, development and launch phases of your intranet initiative, along with more helpful IT Downloads to help get the job done.



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