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Intranet governance, especially social intranet governance, is tough. We believe intranet governance matters and that it is a crucial factor in the success or failure of an intranet implementation.
We help our ThoughtFarmer clients in their intranet roll-outs by doing a review of some basic governance topics, providing links to some great resources from folks like Martin White, James Robertson, Maish Nichani, and Toby Ward, and by asking a lot of questions. I’ve compiled some of the big questions that we find lead to important discussions when it comes to intranet governance and management. While long, it’s by no means an exhaustive list — as always, we appreciate hearing what questions you’ve found helpful in making your own intranet decision-making process that much better.
PROJECT VS PROGRAM
- Are you running an intranet project (new intranet, redesign of an intranet, re-launch) or a program (ongoing intranet operations, day to day initiatives)?
- Does your organization govern projects and programs differently?
- Have you thought about the difference between the two?
- If you’re running an intranet project, have you thought about how you will make the transition to program/operations once your project is complete?
- Who is your project/program sponsor(s)? Are they able to approve funding and resources?
- Is your project/program sponsor an individual or a group of individuals?
- Is your project/program sponsor, “the end of the line” or do you have a decision maker(s) that they report to?
- Who is the most senior-level person responsible for advocating for the usage of the intranet? What degree of influence and authority does this person have? Do you feel it’s enough, given your intranet strategy?
- Who establishes and maintains the governance structure?
- Who grants authority for governance?
- Does your organization have a larger entity that governs projects, portfolios, programs? Are you a part of that structure? How do you fit into their governance structure?
- Do you have an intranet strategy?
- Have you consulted others in the creation of the intranet strategy?
- Is your intranet strategy signed off?
- Do you know how to get your intranet strategy signed-off?
- Have you informed others about the contents of the intranet strategy?
- Do others (from Executive to front-line staff) understand how the intranet strategy will impact them?
- Who is responsible for making changes to the intranet strategy?
- How often do you get an opportunity to review your intranet strategy and ensure that it’s still effective and relevant?
- How are you helping others make day-to-day decisions around content and communications on the intranet that align with the strategy?
- Who is evaluating whether or not the intranet strategy is a success? How often does that happen? What kind of assurance mechanisms do you have included in your intranet strategy?
- Who is responsible for resolving conflicts, issues, and risks that occur around the intranet and its operations?
- Who keeps track of the progress made on the intranet?
- What’s the process for prioritizing intranet initiatives? Who decides on what’s next in the queue?
- Who is responsible for communicating the intranet’s success to the governance structure and the rest of the organization? How often does that happen?
- How is content decided upon? Do you have a set of intranet policies, procedures, and standards?
- What other organizational polices, procedures, and standards do you need to take into account for your intranet? Privacy? Security? IT? Brand/identity standards? Legal?
- How have you integrated the other policies with your intranet policy?
- Who is responsible for the information architecture and content strategy of your intranet?
- Who is able to author, edit, and publish content?
- Who is able to leave comments?
- Who is able to blog?
- Who is able to create different content types (calendars, blogs, surveys, discussion forums)?
- Who is able to remove, archive, or delete content from the intranet?
- How is the content strategy communicated to staff, so they understand what type of content to create?
- How are content standards upheld? Who is responsible for quality control of content on the intranet?
- Who is responsible for designing the communication strategy for your intranet?
- What different delivery channels within your intranet are being used for formal news-type content?
- Who are the different audiences that communications needs to reach within your organization? How are they different? What are their information and attention constraints?
- Does your organization have an explicit collaboration strategy? If yes, who is the owner of that strategy? What is your relationship with that owner? Are they a part of your governance structure?
- How does the intranet play a part in the collaboration strategy? If there are gaps, how could the intranet play a part in that strategy? What are the opportunities?
- Who is responsible for supporting teams and projects as they use the intranet to collaborate?
- Do you have pre-defined intranet spaces or collections of project templates and artifacts to assist teams in collaborating on the intranet?
- Does your intranet have a space where employees can share their “collaboration lessons learned” to help improve overall organizational collaboration practices?
- Where is your intranet hosted? Do you know who is responsible for its operations?
- What happens when there is an outage to your intranet?
- How do you deal with planned outages, upgrades, and scheduled maintenance?
- Who is responsible for the implementation of user accounts and security models within the rest of the organization?
- Does your intranet rely on a single user directory?
- Are you consulted about changes to that user directory and security model?
- What line-of-business applications (HR, financial, CRM, etc.) does your intranet need to integrate with?
- Do you know the business and technical owners of your organization’s line of business applications?
- Are you consulted or informed around decision-making for line of business applications?
- Do you share a common IT environment with internal applications?
- Do you share a common user interface design standard for internal web-based applications?
- Who is responsible for determining key performance indicators and measuring the success of the intranet?
- Who communicates the success throughout the different organizational groups?
- If your intranet is not meeting its goals, what is your decision making process around strategy, improvements, and changes?
Have any other favourite governance questions? Leave them in the comments below.