So you bought an intranet, now what? This article is the first of a three part series providing tips on how to run a smooth and successful intranet project.
Launching your intranet can be a big challenge. Fortunately, we have some advice on how you can break your implementation project down into digestible steps.
Begin With Your Intranet Goals
Before you purchased your new intranet software, you and your team probably asked yourselves: why do we need a new intranet? The answer to this question is your overarching business objective. If you need a refresher, you can revisit our Determining Your Business Objectives blog post.
Turn Intranet Goals into Project Deliverables
Your intranet goals will answer the question: why? Your intranet project deliverables will answer the question: how? There are five questions we came up with that are loosely based off of an article called Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy, by Roger Martin and A.G. Lafley. These questions are designed to help you determine how you will achieve your project planning objectives.
- What are the goals or the objectives your team has set for your new intranet?
- What conditions are needed in order for you and your team to meet the objectives you have established for your intranet?
- What do I need to do to make these conditions come true?
- What can get in the way of these conditions becoming true?
- What is your plan to deal with, even anticipate these potential setbacks?
We will illustrate with a fictitious example for one intranet objective.
1. What are the goals or the objectives your team has set for your new intranet?
- Collaboration: Let’s say the primary goal for your intranet is to make it easier for geographically dispersed staff to collaborate.
2. What conditions are needed in order for you and your team to meet the objectives you have established for your intranet?
- Access: In order for dispersed staff to collaborate, first and foremost they will need access to the software. Different groups will need different security access to certain content.
- Adoption: Employees will need to embrace the new system and to change their current collaboration processes.
3. What do I need to do to make these conditions become true?
- Create user profiles: To get intranet access, employees will need user names and passwords. Depending on your organization, you may look at setting up Single-sign-on and Active Directory Sync.
- Set up team collaboration spaces: How will you organize team spaces and where will they live on the intranet? The intranet manager may want to complete an initial set up of all team spaces, or teach each team how to set up their own. Consider how you will manage security access to group content. Look at ways that you can move team processes onto the intranet, and if any customizations or integrations are required.
- Training: To get the most out of the collaborative features, staff will require training on how to use the software. Training should be provided to give staff direction on what kind of content is appropriate to share on your intranet.
- Onboarding: Finally, if a new team member is added, a process will need to be put in place to ensure they are added to correct groups and are trained on how to use the software.
4. What can get in the way of these conditions becoming true?
- Still using old systems: Old habits can be hard to break. Once the new intranet has been installed, employees may stick to communicating the same way they did before; whether that be through e-mails, shared folders, or other programs.
- Low adoption: Staff may be reluctant to share content and engage with the new intranet because they aren’t sure what is suitable to share with their colleagues.
- Competing priorities: Lack of resources is a big threat to any project. Projects can get side tracked, if there is no one to help with set up, or employees don’t have time for proper training.
5. What is your plan to deal with, even anticipate these potential setbacks?
- Migrate content and sunset old systems: Make a plan to address moving collaborative content onto your intranet. The intranet should be a source of truth for this type of content, so eliminating duplicates from old files folders and systems is important.
- Designate intranet champions: Creating a team of intranet champions from different departments in your company can help overcome the risks and uncertainties about how to use social software in the workplace. Having active users on your intranet will encourage others to participate while setting a good example on how it should be done. These champions should be the first to receive training and will be instrumental in your launch plan.
- Tie intranet launch to another business milestone: It can be strategic to launch your intranet platform at the same time as another major company event, like an anniversary or employee town hall. Hard deadlines and increased visibility can help ensure your project gets the resources it needs.
Intranet Project Checklist
Take your answers to questions three and five, and start an intranet project checklist. When we coach our clients through an intranet setup project, we always encourage them to create one. A well-designed checklist will get everyone on the same page and ensure no critical steps are missed. Here is a sample intranet project checklist, make sure to incorporate your answers from the five questions into your own checklist.
Your intranet project checklist should define the tasks and activities that will become part of your intranet implementation. The four key areas to consider are:
- Project leadership: Who is the intranet initiator and project manager? Is anyone from your senior team involved? If they aren’t, they should be.
- Content: What is going to be included in your intranet? What information are you going to leave out?
- Meeting and training logistics: How many people will need to be trained? Different users will require different levels of training. You should also take into account the locations of team members. If you have field staff, how will they receive the training they need?
- Launch planning: Who is coordinating the launch communications? How are you planning to launch your new intranet? Are you going to do a pilot session or a company wide launch?
Here is a sample checklist to help you get started.
An intranet is a great tool to facilitate communication among employees at all levels of your business and to promote collaboration in the workplace. The answers you have written down for the five questions we have provided will give you great insight into which activities you will need to plan for in your intranet project plan. The checklist is a great tool to ensure no critical steps are missed throughout your project implementation. With these tips you are well on your way to creating a successful intranet!
To find out how to build your implementation team, read Project Planning 101: Part Two. To skip ahead and find out how to schedule your project and create a timeline, read Project Planning 101: Part Three.