So you’ve invested in 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 an intranet is a big challenge. Unlike other software applications, an intranet is not plug-and-play. It might work out of the box, but you cannot just set it up, and walk away. To be successful, your intranet requires commitment from every single user, and must relate to established business objectives.
Fortunately, we have some advice on how you can simplify your implementation project into three easy steps:
- Defining intranet goals
- Turning goals into project deliverables, and
- Creating a project checklist.
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 post: Building an Intranet Business Case: Identifying & defining the opportunity, where we help you identify the right goals and objectives.
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Turn intranet goals into project deliverables
If your intranet goals answer the question of why, then your intranet project deliverables will answer the question of 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. These questions are designed to 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 you 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?
Using this format, here is a fictitious example for one intranet objective:
1. What are the goals or the objectives your team has set for your new intranet?
Collaboration: The primary goal for the intranet is to make it easier for geographically dispersed employees to collaborate.
2. What conditions are needed 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: 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 and to encourage adoption, training is necessary. Training should provide direction on what kind of content is appropriate to share on your intranet.
Onboarding: Finally, if a new team member is added, there should be a process 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?
Legacy systems: Despite a shiny new tool, employees may resort to relying on communication through emails, shared folders, or other programs.
Low adoption: Employees may be reluctant to share content and engage with the new intranet because they aren’t sure how to use it, or how it will benefit them.
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 can’t commit to 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 legacy systems, and to move collaborative content onto your intranet. Your 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 can help overcome the risks and uncertainties about how to use the intranet. Having active users will encourage others to participate while setting a good example. 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 coincide your intranet launch with another major company event, like a town hall meeting.
Intranet project checklist
Take your answers to questions three and five, and start an intranet project checklist. A well-designed checklist will get everyone on the same page and ensure no critical steps are missed.
Your 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?
- Content: What is going to be included in your intranet? What information are you going to leave out?
- Meeting and training logistics: How many employees require training? Different users will require different levels of training. And, if you have remote employees, how will they receive training?
- 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:
Hopefully the above checklist as well as your answers to the five questions will uncover some insight into perfecting your intranet project plan.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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