Filed under: Intranets
It’s nice to be involved at the start of a brand new intranet, rather than improving (or fixing!) an existing intranet, which is the norm. It’s also a fairly small (120 person) public-sector agency, so big-scale or complex methodologies are out.
To help the project team think about the approach, I sketched out the following diagram:
The fundamental idea is this:
We start with a vague idea: “hey, let’s have an intranet!”. With no clear picture of what that means, our goal is now to “funnel” down to a concrete project plan. At each step, our activities should refine down what we are doing (and why).
If it doesn’t help us to work out what we’re going to launch, chances are we don’t need to do it. Earlier activities will be needed to answer some questions, which helps to work out the sequence of steps.
To help show how this works, I’ve included a simplified set of activities in the diagram:
- We start by creating a vision for the intranet, defining the key brand and characteristics for the site (read more here). The brand is pretty “fluffy” at this point, but it’s a start.
- Researching staff needs then uncovers hundreds of ideas, opportunities and points of pain. We focus our research on the key areas identified in the brand statement.
- At some point, we’ll need to make some technology decisions about the intranet, such as whether to run the site using a content management system or collaborative tool.
- We then use the 6×2 methodology to refine down to a draft scope for the initial intranet, based on criteria and constraints. Now we’re getting very close.
- All that needs to be done now is to assess and refine the plan, making sure the proposed activities and functionality are practical.
- The net result of this “funnelling down” is a concrete project plan, listing exactly what the initial intranet will do, and how it will be developed.
- The implementation phase should then be pretty straightforward. While there are always a few hickups, having a concrete plan should mitigate most of the issues.
- We go live! Time to celebrate, break out the champaign, and start planning for the next six month release.
The actual activities and their order don’t really matter in the context of this discussion. They can be swapped around as needed, and there are many other individual steps to be included.
Instead, focus on the funnelling process. We want to get to a concrete project plan as quickly as possible, and then get stuck into implementation. Six months later, it should be live.
The first cut of a brand new intranet doesn’t need to be big or feature-complete, and we don’t have the luxury of an 18 month project plan. It’s more important to get it up sooner, build interest and enthusiasm, and show the organisation what an intranet can (and should) do.
Following the 6×2 methodology, new features are released every six months, giving a sustainable and manageable growth model. As the site grows, the authoring model can be refined stronger, and governance and management can be established.
I’ll post more on some of the specific steps in future posts.