The phrase ‘trying to boil the ocean’ refers to tasks that are clearly and heroically impossible. This is exactly what most teams take on when they try to get every intranet page up to the same high standard.
In the earlier article titled Intranet authoring: a hobby?, the role of intranet authors was explored, highlighting that many are required to maintain their content ‘on the side’, with little training or support.
Most intranets struggle to deliver consistent, accurate, readable and valuable content. Despite this, the goal of many intranet teams remains to deliver universally ‘good’ content.
This briefing will discuss common approaches to improving content, focusing on those that have failed. Suggestions will then be made on ways to target efforts for best effect.
Failed: content cleanups
Many teams attempt a content cleanup on a regular basis, perhaps every year or two. These involve reviewing most sections of the site, and the content contained within.
These reviews are looking for ROT (redundant, outdated or trivial), generating ‘hit lists’ of content that can be removed.
While these very easily remove hundreds or thousands of pages, the long term impact is negligible. As fast as content is reviewed by the central team, more is published by decentralised authors.
The process drains the energy of the intranet team, and often frustrates content owners. Even after a major cleanup, the intranet rapidly accumulates more content problems, and reverts to its previous state.
[CM Briefing 2008-06, read the full article]