June 2008 Archives

At work, I have been looking at a redevelopment of the company's Intranets using Microsoft SharePoint. At the moment, the company have several SharePoint department and project sites scattered about and several static Intranets with out-of-date content. An Intranet-redevelopment project was conceived, but it was developed too quickly without much thought for growth.

The goal I am achieving is to create a one-stop shop for all content, which will be organised in such a way to promote use and to promote that content is easy to find. This can be achieved by having multiple and related links between related sections and a hierarchical structure. Some popular links can be discovered off of the main page and respective home pages for each department. Consistency across all areas is necessary.

With any project of this scale, it is important to get it right the first time. Once the site has been adopted by the community of users, change will be difficult. People do not like change. Change would hinder the ability for users to contribute to the content of the Intranet; too many major changes may also anger the community. The users are the key here; they will be the ones viewing and maintaining the content. (However, it is an idea to note that too many key stakeholders can hold up the project, so only choose a selected handful as the key contributors and do get ideas from a secondary group as people enjoy the feeling of contributing and many like the involvement; create an Intranet product owner who will make the ultimate decisions for this work and to ensure it is regularly maintained once the development is completed.)

Major changes and moving content around at a later date is also not recommended due to users bookmarking certain pages or content that they wish to revisit. Bookmarking important areas is inevitable, so a consistent hierarchy needs to be decided upon and agreed and developed.

With a company Intranet, it is important to get it right the first time to avoid issues later on.


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