I’ve been recently tasked at my work to work with our IT department in the development of a new intranet system for our school. The overall university has its own system but our school specifically has never had a place for our faculty, staff and students to access internal communications. The goal of the project is to have a place other than the external website (which I manage) for our community to communicate on.
Unfortunately, I was not involved in the beginning of this project process and therefore, this is how it started:
- Met with IT and discuss intranet needs/wants
- Communications/Marketing identifies what content the intranet should have
- IT shows examples of other intranets within the University, and the capabilities they can offer us (through the Lifery platform)
- Communications/Marketing starts populating content and building out widgets within the intranet
- IT looks at content and then develops a more consistent branded template, polishes layout
- Go live?
So, what’s wrong here? The answer is, A LOT. There was no real research done on the project beforehand. Neither side (or actor) within the project developed an actual process ahead of time and therefore many elements are being missed, and the user will not have the best experience possible.
Here is the new proposed process I would like to move forward with:
- Identify the problem – the school does not have a intranet system in place
- Identify team members to include in the planning process and develop a project committee (these individuals should also be future content managers for the intranet)
- Conduct a brainstorming phase
- Share a Mural board or send out a survey across the school to ask our community what they want/need
- Conduct an affinity session with the project committee
- Conduct research
- Meet with other schools and the health system who have or are working on their own intranet project
- Look on the internet for examples of intranet navigation and wireframes that will align with our intranet
- Meet with our web development company to see what they can offer with IT’s system for custom-coded widgets that will better align with our brand
- Identify intranet goals from the research and brainstorming phases
- Develop information architecture and navigation layout
- Create content development strategy and governance plan
- Conduct user experience testing
- Provide content management training for those who were identified as the project team members and content managers
- Phase 1 rollout plan
Obviously, within these steps there are many more details. My biggest goal is to make sure we launch an intranet that is user-friendly and provides our organization with what it is looking for in this type of system. Let’s hope with an improved process and a stronger focus on usability testing for our target users, this project will be a huge success! Of course, even after launching we will need to go in and analyze the data, and reassess the content, navigation, etc. As well know, a process and a system should continuously be analyzed and improved.