Thinking about upgrading your intranet? Starting an intranet project can feel like navigating a complex maze, but with the right strategies, it can be a rewarding journey.

Intranet project management isn't just about ticking off tasks—it's about meticulous planning, understanding your users, embracing flexibility, and committing to continuous improvement.

Imagine an intranet that not only meets your current needs but evolves with your organisation, keeping everyone connected and productive.

By focusing on user-centred design, agile execution, and ongoing enhancements, you can create an intranet that truly supports your team's goals and grows with your business.

Let's explore the key elements that make this possible.

Planning an Intranet Project

Having a comprehensive intranet project plan template can be a lifesaver. It provides a structured format that covers all the critical aspects of the project. Here's what you need to consider.

Audit and Define Objectives

When planning an intranet project, it’s essential to start by auditing your current system and defining clear objectives.

It is no surprise that not doing the groundwork and understanding what is needed is a key reason for failed intranets.

This involves conducting stakeholder interviews and surveys to understand the requirements thoroughly.

You want to speak to various departments and get their input on what features and functionalities are essential and what improvements they expect. For example, the HR department might need better employee onboarding tools, while IT might require enhanced security features.

Over the first two weeks, you'll want to hold 3-4 workshops tailored to specific teams. These workshops should focus on finding detailed requirements and understanding the unique workflows and systems of each team.

This collaborative approach ensures that all perspectives are considered and integrated into the project's redesign plan.

Creating a Project Plan

Your intranet project plan should be comprehensive and detailed and should include:

  • Scope: Clearly define what the project will and will not cover otherwise you'll likely experience scope creep. For instance, will it include a new content management system, or is it focused solely on improving communication tools?
  • Timeline: Create a detailed timeline with specific milestones. For example, the first milestone could be completing the design phase, followed by development, testing, and deployment.
  • Budget: Outline the budget, including costs for software, hardware, personnel, and contingencies.
  • Resources: Identify the resources needed, including team members, technology, and third-party vendors.
  • Risk Management: List potential risks and mitigation strategies. For example, if there's a risk of project delays, plan for additional resources to be available if needed. 

Scope creep

Intranet Platform Requirements

Based off your audit, objectives and understanding of the needs of stakeholders, it time to ensure you choose an intranet platform that is best for your needs.

Choosing the Right Platform

Here are some key considerations to guide your selection process:

  • Ease of Use: A user-friendly platform encourages adoption and reduces the need for extensive training. Look for an intuitive interface that your team can easily navigate.
  • Customisation Options: Your intranet should be adaptable to your organisation’s unique requirements. Evaluate how easily the platform can be customised to include features and functionalities that are essential for your business.
  • Integration Capabilities: Consider how well the platform integrates with your existing tools and systems. Seamless integration with your current software, such as email, document management, and collaboration tools, can streamline workflows and enhance productivity.
  • Scalability: Choose a platform that can grow with your organisation. Whether you are a small business expecting rapid growth or a large enterprise with evolving needs, the platform should be able to scale accordingly.
  • Security Features: Ensure that the platform has robust security measures to protect sensitive information. This includes data encryption, access controls, and compliance with industry standards.
  • Support and Maintenance: Reliable customer support and regular maintenance updates are essential for long-term success. Assess the level of support provided by the vendor and the availability of resources such as user manuals, training sessions, and community forums.

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Importance of User Experience and Accessibility

The success of your intranet depends significantly on user experience (UX) and accessibility.

A well-designed intranet can boost user engagement, improve efficiency, and ensure that all employees can access and use it effectively.

Design Thinking in Intranet Development

Incorporating design thinking into your intranet development process is essential for creating a user-friendly and accessible platform.

Design thinking involves understanding the users' needs, ideating solutions, prototyping, and testing. This iterative process helps in creating an intranet that is intuitive and easy to navigate.

For instance, conducting user testing sessions with different departments can reveal pain points and usability issues. Use this feedback to make informed design decisions that enhance the overall user experience.

Ensure the design is clean, the intranet navigation is intuitive, and the content is easy to find.

Elcom Services - Design Wireframes

Role of Feedback in Shaping Design

User feedback is invaluable in shaping the design of your intranet. Consider conducting regular surveys and feedback sessions to gather insights on how users interact with the platform. 

Imagine a scenario where an intranet project team regularly collects feedback from employees throughout the development process. They use this feedback to make incremental improvements, such as enhancing accessibility features for visually impaired employees and streamlining the document upload process for the HR department. By the time the intranet is fully deployed, it already has high user satisfaction rates because it was built with direct input from its users.

By prioritising user experience and accessibility, you ensure that your intranet is not only functional but also a tool that employees will want to use. This leads to higher engagement, improved productivity, and a more connected workplace.

Intranet Project Execution and Deployment

The next critical stage is rolling out your strategy and plan.

Managing the Development Process

Effective oversight during the development phase is key to the success of your intranet project. Here are some strategies to ensure smooth management:

  • Regular Progress Meetings: Schedule consistent progress meetings with your development team to monitor progress, address issues, and make necessary adjustments. This keeps everyone aligned and ensures that the project stays on track.
  • Clear Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels among team members and stakeholders. Use tools like project management software, instant messaging, and video conferencing to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration.
  • Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. This helps in avoiding confusion and ensures accountability.
  • Milestone Tracking: Break down the project into manageable milestones and track progress against them. This helps in identifying any deviations from the plan early on and allows for timely corrective actions.
  • Risk Management: Identify potential risks early in the project and develop mitigation strategies. Regularly review and update the risk management plan as the project progresses.

Testing and Launching Your Intranet Solution

Testing is a critical phase in the development of your intranet.

Here’s how to approach it effectively:

  • Usability Testing: Conduct usability testing to ensure that the intranet is user-friendly and meets the needs of your employees. Involve representatives from different departments to test various features and provide feedback on their experiences.
  • Pilot Groups: Before a full-scale launch, deploy the intranet to a pilot group. This group should include a diverse mix of users who can provide valuable insights into the intranet’s functionality and performance in a real-world setting.
  • Comprehensive Training: Provide comprehensive training sessions for all users to familiarise them with the new intranet. Offer different formats such as in-person workshops, online tutorials, and user manuals to cater to various learning preferences.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Establish a feedback mechanism to collect user feedback post-launch. This will help in identifying any issues or areas for improvement and ensure that the intranet continues to meet user needs.

Intranet Platform Maintenance

Post-launch, maintaining your intranet platform is crucial for ensuring it remains effective and relevant. 

Essential Monitoring Tools

Here are some essential tools for tracking engagement and performance:

  • Analytics Tools: Implement analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Piwik, or built-in intranet analytics features to monitor user engagement and behaviour. Track metrics like page views, time spent on pages, and user interactions to understand how employees are using the intranet.
  • User Feedback Tools: Use tools like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, or built-in feedback forms to collect ongoing user feedback. Regular surveys and feedback forms can help you identify areas that need improvement and gather suggestions for new features.
  • Performance Monitoring Tools: Tools like New Relic or SolarWinds can help you monitor the performance of your intranet, including page load times, uptime, and server performance. Ensuring optimal performance is crucial for maintaining a positive user experience.
  • Content Management Tools: Use content management tools to track the effectiveness of the content on your intranet. Monitor which articles are most read, which resources are frequently accessed, and how often key documents are downloaded. This information can guide content updates and improvements.

Tips for Continuously Improving Your Intranet

Ongoing feedback and regular updates are integral to the success of your intranet.

Here are some tips for continuously improving your intranet:

  • Regular User Feedback: Continuously collect user feedback to stay informed about the needs and preferences of your employees. Create channels for ongoing feedback, such as suggestion boxes, periodic surveys, and focus groups. Act on this feedback to make meaningful improvements.
  • Frequent Updates and Feature Additions: Keep your intranet relevant by regularly updating content and adding new features. For example, you could introduce new collaboration tools, update the user interface for better usability, or add new sections based on user needs.
  • User Training and Support: Provide ongoing training and support to help employees make the most of the intranet. Offer regular training sessions, create user guides, and maintain a helpdesk to address any issues promptly.
  • Content Refresh: Regularly refresh the content on your intranet to keep it current and engaging. Update news sections, refresh old articles, and ensure that all resources and documents are up-to-date.
  • Monitor Usage Patterns: Use analytics to monitor usage patterns and identify areas where the intranet is underutilised. Investigate the reasons behind low engagement in these areas and make necessary changes to enhance their value.
  • Promote New Features: When new features or updates are introduced, actively promote them to ensure employees are aware and can benefit from them. Use internal newsletters, announcements, and training sessions to highlight these updates.
  • Review and Adjust Goals: Periodically review the goals and objectives of your intranet. As your organisation evolves, the intranet’s goals may need to be adjusted to align with new business strategies and priorities.

Conclusion

Intranet project management demands meticulous planning, user-centred design, agile execution, and continuous improvement.

Begin with thorough audits and clear objectives to ensure the intranet meets stakeholder needs. Embrace user-centred design by incorporating feedback and employing design thinking for an intuitive, accessible platform.

Agile methodologies enhance flexibility and efficiency, enabling swift adaptation to changes through iterative development and regular communication.

Continuous improvement, supported by essential monitoring tools, ensures the intranet remains relevant and effective. Regular updates, feature additions, and user training maintain the platform’s value. Investing in these strategies guarantees the intranet meets current and future needs, fostering a connected and productive workplace.

By prioritising these elements, organisations can create and sustain an intranet that supports their goals and enhances overall operations.

Need more help getting started with your intranet project? We recommend you read the free step-by-step guide 'How to Successfully Plan, Deploy & Launch an Intranet' for more detailed insights. 

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