Thursday, August 15, 2013

The #1 Intranet Problem That's Already Been Solved

Intranets are somehow not communicators' favorite project but they are critical to collaboration and communication among knowledge workers.

Today's opening keynote at Drupal4gov was a multi-year (2007-2010) case study with Jayson Peltzer, founder of U7 Solutions on building an intranet, based on his experience at the National Defence (sic) of Canada.

For the purpose of this post I'd like to highlight just one item from the extensive talk -- the #1 issue that keeps executives from sleeping at night and the one that, when resolved, allows the rest of the Intranet to flow:


Executive worry about:
  • Employees publishing unauthorized material about their functions.
  • Excessive socializing.
The core of the issue is this:
  • Executives want to control who says what. But the more barriers and censorship, the less engagement. "People need to believe they will be able to do the things they want, even though it's built by corporate."
  • To work, employees themselves must take ownership. This depends on the employees having control: "If you let people create it they will take ownership and make sure it's always up to date."
The way to solve the problem:
  • Passive content moderation: "Flag as inappropriate"
  • Published netiquette guidelines, & netiquette committee
  • Expiration date on old content, with warnings
The bottom line concept is:
  • "You have to trust your employees" BUT
  • Be ready for bad behavior, which "will happen, but not as often as you think." AND
  • "If it does happen, it's not the end of the world."
If you want to understand the process step-by-step, the full presentation and screencast with audio is available here and my notes with some audience edits are on Hackpad. It's well worth studying if you're working on an Intranet project.

* All opinions my own. No endorsement expressed or implied.