The title for the talk was
I'm sad that one quote I really wanted to get into the talk was from James Robertson who when I got my job said
The "I don’t want to learn anything new" intranet — a SharePoint intranet for 21 to 75 year olds
Now in large part I got the job I have thanks to James and his then team Catherine and Cairo. So this post is a thanks to them, and an a little dig at James in that I did achieve something.James: Congratulations. I'll be really surprised if you can achieve anything.
Dorje: Thanks, but why ?
James: You got a job at a university. But you do have one thing going for you . . . . . it's a small university.
I'll share the slides via SlideShare. The blog is to provide some background to some of the slides and provide a way for those in the session to ask questions when it suits them. So please post your questions.
[if you've got two screens I wrote this going through the slides consecutively, so having them open while you follow along through the blog will probably work best]
Most of us don't get to have a green fields intranet to develop, we're working on improving or replacing an existing one. A key task that seems to take many intranet teams a long time is sizing up what already exists, the content audit. These two tools helped us do this quickly i.e. less than 1/2 a day and easily.
It also has a nice little HTML report showing you the menu structure of your site.
- Senior sponsors tell you what needs to be delivered
- Users of the intranet provide you with information about where they need help
References - Patrick Walsh | Gerry Gaffney | James Robertson
The great thing about going out and sitting and talking with your users is that you build trust, which is really useful during the roll out phase, and you learn the foibles that trip you up if you haven't done them. In our case staff name lengths could have made our home page Staff introduction feature difficult, but we found out early on and could incorporate the reality into the final design.
- New home page
- News article tool to provide central repository for news items, support for faculty department newsletter editors, cross over of content from one faculty to another
- White pages first cut ; updateable, searchable, groupable, printable information from active directory View of individual provides “update” link which opens an email.
- Like and Comment
- Required page types, templates, intranet master pages on which all else hangs BaseTemplate.aspx (default), PlaceHolderTemplate.aspx, SearchTemplate.aspx, Intranet master page Including defined meta data values, specified by Lincoln University, in line with records keeping requirements Display user who last edited the page next to date page last edited in DD/MMM/YYYY format.
- Top mega menu
- Calendar tool which replaces the ASP system already in place.
- Buy sell information exchange
- Staff introduction random for home page
- RSS dynamic content control
- Generic way to display on home page information specific to the viewing user. Information may come from leave, HR, payments, or other operational systems.
- Multicolumn page types and templates
- Web form development, replacing existing paper forms and processes
- Short name for the functional item
- Business requirements
- Business context
- Tangible benefits
- Intangible benefits
- Success factors
- Scope and Limitations
- Design considerations
- Users and user roles
- Functional elements and detail
- The first was the earthquake of September 2010, which was centred just around where I work. As most staff live nearby and many were impacted the project team worked on supporting essential services rather than the project.
- The second was the earthquake of February 22st 2011. Physically my workplace was up and running within a week, but emotionally staff and students needed more time. Again the project team focused on their families, then their communities, then at work on providing essential services where staff vacancies were common due to the, then and continuing overhead of managing the paperwork associated with major disasters.
- The third setback was the disintegration of the consulting firm doing key aspects of the SharePoint 2010 intranet project on our first project day.
We were realistic with the level of completeness or detail we did things. Full blown microsoft project plans were what we needed to instil confidence with the senior management team, but once the project started they were too heavy weight for he workload undertaken so a single page project plan was implemented. Needless to say the mind map project plan just didn't fly with anyone other than me.
We visualised data in a way that instilled confidence. Just like your users you should spend time getting to understand your senior sponsors and those they deal with. Because we did this we came up with a single graph which conveyed all they needed to know if our project finances were getting out of control.
Following the same tenants we used a variation of agile development methodology that incorporated aspects of scrum. All our project team sat in one room, all our tasks were postit notes on a white board. As a task came up it was put in the TODO column, then moved into a person's box in the centre of the board while they were working on it. Once done the postit was moved into the DONE section. Problems and blockages were addressed every morning, prioritised and worked through before new problems.
The first 10 of our functional items were delivered by our go live date
AND we didn't compromise on our rollout strategy to get them done, we still had time to go out and spend with key users, give talks, provide training and give away a chocolate fish to the person who's suggestion for the intranet's name was used.
We allow any staff member to add a news item or comment or like it, using SharePoint 2010's social features. In the same way that no one stands up during an organisational meeting and tells the CEO the're an idiot we get no inappropriate use of these tools because staff names, and photos attend every comment, like and news item they add.
Existing tasks staff do we've exposed via our mega menus, above the supporting reference material. Thus indicating to staff that ours is a "digital workplace where we expect you to do things". This lead to a number of existing tools being removed and updated. Their previous location meant they were hidden from staff and had become outdated. Moving to the new intranet, and focusing on tasks, meant outdated and poor quality processes and tools became exposed. This in turn facilitated or precipitated their being removed or updated.
This theme of poor quality data facilitating change continued, and through other projects is ongoing.
One of the senior management team requirements was an updated whitepages. When I started in 2009 the most recent phone list was a PDF from 2007.
We decided that SharePoint as a user interface for stafTo do f to edit their Active Directory properties e.g. title, manager, phone etc was the right way to go. We married this with Forefront Identity Manager (a multi system synch engine) to provide the business logic and we now have the tools to allow staff to update almost any field associated with themselves and get it back into our other systems.
Because of the senior management directive about updated information we went to the source of this information, secretaries and admins sitting with actual staff. Our large spreadsheets we pumped back into sharepoint and active directory. So that on go live we had the most up to date information possible. And staff using SharePoint had a way of keeping this information up to date.
In going through this process we found that some information about staff, traditionally owned by one part of the organisation, wasn't up to date because they weren't resourced to maintain that information. With some robust discussion this project facilitated a cultural change by
- showing the information was out of date
- updating the information
- providing a way for it to be kept up to date
Now most organisations just ARE NOT going to let everyone change their own title. We let people do it without any approval. Changes are audited, and staff do review the "live" white pages for incorrect titles. So far only one person has changed their title to Vice-chancellor, and changed it very quickly once they realised everyone else could see it. Visibility of the change and who did it seem to be the keys that have allowed our situation to work. We're now looking at how we could allow any staff member to change their manager field without approval.
Another way in which we've seen exposing poor quality data resulting in improvement is with staff photos. We didn't have high quality photos for all staff, but we did have about 90% coverage of staff with a photo. So we used the poor quality ones. Everywhere on the intranet that someone does something their photo is displayed. The buy sell swap section of the intranet is where we get the most complaints
- "Please remove my photo"
- "I don't like my photo"
Our staff member intro on the home page is building a sense of us as an organisation rather than me as a member of my department. It is also great for finding out the name of the person who says hello every morning in the carpark.
We display, name, title, photo and if we have it the staff member's interests. Each interest is a link which takes you to a list of other staff with that interest.
We've seen clusters of staff filling out their interests as they're prompted by their friends who know what they're into.
Our plan is to then translate this knowledge of how to update your profile interests, into staff updating the projects they've worked on and the skills they have.
One of the key premises of our intranet is "finding the right person faster". This information scent is key to facilitating this over time.
SummaryDo your needs analysis (even if your project is finished).
Spend time and effort buying in and or developing a great team to work with AND to work for.
Communicate appropriately to your stakeholders, sponsors, users, and team.
- in senior management speak, for them
- in benefits and changes for users
- in actions and takss for the team
So make sure your project has a needs analysis phase and a rollout/adoption phase. The only thing you should alter is the number of functional items you deliver.
DO not compromise on the analysis and adoption aspects of any project!And finally remember exposing poor quality data can help you get control of the data you need for success.