The most complex job in the world?

Pretty complex stuff  - Reproduced from Wikipedia
Two recent articles have discussed the increasingly complex and I would argue difficult role of the intranet manager.

The first of these on the ThoughtFarmer blog discusses why the intranet manager can be so complex and difficult. Before discussing this blog post you might be interested in reading my blog post on a similar subject called "Tips for new intranet managers" which ThoughtFarmer link to in their post - thanks guys :-)

Their post begins by discussing why the intranet manager role is so complex, followed by a look at some of the core skills required by intranet managers. This is a very comprehensive list of attributes and is well worth reviewing if you're considering moving into intranet management or have recently become responsible for managing an intranet.

The post then looks at how social intranets have made the intranet manager role even more complex, before suggesting three ways in which you can identify any weaknesses in your current skill set. This can be very useful to do and looking at the list of attributes I can see a couple of areas which I need to develop.

The second post called "Intranet manager: the most complex job in the world" was published by Samuel Dreissen on his blog Infoarch. In it Samuel reflects on how important intranets are and how this means it requires an individual with a significant number of skills to manage them. Samuel presents another very through lists of skills and attributes required by modern intranet managers and again looks at the ways in which intranet managers can develop their skills.

These are two very interesting and through posts, which look at the complex roles of intranet managers. So if you're new to intranet management or are considering a move into intranet management then these two blog posts are definitely worth reading.

Is there a future for SharePoint?

Many organisations are using SharePoint as either an intranet or as a collaboration tool, or in some cases as both. But with the increased focus on Office 365, does SharePoint have a sustainable future? This is the question asked by Sam Marshall in an excellent presentation on the Clearbox Consulting blog which I have embedded below.

This is a really interesting and thorough look at some of the factors that are influencing the adoption of SharePoint by organisations and the future of this product.

Dartford 10 miler 2014

Last Sunday I took part in the final Dartford 10 mile race. This isn't I race I've run recently, mostly because it has been cancelled or I've been involved in other events. This year I entered it thinking it would be useful training for the Brighton Marathon in April. Unfortunately the event was cancelled (as in  previous years) and re-arranged for the 21st of September.

The re-arranged race date suited me quite well, especially as it was starting at 0830, compared to most races which start at 1000. I actually wish more races started earlier, although I appreciate that people have to travel in to attend races, so it might not be the most popular move.

In addition to this being the first time I'd run this race in a few years it was also only my second race as a Gravesend Road Runner. I was very proud to don my blue top again and set off on the 10 mile route, along with 4 other Road Runners. Now this course is described as undulating, but I think it's fair to say that the route contains two fairly significant hills. The first of these is at around 2 miles and lasts for what feels like a very long time and just when you think it's over you swing right and the hill continues. Once this hill is finished the middle part of the race is really quite pleasant and you can definitely build up some speed and a very good rhythm. Unfortunately at 9 miles you hit another hill, which lasts pretty much until the finish, but I don't think this is as significant as the first one.

So on to my splits, now this was the second time I'd use my Garmin during a race, unfortunately I forgot to start it and didn't realise this until about 1/2 a mile in :-( But I'm still going to publish my splits because I think they show how the middle part of the race is much easier than the first.

Mile 1 - 7:22
Mile 2 - 7:24
Mile 3 - 7:53
Mile 4 - 8: 03
Mile 5 - 7:50
Mile 6 - 7:06
Mile 7 - 7:26
Mile 8 - 7:24
Mile 9 - 7:56
Mile 10 - 4:14

Taking all this into account and the fact that I was trying to mentally calculate my time as I was running I was delighted to finish the 10 miles in a time of 1:15:51 and finished 126 out of 393 runners. As it happens 1:15:51 matches my Previous Best for 10 miles, which was at the Canterbury 10 mile in 2012. I think this shows improvement...I think!

This was a very enjoyable race and one that I would certainly do again, if it was run again. This is why I think it's a real shame that this is the last year that this race is being held as it's a very well organised and marshalled race, with some excellent facilities at the start and finish. So it looks like my local "middle distance" race will now be the Dartford Half Marathon, which takes place in July of each year.

Intranet Now conference!

Last week I was fortunate enough to join 100 other intranet professionals at the first ever Intranet Now conference. This was a conference that had been organized within the space of four months by Wedge Black and Brian Lamb.

I was particularly excited about attending this conference because it would be my first "un-conference" this is a non-traditional conference in the sense that attendees create the agenda by suggesting sessions that they run themselves, with input from the other attendees. This and the fact that the morning sessions were a mixture of 20 minute Keynote sessions and 5 minute ignite style sessions gave the conference a real buzz that I haven't felt at another conference recently. This has been confirmed by the very positive feedback the conference has received in the days since.

This feedback includes two write up's from Martin White of Intranet Focus (linked below) and a write up by Gloria Lombardi of Simply Communicate (also linked below)

These are well worth reading to get a feel for some of the main conference themes and the issues that were discussed. Of the sessions that did take place, there were 3 that I particularly enjoyed. They are (in no particular order):
  • 7 things about intranets I learned the hard - Sam Marshall of Clearbox Consulting
  • Intranet Features you need right now - Sharon O'Dea
  • The future of work and the digital workplace - Jonathan Phillips
I've embedded these 3 presentations below so you can enjoy them as much as I did. In addition to these presentations, there are a number of the other presentations available on the Intranet Now conference website. Overall this was a fantastic conference, which I would highly recommend if you can when it runs next year.


What's in a name?

It seems like it has been a while since I posted anything about intranets, so I thought I'd write a post that
covered not one but two (almost) related topics. That topic is "names" and the reason I'm posting about names is because of two (unrelated) blog posts which I've read on this subject.

The first is a post on one of my favourite blogs the Intranetizen blog and is called "What does your intranet job title mean?" In it the authors ask the blog readers to complete a survey on what their job title is and their role and responsibilities. I would encourage you to complete this survey, but naturally only if you work with intranets or other internal communication tools! It will definitely be interesting to see what the range and scope of the job titles are when the Intranetizen team publish the survey results.

The other blog post is from the Intranet Connections blog and is called "Top 6 names for intranet software" in it the author looks at some of the other names organisations have given their intranets/intranet software. These range from; internal employee website to enterprise social network. I actually think some of the names listed in the blog posts aren't actually intranets, but I totally see the point the blog post is trying to make. That is that whilst intranets might have many different names they all do very similar things and irrespective of what you call it the aim of an intranet, enterprise social network or internal communication software will broadly be the same.

Dinosaur Deal 10k 2014

Yesterday I ran the Dinosaur Deal 10k, which you wont be surprised to learn took place in a very hot and windy Deal. This was the second time I had run this race, the first time was in 2010 when I was recovering from tearing the ligaments in my right foot, having fallen over on the final bend at the Darent Valley 10k.

There are also some other notable differences between this race and the last time that I ran it, they are in no particular order:

  • I'm 4 years older
  • I've completed two marathons since 2010
  • I've joined Gravesend Road Runners AC and was delighted to be wearing my club strip
  • I knew what the course was like, undulating but with a fast final 4K
  • Perhaps most importantly I wasn't injured
  • This was my first race wearing my Garmin Forerunner 110

So a bit about the course, before I tell you how I got on. This is described as an undulating course, starting near the Scout Hut on the sea front you head along the coast towards Dover before swinging inland after about 1.5K. The route then takes you through some quite pleasant residential areas before you hit the "difficult" part of the course from 3-6K. This is series of climbs of varying degrees of difficulty culminating in a short climb that sees you come back on yourself and down a hill to run the final 4K. The final 4K is a lovely stretch of running beside the seashore, although yesterday the wind was blowing directly into our faces for this part of the race, which wouldn't have helped our times. 

So how did I get on, well first of all I started far too fast and then suffered slightly during the tricky part of the course. I did however manage to make up some time and places in the final 4K and was delighted (although a bit disappointed at the same time) to clock 48:06. This was an improvement of 4 minutes on the last time I ran this race, which I'm very pleased with. This time saw me finish 162nd out of 442 runners. Overall a very well organised race and very pleasant route, although less inclines would be nice :)

I'll have to see if I can improve on this time at my next race the Faversham 10k, which I last ran in 2009 and clocked 46:10*

*Not sure I'll be beating this in September!

Creating a successful SharePoint intranet

Have you just decided that SharePoint is going to be your next intranet, but you're unsure where to start on the implementation process? Fear not as help is on hand in the shape of this excellent presentation from James Robertson.

In the presentation James looks at the approach organisations should take, not just when implementing a SharePoint, but any intranet. So this is an excellent resource for anyone just starting out on an intranet project.

One of the key points James makes and which resonates a lot with me is the following point:

  • The work isn’t over once the coding has been finished — launch and governance activities are equally important.

I think it's essential that this is well understood within organisations, so an intranet project is not just about developing a tool and then launching it. An intranet is an organic and developing resource and as such requires good governance to ensure it remains relevant to the org