Tips for new Intranet Managers

I've been in my current role for almost 2 years so I thought it was about time I sat down and write some "tips" for new Intranet Managers.

For those who know me you'll know that I wasn't always an Intranet Manager, my background is as a Library Professional and I'd worked in a number of organisations as an Information Professional before I realised my skills lay firmly at the technology door. That doesn't mean I'm not still an Information Professional of course.

So it's in that context that I present you with my top 5 tips for new Intranet managers.

  • Get to know your organisation - If you've worked in the same sector for a while you'll have a good understanding of how the company works, but nothing beats actually finding out how the organisation works, both in terms of it's organisation and structure but also its culture especially in relation to how the Intranet sits alongside other tools. For example what tools are already available and how are individuals using them.
  • Get to know your users - As well as understanding how the organisation works, you need to undertand how your users use the Intranet. What are some of the things they use regularly, what don't they like, what would they like to see improved. These are all important if you want your Intranet to be successful. User feedback can be gathered in a number of ways and that will be the subject of a seperate post.
  • Consult, consult, consult - In connection with the point above you need to speak to your users regularly about what you're developing on the Intranet and how it will impact their work. Intranet managers shouldn't be working in isolation and an Intranet definitely shouldn't be what they like. Intranet Managers should be providing an Intranet that is balanced in its approach and incorporates features and functionality that users have identified as being useful. Unfortunatelty an Intranet Manager is never going to please all the people all the time!
  • Plan carefully - Planning and project management skills are key requisites for Intranet Managers but sometimes it can be hard to remember exactly how many people you need to talk to before developing functionality on the Intranet. For example if you're looking at your people search you many need to talk to your IT Team (technical issues) your Marketing team (branding) your HR Team (Policy) and your Risk team for well Risk. Plan carefully any proposed development and you'll be fine.
  • Act like a duck - If you're a sensitive soul an Intranet Manager role may not be the best career choice. Intranets can be much maligned and discussed in quite negative ways so you should prepare yourself for comments that nobody reads the Intranet or "that exists on the Intranet" Act like a duck and you'll be fine!
[Photo credit -Blackboard ABC]