Can intranets "go bad"?

Is it possible for an intranet to bad? Yes definitely is the short answer. Understanding why is more difficult to answer, but one of the most common reasons for intranets going bad is that content becomes outdated and nobody takes responsibility for updating it.

This issue is discussed in the blog post "Why intranets go bad - set it and forget it" In the blog post the authors look at why intranet teams often spend a lot of time during an intranet upgrade ensuring content has an owner, but once an intranet has launched responsibility for content sections can often be neglected or forgotten.

The authors argue that whilst a decentralised published model might work initially, over time it will break down as individuals leave departments and with is responsibility for updating content. The answer the authors suggest is to put in place the idea of delegated ownership of intranet pages. Frpm the blog post:

"Delegated ownership differs from assigned ownership in that the responsibility is bestowed upon an individual or role temporarily but ultimately remains with a core group. Delegations can be open ended and long term but the ultimate responsibility still remains with the central authority. So when the person to whom the ownership has been delegated changes roles, goes on long-term leave or leaves the organization, authority automatically returns to the core team, who then decides who takes over. This central group is also responsible for ensuring adequate training and support are available"

Whilst this sounds like it might work, in practice it does mean that there is a lot of extra administration for the central intranet team and if that is just a team of one then this extra administration could quickly become very onerous. I'd be interested to hear what other people think?

This blog is just one in a series of four posts on "Why intranets go bad" on the non-linear thinking blog, the other posts, which are well worth reading, are: