Hey! The second draft is right here.
I’m planning the launch of our new intranet. I need to engage hundreds of people, perhaps thousands, to get them to see the intranet as a work tool, not as a company news channel. I’m slowly going to make everyone able to publish stuff – and of course our people are not writers or web workers – the intranet isn’t their passion as it is mine.
I say “I” when of course it’s a massive IT project with dozens of stakeholders, but I’m the intranet manager so it falls to me to put voice to many a matter.
Here’s my draft manifesto, to guide everyone who writes, publishes, comments, blogs, uploads or interacts with our new intranet system. Can you help me smooth it out? I haven’t edited this; I’ll come back to it over the days and weeks, but this really is a first draft straight from my brain-fingers into the computer.
Intranet content proclamation resolution pronouncement manifesto
In comparison to the old version of the intranet, our new intranet provides powerful tools for sharing and publishing information and documentation. The old system was restricted to a few dozen people, and restrictive in how and what and where we published material. The new intranet system provides so many options for uploading, sharing and publishing material that there’s a risk that parts of the intranet could become a dumping ground – no better than a room full of unmarked boxed filled with paperwork from 1995.
We will not simply move outdated and unneeded data from the old intranet to the new. We will not simply continue with poor information management habits inside our new system. We will not accept ‘the way we’ve always done things’ as good enough in 2010 and beyond. We have new tools that bring new ways of working.
Our intranet, our online workspace, is for communication, content, collaboration and activity. It’s no longer a ‘broadcast’ medium but rather a conversation medium.
We will solve problems at our own level, and be responsible and accountable for our online actions. We will fix and improve content without relying on outmoded approval cycles, while adhering to agreed processes.
Everyone with access to the intranet will be able to publish / share some kind of material, and so we’re all publishers now. Therefore, whatever our access rights and publishing permission, every one of us will uphold the principles in this manifesto.
- We will always be responsible and accountable for what we as individuals write, share and publish.
- We will consider the lifetime of the information we share / publish. We know when and how to update and refresh the content we are responsible for.
- We will use version control mechanisms on documents so that people will know what version they’re reading.
- We will publish material to the appropriate audience; either simply to our team mates, our department, and when appropriate, to the whole Company.
- We will focus on keeping our intranet sections (departmental websites) wide and shallow – not deep. We will reduce the number of clicks needed to get to our content.
- We will publish information where it is most obvious it should be – we will maintain pages that are outside of our departmental website if that’s what it takes to meet the expectations of our audience.
- We will link to other pages around the intranet and the Internet as appropriate at every opportunity. We will always help our readers move on to the next page or activity – we won’t assume everyone knows where to find the applications or documents mentioned…
- We will help our colleagues and managers reduce the number of documents they email around, and instead promote the sharing features of our intranet.
- We will learn from those people who write and publish interesting and well written / well laid out material, rather than simply copying and pasting paragraphs from Word into web pages.
- We will not publish material without checking it over for sense; we will not publish material without context; we will not assume that ‘everyone knows what we’re talking about’; we will not use acronyms without explaining them the first time in each article / document. We will not ask people to open the attached document when we could simply tell them everything in the web page.
- We will not publish transient news without updating it. We will not spend time publishing material that does not add value to the business and our colleagues’ work. We will not create ‘welcome pages’ – we will publish pages that immediately communicate details. We will not publish nine pages where eight will suffice.
- We will use descriptive page titles loaded with keywords that require no further context. The title says it all.
- We will not simply delete material, but rather ‘retire’ it. Other intranet pages may well link to our pages, and so total deletion is not the appropriate remedy for out of date material.
What do you think? Too prescriptive? Too draconion? Too untrusting? Too confusing?
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