10 Minute Intranet Manager

Insert job title here (in my case Operations Manager) – responsibilities include: never-ending list of challenging daily, weekly, monthly tasks to achieve and/or complete within tight deadlines while under pressure from COO, MD and organization owners to continue excelling and be willing and happy to accept every other task thrown at you (including many not under job spec – deep breath)…and then, of course there’s the all-important task of managing your intranet…

Sound familiar?

If so then like me you probably fit into the role of a ’10 minute Intranet Manager’. Sometimes I can snatch 10 minutes here and there throughout a day, adding up to over an hour, but whichever way you look at it, managing our beloved Interact Intranet is not my full-time job.

Finding a balance between managing your ‘usual’ workload and this new, very exciting tool can be tricky and daunting to begin with.

Here are 10 quick tips to help keep your intranet alive, fresh and user-friendly without it becoming an unmanageable task:

1) Widget wonder – get the settings right on your homepage widgets so they pull in fresh, exciting content whenever it is added without you needing to fiddle with anything.

2) The wow-factor – have something on your homepage that gives it instant wow-factor to prevent your users from growing bored of seeing the same thing, such as a free text widget for images or a gallery. We have a free text widget as the main feature on our homepage for images and breaking news announcements which I update at least once a week – linking it to other content elsewhere on the site. It takes me about 10 minutes to do and is an instant homepage refresher.

3) Hands-up everyone! – encourage feedback, suggestions and ideas from your colleagues for content and for ways of developing your intranet. People love being asked for ideas and sharing them. To make it even easier to manage, do so via a forum.

4) Draw in the troops – shouldering the responsibility of managing your site alone is overwhelming. Quickly identify your intranet fans and possible content authors and delegate easy tasks to them such as managing particular content areas, blogging, tagging other users into content relevant to them which they may not automatically see etc. It’s a good way of adding new content to your site with little effort required. Plus, people will feel flattered you ask them to be more involved.

5) Aim for the goal – it’s important to have a list of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals for your intranet – otherwise you’ll constantly feel disappointed that you’re not taking it to where you/your organization initially aimed for. Be realistic with what you can achieve and by when and refer back to this when you lose track.

6) Get resourceful – build up a pool of resources for use in your intranet and save them where they’re easy to find – icons, images etc., to beef out the media manager; links to sites you often get news stories from; documents you share via your intranet which are updated regularly in external programs – to name but a few.

7) Pinch of salt – try your best not to take criticism personally. I am my own worst enemy and think any small negative comment towards “my” beloved intranet is aimed directly at my work. Take criticism as an opportunity to improve.

8) Practise makes perfect – just like learning to ride a bike, managing your new intranet can take a little while to get used to at first and the wobbling can be scary, but once you’ve cracked it, you’ll be off like a jet-plane! I get told to slow down regularly when pinging my way around our site showing colleagues the where, hows and whys. You’ll be surprised at how skilled you can become in a relatively short period of time even though your time is restricted. What takes you half an hour to complete to begin with will take you less than 10 in no time.

9) You’re not alone – the Interact Community provides an invaluable platform for finding solutions, troubleshooting, getting your queries answered rapidly, sharing frustration and voicing ideas for improvement. Questions are never left unanswered – either by someone from the Interact team or other community members. It’s a great reference center to tap into and makes you remember that you’re not alone.

10) Memory lane – every now and again take a look back and remember where you have come from and what you’ve achieved. When I was feeling particularly frustrated recently, one of the Interact team reminded me where I was this time last year…still trying to get to grips with how to set up a content area in our new intranet and scrabbling around for content, generally very green and very nervous – a world away from ever being considered an intranet ‘expert’ – which is exactly what someone recently called me.