Review of "What every intranet team should know" (James Robertson)

James Robertson from Step Two Designs published a book last month entitled What every intranet team should know. The book is a collection of James’s previous articles and presentations on intranets.

I’ve had a review copy for about a month (thanks James!), but with my own writing schedule, haven’t been able to post this review.

The book is beautiful … it’s beautifully printed (now that I know about such things!), it’s easy to read (lots of white space), it’s got easy-to-engage-with pictures and diagrams throughout, and the content itself is good. It’s the sort of book that you buy and give to others who don’t know what you do … whether they are your manager or spouse (hat tip, Dorje for that piece of intelligence). It provides a concise overview of the role of the intranet, the intranet team, and the various activities that go into making the intranet valuable. For all of these reasons, the book is a great and highly recommended addition to your intranet bookshelf, or to the justification within your firm about what you do.

On page 34, James talks about the “traditional intranet” being heavy on a content and communication focus, whereas the business-focused intranet adds greater attention to collaboration and activity. While James advocates these third and fourth purposes of the intranet in chapter 2 (the four purposes of the intranet), I think that the remaining chapters make a more solid contribution to purposes 1 (content) and 2 (communication). Eg, there’s a chapter on delivering great content (from p.67) that focuses on purpose 1, and another chapter on planning intranet improvements (from p.89) focused in the same place. Thus in my view, the book raises the prospect of a greater role for collaboration and activity on the intranet, but doesn’t give them as much space and focus as the two fundamental purposes. Perhaps these will become a focal point for James’s next book.

Categories: Miscellaneous