Conference Notes

Share2011 – Finding a Method in the Madness: Restructuring and Upgrading Our Intranet (Wendy White, Department of Child Protection)

Wendy White is presenting on an intranet upgrade project at the Department of Child Protection. Key ideas:
– The department has just under 3000 employees. The department values learning and information sharing. It’s very important to the department, and it’s very important to get it right.
– The upgrade project to SharePoint 2010 had been going on for a while, but had run into some problems. For example:
– … There was no one to bring everyone together, across the different groups.
– … Some pages were very out-of-date, eg., “last update 2006” (or event 2003 in some cases).
– … The previous intranet was still running. Links were created from the 2003 intranet to the older one.
– … There were 554 permission groups.
– … SharePoint was overloaded. At some times during the day, people couldn’t update content.
– The Director General of the Department wanted the project to succeed. He took a “very strong interest in getting the project operational.”

– What will make or break your project?
– … communication was #1 – what should we be doing, when should we be using it?
– … get your information architecture sorted out. Do a content inventory. If you know what’s there, you can decide what to migrate and what not to migrate.
– … top level IA has eight links, including “About DCP” (about the business units), “Staff Tools” (daily working tools), and “Policy & Manuals,” among others.
– … be specific about how IT pros can migrate pages and sites from old-SharePoint to new-SharePoint.
– … Maintain a list of super-users for each site, so you can know who to ask about particular things. Have it documented.
– … Had a committee, composed of managers from each group. We wanted to inform and consult with them. We wanted managers to keep repeating the key messages. Had to engage with them, educate them on what needed to happen, etc.
– … Keep in touch with the custodians (super-users). We didn’t use discussion boards (not an existing community to support), or meetings (too spread out). We found a monthly email newsletter was the most effective.
– … Ran both systems (old intranet and new one) in parallel for a while. It reduced the change shock.
– … Have a style guide for content publishers.