Tags: collaboration, content, digital workplace, governance, publishing, standards, usability standards, users
In my last post on the digital workplace I talked about how you need a strategy to help you create a great digital workplace. Remember you’re not just doing this for the sake of it! Your aim is to demonstrate how it will support your organisation’s strategy and key priorities.
Once you have your strategy agreed you need to build a governance framework to help you to implement and manage your digital workplace. It is important all your digital workplace is managed to give the maximum benefit to your organisation, individuals and collectively, everyone. The right level of governance needed will balance the rewards to be gained while avoiding any risks. That doesn’t come naturally but through you establishing a good governance model.
The aim is to create a great online user experience that encourages people to feel comfortable shifting their how and where they work to a digital workplace. To do that you need a governance framework that includes:
You need to have a governance hierarchy that starts at the top with who is responsible for the digital workplace and flows through to who uses the it to publish, collaborate, complete tasks or just view content.
Who is responsible for developing the strategy, implementing the digital workplace and managing it? It is difficult for one person to have the knowledge, experience, and authority needed for so many key roles and activities. Neither is it best for it to be one person.
The best solution is to have a steering group with senior managers from key parts of the business most affected by or have most influence on your digital workplace. These senior managers should have decision-making authority not someone who has to refer back to his/her line manager and delay matters.
There may be dedicated roles for people responsible for collaboration, ways of working, etc., but they should ultimately report in to the steering group. You need to avoid competing groups of people implementing conflicting standards, designs, and ways to use the digital workplace. That gives a confusing and poor experience for anyone using it.
You really need a consistent level of governance across your digital workplace. By consistent I don’t mean the same but what everyone should expect.
People who publish in the digital workplace accredited types of content (policies, news, etc.) need a more rigorous approach is needed than for collaborative content where opinions and views change and require a lighter touch of governance.
People using the digital workplace to view content, complete tasks or share knowledge with each other, expect its look and feel to be similar. Tools can have minimal branding without great costs or customising. Features need to encourage you to use them more such as help links, contact points, with easily laid out and functional designs.
Integrating the different parts of the digital workplace is needed so they are seen as being connected and encourage you to use it more and feel comfortable.
One way to gain consistency is to have standards based on the needs of the organisation, regulation, legal and users. These can be applied appropriately across the digital workplace depending on their use. For accredited content (policies and procedures) you will apply all or most standards. For applications e.g. HR processes, it’s probable that most will apply too. But for collaborative content e.g. opinions, you will apply a lighter touch.
Alternatively you can create standards that only apply to certain information and applications to meet the purpose people need to use it for.
The aim has to be about getting the balance right. You don’t have to be too restrictive and stifle innovation and collaboration. But you can’t to be too loose and inconsistent and risk sensitive information leaking out. It’s not easy but the right balance is critical.
For me, this is the critical goal to aim for. Are you confident using the information and tools in your digital workplace? Does it encourage you to use the digital workplace more?
The answer has to be ‘YES!’ to these questions. Having the right governance framework with standards consistently applied and clear roles and responsibilities are vital to a successful digital workplace.
Tags: best practice, content, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010
For each approach it is the conflict between minimising the impact on performance of the business with the extra cost of contractors while retaining the knowledge and experience of using SharePoint 2010. There isn’t just one answer and it can be a difficult choice to get right.
Using contractors to rebuild
My last approach covers your organisation hiring external contractors with SharePoint 2010 knowledge and expertise to rebuild your content. Contractors should be able to rebuild all types of content, whether simple or complex, without need for training.
It minimises the involvement of your content editors with rebuilding of content to focus on their business activities. It gives you flexibility on when you train your content editors to be able to update and create content, either during or after the rebuild has been completed.
You can also start your rebuild at short notice providing your contractors are available.
Your organisation can save the costs and effort of training content editors before the rebuild until much later. The impact on operational performance is minimised.
All your content is rebuilt by contractors skilled in SharePoint 2010. You may use some of the contractors on a permanent basis to re-train your content editors and to continue offering expert advice and guidance. Your contractors can be your ‘Super Users’.
You have the flexibility to increase or reduce the time taken to rebuild all your content by hiring more or less contractors.
Hiring external contractors with SharePoint 2010 experience will increase the costs of your organisation’s rebuild. Your content editors will not be so easily able to develop their knowledge by not rebuilding their content and learning from this experience.
It may be difficult to hire the right number of contractors with the skills and experience for the funding you have or within your timeframe.
Contractors have to learn the context and background to why content is published in the way chosen by your organisation. Your editors may save time not rebuilding their content but they will still need to explain what is needed to be done and why to contractors as well as checking and auditing what has been rebuilt before it can be published.
By assessing each of these approaches you can help to choose which will best suit what your organisation needs. You can factor in funding, timescales, editors’ skills and experience, when deciding what to do.
I have been directly involved in several SharePoint 2010 content rebuilds. If you need any more help please contact me.
Tags: intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, training
For each approach it is the conflict between minimising the impact on performance of the business with the cost of extra contractors while retaining the knowledge and experience of using SharePoint 2010. There isn’t just one answer and it can be a difficult choice to get right.
Blending content editors with contractors
My second approach combines the use of your content editors with external contractors. Your contractors will have a more extensive role to play than my first approach. You hire external contractors who have the experience and skills you need to support content editors and can rebuild more complex content more easily or rebuild a large number of content pages more quickly than your content editors.
Wherever possible priority must be given to your editors rebuilding their content with support from contractors with the right expertise to help. However the option for a contractor to step in and take over is now available with this approach.
Combining your own content editors with contractors skilled and experienced with SharePoint 2010 will still enable you to retain the knowledge and skills gained from your editors being trained on how to use SharePoint 2010. Your editors will use their knowledge of your organisation and the context in which the newly rebuilt pages are developed.
The knowledge gained during the rebuild will be retained and allow content editors to support other existing and new content editors when they are trained. This approach can also help create ‘Super Users’ who can provide support to other content editors who are trained in future.
Contractors supporting content editors and rebuilding complex and large numbers of content pages will be able to use their SharePoint 2010 expertise and knowledge.
There is still a risk of disruption to normal business activities if there are many content editors to train and content to be rebuilt. The ability of editors to become ‘Super Users’ retrain other content editors is more limited as there are less editors who rebuilt content and probably not the more complex content. The balance of knowledge gained to lost is more balanced with this approach.
You will also need to have extra checks for the content rebuilt by contractors to confirm the right context has been met and it links to other related pages correctly. This can extend the length of the project.
There is the cost of the contractors to factor in and making sure you train enough content editors with the right skills so that all types of content are updated and managed correctly after you launch.
In my next post I will cover my final approach to rebuilding your content.
Tags: intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, training
In my last post I talked about what is the best approach to training content editors on how to use SharePoint 2010. I now want to cover in my next three posts what is the best approach to rebuilding your content from your existing publishing tool in SharePoint 2010.
For each approach it is the conflict between minimising the impact on performance of the business with the cost of extra contractors while retaining the knowledge and experience of using SharePoint 2010. There is no right answer and it can be a difficult choice to get right.
Using your own content editors
The first approach I will cover is training your own content editors to be able to rebuild your existing content. You may not need to train ALL your content editors. You can try training a few content editors to rebuild the content that many other content editors manage and have already re-written. It will depend on how many content editors you have and the amount of content to be rebuilt.
Whatever number of content editors you decide on, they will rebuild the content, link the content up, and add any navigation headings to the templates.
By using your own content editors you are able to retain the knowledge and skills gained from being trained how to use SharePoint 2010 within your organisation. The benefit of knowing the organisation and the background with the existing content means the newly rebuilt pages are developed with the audience in mind.
The knowledge gained during the rebuild will also be retained and allow content editors to support other existing and new content editors when they are trained. This approach can also help create ‘Super Users’ who can provide support to other content editors who are trained in future.
Any contractors employed for the rebuild can be used to support content editors and use their SharePoint 2010 expertise and knowledge to help rather then actually do the rebuilding of content. This reverses knowledge being lost and becomes a gain.
In my next post I will cover a different approach to rebuilding your content.
Tags: best practice, content, governance, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, training
Have you decided what is the right approach to review and rebuild your content in SharePoint 2010?
I will post about the different approaches organisations can take towards who is best placed to rebuilding the existing content in SharePoint 2010 in my next few posts. This builds on my other SharePoint 2010 posts.
Firstly, I want to set out what content editors need training for. This usually happens when you are implementing SharePoint 2010. You may already be using an earlier version of SharePoint or different publishing tool. However it can be used as ‘business as usual’ when you have new content editors who replace existing publishers.
I’m not talking about the training content here. There are many good training courses – both online and face to face – that can help you with that need. I’m also leaving aside the ‘super users’ who have administrative rights for site collections, etc., and just focusing on the vast majority of people who need to publish content.
Content editor training
This training should be ‘just in time’ so content editors can start using it immediately. The longer there is a delay between when you have been trained and you start using it, the greater the risk you will do something wrong or differently because you have forgotten.
Where it is a straight forward and simple activity online training can meet this learning need. However for more complex activities face to face training may be the best way.
A good tip is to reinforce any face to face training with short online videos or podcasts that ‘show and tell’ how to d it the best way. Use the test of ‘Is it easier to go through the online training module than to contact someone for help and advice.
Content editors need to first review their existing content. Is it still relevant? Does it need to be re-written? The aim is to only have the content that is still needed. Most migrations find a very high percentage of content is deleted for various reasons when reviewed. That content should be updated for accuracy, tone of voice, and any change of context e.g. to fit with any other content in another web part that could be merged.
The content rebuild should be the first task after your training. You need to have all your content ready before you can link it together.
Content linking and styling
Once all the content has been rebuilt you can restore the links and fix any broken links as the content will have entirely new addresses (URLs). Then you review each page to ensure that it is styled and written correctly.
Content structure and navigation
The final stage will be checks on the intranet homepages/portals, global and site navigation menus, that any content needs to be ready for launch.
My next post will cover the first approach you can consider for how you rebuild your content.
Tags: best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability, usability standards, users
Has your intranet got content littered all over it which isn’t very useful to people needing to use it?
By litter I mean no or little thought has been given by the owner on how people need to have this information presented so it is easy to use. Examples can include:
- Links to documents instead of content on an intranet page
- Poorly worded content that doesn’t make sense
- Poorly constructed content that is hard to follow
- Poorly presented content with the wrong balance of images, text, and video
I wonder how many intranet professionals are nodding their heads as they recognise some of these examples being on their own intranets! Yes, it is irritating and creates a poor user experience.
So, how can you make your intranet look neat and tidy? I recommend you consider these:
- Usability standard that sets out what the user experience should be
- Feedback button so people can report back on bad examples
- Document library for content that has to be shown in its original format (legal document)
- Training for publishers on tone of voice
- Training for publishers on how to ‘write for the web’
- Guidance on use of different media with best practice examples
- Audit content and encourage/persuade/force publishers to publish it following best practice
And you can always contact me if you need more help and advice.
Tags: accessibility, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, training, usability, value
I have reviewed many intranets and have been amazed at the variety of publishing standards and how they are enforced. These vary from no publishing standards through to everything being locked down depending on the importance of complying with standards. More importantly it is the amount of time, effort, and money that is used to enforce people to comply with the standards when they publish information.
I sometimes think organisations lose the plot and forget to look at the costs being spent for the benefit being gained.
Your intranet needs standards to make sure your organisation complies with business, user, regulatory, and legal requirements in any country it operates in. The best approach is to have ‘smart’ standards that need the minimum time, effort, and cost which achieving the maximum effectiveness and benefits. How many of these questions can you answer “yes” to?
- Do you train your publishers on what your intranet standards?
- Do you also train your publishers on why your intranet has these standards?
- Do you educate and support your publishers with guidance to understand more about your standards?
- Do you embed any of your standards in the publishing templates e.g. branding, navigation menu?
- Do publishers need to comply with your standards before their content is published e.g. images need to have alternative texts before they can be used?
- Do you review content for compliance?
- Do you remind your publishers if their content is non-compliant?
- Do you remove content if no action by your publishers to comply?
- Do you measure how compliant your intranet is?
- Have you measured it more than once?
If you answered “yes” to all these questions then award yourself a gold medal!
If you answered “no” to any of these questions perhaps you had better contact me?
Tags: best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, standards, training
SharePoint 2010 gives you the opportunity to upgrade your technology to meet the current and future needs of your business’ intranet. You can make other changes to improve business effectiveness at the same time. In my last two posts in this series I gave some tips on the user and publisher experience your business needs so it is ready to use SharePoint 2010. This post covers governance.
- An intranet governance framework will underpin the user and publishing experiences. It will include roles and responsibilities, information architecture, standards, policies and processes.
- An information architecture is needed to show where all content will be hosted in SharePoint 2010. It needs to take account of future as well as short term business needs.
- Publishing standards are needed to meet business, regulatory, legal, and user requirements. They should be embedded wherever possible into SharePoint tools e.g. owner shown on footer of every page to be completed before page is published.
- Accessibility: meeting the legal needs of disabled people
- Usability: ensuring productive use of the intranet
- Ownership: information managed by owner clearly shown
- Currency: information integrity is assured by review date
- Sensitive content: permissions set so only right people see content
- Roles and responsibilities for managing and publishing information defined, agreed, and implemented for day 1 of SharePoint 2010 e.g. Site Collection Administrators.
- Intranet Steering Group: Senior stakeholders representing key business functions to regularly review the strategy and key activities to implement it. The Intranet Manager should report to theis group.
- The Intranet Team will implement the strategy agreed and develop and manage the intranet to meet the business’ needs. They will ensure owners will comply with business policies and legal requirements.
- All publishers need to be trained before they are able to publish. Publishers will need to comply with publishing standards. Publishers will either be a Site Administrator if publishing for a site or an Author if for part of it e.g. a page of content.
- SharePoint Designer can change the look and feel of pages and navigation structure that has been agreed by the Intranet Team. It needs to be used carefully with selected people approved to use it.
- A process will be developed for all requests to publish being approved before being set up for the right part of the intranet
- A Domain Name policy is needed at the top level of an intranet. A ‘friendly names’ approach should be adopted from a usability approach and avoid elongated URL addresses.
- A top level taxonomy that is a blend of functional and organisational names is needed. It should be presented on each page as a drop down menu that a publisher has to choose from. More than one heading can be chosen if applicable. Further words can be added by the publisher at their discretion to enhance the search experience for anyone trying to find the right information.
I hope these three posts on governance and the user and publisher experience help you with implementing SharePoint 2010.
Tags: best practice, content, governance, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, standards, training
SharePoint 2010 gives you the opportunity to upgrade your technology to meet the current and future needs of your business’ intranet. It also enables other changes to improve business effectiveness to be made at the same time. In my last post I gave some tips on the user experience your business needs so it is ready to use SharePoint 2010. This post covers the publishing experience.
- All site collection administrators, site administrators, and publishers need to be trained before they start using SharePoint 2010. The training should be a blend of face to face and online modular training depending on its complexity.
- The look and feel should be consistent – either ‘out of the box’ or corporate branding - so it is familiar to all publishers. It also cover the intranet standards – why as well as what they are – and need people to show they understand and will comply with them.
- While the training will mainly be for publishers there will need to be training for Site Collection Administrators and Site Administrators. The training needs to cover their roles, how they manage the intranet and comply with the publishing standards.
- The training content and method of delivery needs to be tested and shown to educate publishers in SharePoint 2010 best practice and publishing standards.
- A process should be developed so people who need to publish can request permission to publish. This will be approved by their manager and the Site Collection Administrator will set permissions and space to publish.
- The process should cover all publishers to request permission, show they have been trained, alert the approver(s) to decide if it should proceed before being implemented.
- You need to decide on your approach to reviewing all types of existing content – news, video, blogs, and audio. Your approach could include content no longer needed being deleted and people pointed to more relevant content if needed. If the content is still current and needed, it can be updated to meet the publishing standards and right tone of voice.
- An overall project plan and owner needs to be agreed who can give updates on progress.
- Once all content has been reviewed and updated it will be ready for migration. All content needs to be signed off by the owner. Ideally meta data must be added from the taxonomy with extra relevant words and phrases added to help people find the right content.
- When content is migrated it needs to be aligned with your information architecture. It also should appear in search results.
- All new content published from day 1 needs to meet the publishing standards and have the right tone of voice.
In my next post in this series I will cover how to get your business ready for SharePoint 2010 governance.