Intranet Launch Check List and Activities

Everyone is usually on board and excited when new intranet gets designed. With workshops underway, decisions are made, and exciting new features are being added to the list. To make sure this excitement translates into a successful launch, we've build a checklist so nothing important gets forgotten. Since we constantly refine our checklists over time, if you have tips that worked well for you, be sure to leave your comment and we'll add it here.

Content Authoring Checklist

In this phase, typically happening over 15-30 days in a medium sized organization, content authors step in to ensure all of their content is in right places. By this time, the intranet should be ready to go, no testing or fixes should be happening unless they are critical.

Pre-requisities

  • Content Authors for each area of the site are identified
    • Obviously, before any content can be authored, you need to know who the authors are
    • We've got a whole article on helping you identify Content Authors in step 5 of [7 Steps to Effectively Introduce Intranet]
  • Assign Content Author to the area they're responsible for
  • Determine schedule and timeline for the content authoring and migration
  • Permissions for Content Authors are set
    • Before your content authors can start creating pages and adding content, they need to have adequate permissions as designed during your planning sessions
  • Content Author training has been provided and materials available
    • Authors  need to know how to work all the widgets they need
    • We like to provide videos along so that authors can always go back and clarify things they didn't catch
    • Written instructions can also be helpful but we find are used less if the system is designed well and videos are comprehensive
  • Draft content and sections created
    • Though some consider this optional, we're pretty strongly convinced that you can't supply Content Authors with a blank site and tell them to build pages. We like to include templates for sites and pages. From here it only takes minutes to get the writing started.
Remember, your Content Authors should not be experts in content management systems to create content for their business areas

Activities

  • Authors create content for each of the main areas and landing pages
    • These areas are highly visible so everything here needs to be crisp
  • Migrate content from legacy systems if applicable
    • This includes automatic migration and manual migration
    • If you're doing automatic migration, ensure each area is identified and responsible party assigned
  • Measure completion progress and velocity
    • Ensure you're on track with content activities by measuring your progress against the schedule
If you don't have the schedule for your content authoring activities, you are likely not going to launch on time or your site will be incomplete at the time of the launch.

Support Activities

Your IT support plays a huge role when it comes to successfully launching your intranet. Here are the key items on the checklist which ensure your users are well supported on day one:

  • Ensure the site has ability to capture users' feedback
    • Whether it's a form on a home page or support page, users need to be aware of how they can submit feedback, otherwise they will call or email helpdesk
  • Ensure you know how monitor user feedback
    • Some issues are urgent and some can indicate a big problem on a raise. Make sure you have a plan to monitor and action all the relevant feedback
  • Have a Help and Support strategy
    • This is crucial especially right during the launch, users need to know how to raise critical issues and get help, otherwise they will feel helpless and frustrated
Don't let your support strategy be an afterthought
  • Prepare to lock old content repositories as read only with links to redirect to new content areas
  • Book support resources for the week of launch
    • First few days of launch are the busiest so plan for that by booking extra time and overtime for your support staff

Project Management Activities

Here are activities for the executive leadership and the project manager:

  • Content area champions are identified
    • These are your peer support resources in various business areas to help with the change management aspect
  • Initial communication is sent to the rest of the organization
    • Don't solely rely on champions, make sure you clearly message the launch within the organization
  • Intranet naming contest
    • If you're considering a new name for your intranet, take advantage of the naming content few weeks before the launch
  • Plan for the launch day
    • Executive presentation with [where we are in the roadmap]
    • All staff training
    • Scavenger hunt

After the launch

  • [SUPPORT] Monitor feedback and have a triage plan for variously severity issues
  • [CONTENT AUTHORS] Maintain fresh content
  • [LEADERSHIP AND PM] Review Analytics (quantity and quality)
  • [EVERYONE] Iterate through tweaks

Hope this helps in with your next launch. Post your ideas and comments below.

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ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

@spentsarsky