What a lovely bunch of experts at Intranetters

Last week I went along to a meet-up called Intranetters, which is an awesome, predominantly London-based way to speak to other people involved in intranets.

We were welcomed by @RichardHare
A strong start from @RichardHare

It’s the first Intranetters meet I’ve been to and it was really rather good. Led by Richard Hare, it was a great opportunity to see a brilliant case study from Barclays and hear from the chaps at Twine.

Barclays LMS case study

A brief snapshot of *some* of what was covered
A brief snapshot of *some* of what was covered

It’s rare to get the chance to get an in-depth review of someone else’s intranet site. I really enjoyed hearing how Iain Trundle and Simon Thompson worked with a crack-squad to create a great-looking learning management system overlay for Barclays.

Sketchnotes of the presentation from Barclays
I also had the opportunity to try out my sketchnote skills again, although this time the presentation was much more in-depth, so these are probably most useful for my own record.

Three themes I took away from the talk:

  1. Bridge the gap rather than build a barrier
    Add value to, rather than seek to replace existing management systems by providing connections and in-document search – SharePoint can be used to create an attractive interface, whilst using the back-end LMS and other systems for administration.
  2. Hone your craft
    Take the best bits from elsewhere online to make user-friendly, engaging style, and take the time to write micro-copy to be as engaging as possible and add real value for your employees.
  3. Deliver nice things and get more money
    Echoing a theme I took from Shaula‘s award-winning lightning speech at Intranet Now, take opportunities for funding that come your way!

If you are interested in finding out more about this case study, you can view an overview presentation delivered recently by Martin Pope at the Intranet Now Conference .

Twine – making Agile work

I was interested to hear about Twine‘s work with graduate scheme participants to create a useful self-service portal for the NHS.

A captive graduate audience demonstrating exemplary agile work
A captive graduate audience demonstrating exemplary agile work

The case study was a fantastic example of working in a truly agile way, with two weeks on, and two weeks “off” for measurement, with fortnightly workshops to get feedback and plan the next sprint.

In my experience, it can be difficult to get that level of commitment from business stakeholders, who may have time to do that for a fixed period of time – say 3-4 weeks, but are unlikely to be able to commit for a longer period of time.

I am sure that this work on the portal had a positive impact also to the graduates’ experience of their learning scheme. With a defined reason to regroup, the discussion forums then become a natural extension to, and way to solidify and expand on conversations that have happened offline.

I have had similar success stories for much smaller projects or sub-groups; the successful use of a team site to cope through an enormous business change process with the implementation of a new finance system springs to mind.

Having a defined, discrete audience of interested stakeholders looking to solve a similar problem will definitely help drive better adoption. Which sounds entirely like common sense now I’ve written it, but finding a team that actually *wants* your help is one of the best ways I’ve found to generate success stories for my intranet.

It was also good to discuss just how integrated you should aim to be with other systems – depending on how often your data updates, a manual upload/download of data should suffice.

Ideation

Making a successful ideation scheme
Making a successful ideation scheme

We also looked at an interesting case study of Shell’s Ideation project. With a robust process in place to receive, feed back and develop ideas, it was a great example of how well ideation programmes can work when the appropriate systems (as in business processes, not necessarily IT) are in place.

In the pub

So one of the best parts of these sorts of events took place in the pub next door. I got some great advice from industry experts (and hopefully was able to share some of my learnings too). I’d definitely recommend going along to the next event – find out more @Intranetters!