When moving from our decade old intranet, to a modern platform, there have been many lessons. Here are five of them:
1. Being a Global Intranet Editor is a job closer to being an organizational psychologist, than being an engineer. Migration is far less about moving files, than it is about understanding a culture. People more seldom ask me “When will our files be moved, and which database feature is the best for us?”, but more “What will this change mean to us, what are others doing, and how should we go ahead?”. Always start with the business goal in mind, and the rest will follow.
2. Daily execution, and long-term planning are different animals, but they should like each other. Every day, I am often engaged in small and detailed work – meeting and training people, changing a website, adding a metadata keyword, creating a tutorial. But as long as I have synchronized this detailed work with the overall vision of the intranet, everything is fine. It is ok to do “just small things” all week-long, as long as they move you in the right direction.
3. I will feel totally out of my field, and I will like it. Sometimes, I exit meeting feeling more stupid than when I entered them, since I realized what I don’t know. I cannot and should not know all the complex details a business unit is handling. But at least I then know what I don’t know. And as long as I have captured what they need from the intranet, we are on track.
4. Notice the patterns of what people ask you, and build on that. After a while, there will be a pattern in the questions people ask you. Convert the most frequently asked questions into tutorials, FAQ pages, recorded sessions, presentations, and more. Refer people to these right at the start, and then you can start your meeting with them on a higher level. This way, you do not spend the first 15 minutes of every meeting explaining why you are changing platforms, and where the edit button is.
5. Have fun, or go home. Migrating a company from one intranet to another can be really tough, and can involve heated discussions and demands which all are “super important”. As an editor, you must allow yourselves to have fun while working. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in your vision, and laugh when you can. The support from others, and the fun moments act as counterweights to the heavy rain that can strike you as well. And if it does, bring an umbrella, work with the details, and soon the sun will shine again.