Discovering your user voice

It’s always harder to invest time and resource upfront when you really just want to cut to the chase. The fun stuff. The creative challenge. Do we really have to sit around and listen to people first?

For communicators and designers working on intranets, that fun stuff is the branding, colors, fonts, images, etc. Doing research first is so boring!

My latest post for SharePoint Pro Magazine is a how-to for understanding your user voice:

Launching an Intranet: The Crucial Step You Cannot Skip

The more we invest in the crucial step of listening to users, the better able we are to address user needs, create business return on investment and establish an ever-evolving legacy of success.

I’ve recently started a new project for a new client. We are helping them create a roadmap for their SharePoint intranet, and part of the effort is discovering the user voice. We are using all the methods detailed in my article for SharePoint Pro.

Even after doing countless projects like this one, I still find it exciting to spend time with users, executives and other stakeholders. It’s fascinating to learn how they work, what drives them crazy and how the organization can get more out of their technical investment. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write about some of the project findings and how our client uses those findings to craft a sustainable digital workplace. Stay tuned!

Providing good policy guardrails for employee intranet users

SharePoint Pro Magazine recently published an article of mine about:

Providing good policy guardrails for employee intranet users

The article will help you understand how to use policy versus code of conduct versus standard versus guideline. It will help you understand how to use these governance tools effectively.

Last week I was in San Francisco teaching at the ALI SharePoint for Communicators conference. There was a lot of discussion about governance, including policy and guidelines. If you need encouragement in your journey, know this: most organizations do not yet have good governance in place.

You are not alone. Don’t fret about where you are today. Just commit to moving forward toward improved governance and management of your intranet. Even if you tackle it incrementally – start by putting some good guidelines in place – you’ll make progress that better positions you for success with users.

Create great news in your SharePoint intranet

As the debate about intranet news rages on, I thought I’d enter the fray with a new post for SharePoint Pro Magazine:

Create great news in your SharePoint intranet

If you balance curated news with social streams, I think you’ll meet user needs optimally. Include users in your assessment and research so you really know what they need.

Ironically, I’m in Austin this week to speak on this very topic at the IABC Southern Region Conference. Hope to see you there!