How to build an intranet project team

Introducing a new intranet into your organisation takes team work. You can’t go it alone. So, who is going to be in your intranet project team? The very best intranet projects have a full-time person dedicated to it. If this is your role, you’ll be the key person in overseeing the project from concept to roll-out.

From our experience, we have found when one full-time person is responsible for the intranet, the quality, adoption, and chances of success improve massively. Yet, you can’t go it alone. You need to build your own squad. A team of people who will help you along the way.

Successful intranets come from projects where IT, Internal Comms, and HR have a really good working relationship, agree on the purpose of the intranet, and are clear on their roles and responsibilities.

When everyone is clear about their role and the purpose of the intranet, it creates less friction for employees who will ultimately be using the platform.


Who else?

However, you’ll need to cast your net wider to include departmental champions from other business functions as well. For example, if you’re in a sales-focused or retail business, you’ll need your store operations team involved.

Those in call centres will need to include colleagues responsible for knowledge management, so the intranet content supports customer facing employees. Professional services organisations need to include team leaders or executive assistants.

Of course, who you invite will depend on which roles are critical to the business you’re in.


How to create a working group for your intranet project team

Bringing everyone into an intranet working group can be tricky. Colleagues are busy with their day-to-day and find it difficult to take a lunch break most days.

So, how can you get them onboard?

You’ll need to motivate or incentivise the managers of members of your working group. Don’t leave it up to those you’ve invited to explain to their boss why they must go to this meeting!

Getting buy-in from the managers of the people that you’re selecting for the working group from the start is essential.

When managers understand the importance of your initiative, and how it relates to improving the employee experience, they’re more likely to support you and carve out time for their colleagues to join.

It’s wise to keep managers on board throughout your intranet project – giving them visible praise and thanks for their support is an effective way to do this.


Intranet champions

You’ll also need to recruit some intranet champions to help make the project run smoothly. These will be colleagues who can help you bridge the gaps of technology, process, and people. These people will be different from your working group.

Look for enthusiastic colleagues, rising stars in your organisation and early adopters. Getting this group of champions on board and directly involved in the process from early on will be a real plus for you.

Give your intranet champions a sense of ownership. Delegate tasks such as deciding what content needs updating and migrating, or what should be deleted. And once roll out begins, reward them with ‘sneak peeks’ of new features so they’ll help to start spreading the word.


Dealing with “in-house IT department can deliver this project!”

Many intranet projects start with the premise that the in-house IT team will deliver the project. Yet, in our experience it’s worth fleshing this out from the start.

We suggest that you treat your IT team as if they were a service provider.

Ask them the following questions:

  • How many intranet projects have they delivered previously?
  • Who in the IT team will be the main contact point?
  • How much time will they provide to support you in the project every week?
  • When can they start the project?
  • Once live, what ongoing service will they give as part of their service desk?

The answers to these questions will help you determine whether you need external help and support.

It’s likely that your IT team will be dismissive of a new intranet and will tell you that native SharePoint can do it all. So be ready to explain why you’re looking for a modern platform and how it will improve the employee experience and digital comms.

Be realistic and honest about the expertise and resources you can draw from in-house. Does your in-house IT team really have the technical capabilities and intranet success know-how to guarantee the longevity of your investment? If not, look for a vendor can who parachute in team members, once a month, to support your intranet project team.


External support in your intranet project team

The level of support you will need from an external vendor will depend on the make-up of your in-house team. However, do use vendors for tasks they’re good at such as set up, change management, and technical support. Plus, look for a vendor that offers you a dedicated account manager or client success manager to help you along the way.

Don’t forget to ask your potential vendor if they have any case studies in your sector. If so, ask for a couple of references. Or better still, ask them to introduce you to an existing customer so you can set up a one-on-one informal chat to get the low-down how smooth their intranet project roll was.


To find out more on how to build your intranet project team, plus access additional resources, such as employee surveys, and tips, tricks and templates for completing and presenting your new intranet business case, download our free eBook on Building a business case for a new intranet.