How to Create an Intranet Project Plan in 10 Steps

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Are you considering building a new Intranet? It's important to get it right to boost productivity and engagement. But IT projects often go over budget and fail to deliver the expected value. Don't worry! In this article, we'll show you how to create a solid Intranet project plan that actually works. We'll also discuss why a modern Intranet, complete with an employee app, is essential for meeting your team's needs. Let's get started on your journey to a successful Intranet!

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Why do you need a new intranet?

Before diving into the steps of developing an intranet project plan, it is critical to understand why investing in a new intranet is critical for your organization.

Here are a few compelling reasons:

1. Outdated Intranet

If your company is currently using an outdated intranet that lacks engagement and feels stagnant, it may be time to consider upgrading to a modern intranet solution. A modern intranet brings together the best of social networking and productivity-enhancing tools, creating an environment that fosters collaboration and boosts efficiency. By combining these elements of a social networking platform with advanced features designed to streamline workflows and promote teamwork, a modern intranet transforms the way employees communicate and work together.

2. Increased Productivity

A fully functional intranet app will boost staff productivity by facilitating easy information access, streamlining workflows, task management, and collaboration. It acts as a central hub where employees can quickly find everything they need to do their jobs well. Your team will be able to work smarter and achieve more with all of these essential features built right into their intranet app.

3. Improved Employee Communication

Traditional communication channels like email are time-consuming and ineffective. A new intranet provides features such as news creation, team directories, chat, discussion groups, video and real-time updates, allowing for seamless and collaborative internal communication across your organization.

4. Improved Information Management

With a modern intranet, your teams can organize and manage internal information more effectively. File storage, sharing and management, intelligent search capabilities, and personalized content delivery mean that your teams can easily find the information they need, reducing time spent searching for critical documents.

5. Employee Mobile App

If your frontline employees are the face of your company, keeping them connected and well-equipped is critical. A new intranet and employee mobile app are the best solutions. They can use the mobile app to access resources, communicate with coworkers, manage tasks, track shifts, and even receive recognition. This enables them to provide excellent customer service while also feeling valued and connected to your organization.

By addressing these problems and investing in a new intranet, you can lay the groundwork for a more productive, connected, and engaged workforce.

With that in mind, let's get started on the 11 essential steps for developing your intranet project plan.

For a thorough rundown of all activities involved, download our free white paper on Creating Your Intranet Checklist.

10 Steps For Creating your Intranet Project Plan

1. Identify your stakeholders and get buy-in

Identify key stakeholders

  • Begin by identifying your key stakeholders. These are all the people who will be impacted by the new intranet. They include people from senior management, department heads, IT personnel, HR representatives, and end users. Each of these individuals plays a key role in shaping the success of the intranet.

Understand their needs and expectations

  • Take the time to understand the needs and expectations of each stakeholder group. What challenges do they face in their roles? How can the intranet help address those challenges and make their work lives easier?

Create a compelling business case

  • Develop a strong business case that highlights the advantages and value of the new intranet. Emphasize how it can enhance collaboration, streamline processes, improve communication, and boost overall productivity. Use data and examples to support your case.

Proactively communicate and address concerns

  • Communicate with stakeholders proactively to explain the purpose and potential of the intranet. Be open to feedback and address any concerns or objections they may have. Show them that their opinions and perspectives are valued.

Seek stakeholder approval and share success stories

  • Demonstrate the potential return on investment (ROI) of the intranet by showcasing success stories from other organizations. This will help build confidence and secure stakeholder approval.

Involve stakeholders in decision-making

  • Involve stakeholders in the decision-making process to ensure their voices are heard. Seek their input and feedback to shape the type of intranet you want to deliver. Collaboration and inclusivity will lead to a solution that meets everyone's needs.

Gain commitment and support from influential stakeholders

  • Secure commitment and support from senior management and influential stakeholders who can champion the project. Their backing will help drive adoption and create a positive culture around the intranet.

Keep stakeholders engaged and informed

  • Regularly communicate the progress and benefits of the intranet to stakeholders. Provide updates on delivery dates, new features, and the benefits it will deliver to your employees and organization. Keep them engaged and informed throughout the project lifecycle to maintain their enthusiasm.

By following these detailed steps, you'll be able to effectively identify stakeholders, gain their support, and create a successful intranet project plan. The involvement and commitment of stakeholders will contribute to the overall success and adoption of the intranet within your organization.

2. Define your goals

Establish what your main goals will be enhancing productivity, efficiency, communication, collaboration, and engagement.

  • Consider overarching goals like creating a shared work experience, improving internal communication, organizing information, and digitizing workflow processes.
  • Look for opportunities and cost savings in automating and digitizing forms and workflow processes, reducing manual tasks, and increasing efficiency.
  • Determine if your teams require access to secure chat, groups, tasks, shifts, files, people directory, and company updates while on the go or when not behind a desk. Assess the convenience and suitability of a mobile-driven workforce experience, and evaluate if a mobile employee app would enhance their work experience and productivity.

3. Establish metrics for success

  • Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success and effectiveness of your intranet.
  • Examples of KPIs could include user engagement, time saved on tasks, a reduction in emails and meetings, or increased collaboration across departments, reduction in manual form processes with digital forms and workflows.
  • Regularly monitor and analyze these metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

4. Gathering information

To ensure the success of your new intranet project, it's important to involve key stakeholders and gather relevant information. Consider the following points:

Conduct a Thorough Needs Assessment

  • Perform a comprehensive assessment of your organization's current processes, pain points, and communication challenges.
  • Identify specific requirements and functionalities that will effectively address these needs.
  • Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback from potential intranet users.

Identify Key Teams

  • Engage with Internal Communications, HR, Operations, and IT staff as the primary drivers of your intranet.
  • Understand their goals and objectives, such as improving internal communication, streamlining operations, enhancing HR processes, and leveraging technology for better productivity.

Collaborative Approach

Seek Input from All Staff Levels

  • Include all levels of staff, regardless of technical expertise or job role, in the feedback and input process.
  • Gather insights from both management and non-management staff, full-time and casual employees, to understand usability, functionality, and overall user experience.

Consider Employee App Integration

  • Evaluate the need for an employee mobile app in addition to the intranet.
  • Explore the potential benefits of features such as secure chat, task management, access to shifts, people directory, and real-time company updates.
  • Assess if a mobile app aligns with your workforce's needs, particularly if remote work or mobile access is prevalent.

Leverage Best Practices

  • Modern intranets, like CentricMinds, are specifically built to incorporate the best practices for enhancing engagement, communication, workflows, and information accessibility.
  • With CentricMinds, you don't have to worry about figuring out the best strategies on your own. The software is designed to seamlessly incorporate these practices, saving you time and effort.
  • Simply put, CentricMinds takes care of the technical side, allowing you to focus on utilizing the intranet effectively without the hassle of implementation.
  • It's a user-friendly solution that empowers you to make the most of a modern intranet without the complexity.

Take a look at our Kmart case study to see a real world example of an intranet implementation.

By gathering information from key teams, involving all staff levels, and considering the integration of an employee app, you can create a comprehensive intranet solution that addresses the diverse needs of your organization and fosters a productive work environment. 

5. Content and Site Map

To ensure the effectiveness and organization of your intranet, consider the following steps:

Create a Content Strategy

  • Develop a clear content strategy that outlines the types of information and resources that you know must be included on the intranet.
  • Define guidelines for your content creation, maintenance, and governance to ensure consistency and relevance.
  • Consider involving content owners from various departments to contribute to the overall content strategy.

Build a Rough Sitemap

  • Create a rough sitemap that outlines the structure and layout of your intranet.
  • Map out the functions and flows between pages to provide a logical and intuitive user experience.
  • Consider the inclusion of news and group feeds to keep employees informed and engaged.
  • Determine which Chat channels will be included to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  • Identify any surveys, forms, or polls you want to implement to gather feedback and insights.
  • Think about recognition does the Intranet allow for peer to peer recognition.
  • Decide on the initial news that you want to start posting to keep employees up to date.
  • Define your permissions for read and write access, taking into account existing identity management systems.
  • Determine how you want your documents and files to be stored and organized within your intranet and whether you will sync them from Google Workspace or OneDrive.

By developing a comprehensive content strategy and creating a well-structured sitemap, you can ensure that the intranet delivers relevant and valuable information while facilitating efficient communication and collaboration among employees.

6. Choose your Intranet Software

There are many ways to go about picking Intranet software to use. With your goals defined, you’ll be better guided in determining which solution is a good fit.

Consider the following criteria when choosing Intranet software:

  • Seamless Integration: Ensure that the software can work with your current identity management system and connect with existing applications, promoting efficiency and collaboration.
  • User-Friendly Design: Look for software that is easy to navigate and use, designed with business users in mind, rather than solely relying on IT staff for management.
  • Built-in Employee App: Seek software that includes an employee app for seamless mobile access, empowering employees to stay connected and engaged when they need it.
  • Built-in Features: Check for built-in features that promote engagement, alignment, recognition, collaboration, automation, efficiency, and productivity within the intranet.
  • Templates for Quick Setup: Opt for a template-rich solution that enables fast setup, reducing the time it takes to roll out the intranet to users.
  • Effective Search and Organization: Seek software that utilizes metadata tags to enhance search capabilities and facilitate content organization.
  • Scalability: Consider whether the software can accommodate future growth in terms of users, data volume, and additional features.
  • Customization Options: Determine the level of customization available to align the intranet with your organization's branding and unique requirements.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Explore the availability of analytics and reporting features to track user engagement and assess the intranet's effectiveness.
  • Change Management Support: Incorporate a change management plan that includes training and ongoing support to assist users during the transition to the new intranet.
  • Customer Support and Maintenance: Evaluate the vendor's customer support services and their commitment to providing timely assistance and regular updates.

We also recommend that you consult with your Intranet solution provider to see what they believe is the best configuration for your business. After all, these are the people who are used to seeing many different Intranet implementations - your internal experience is likely to be limited.

7. Consider pricing

What is your budget going to be? Out-of-the-box software costs are significantly less than a custom (or even customized) solution. Vendors have different pricing structures, either a one-off fee or, more commonly, a subscription-based model paid each month or each year. You’ll also need to consider the cost of hosting if you are considering using cloud-based hosting such as AWS or Azure.

You may find that you’ll need extra features that aren’t supported by an out-of-the-box solution - or that you can cut features and use integrations with other software products instead.

8. Create your rollout roadmap

A pilot program

As with most IT rollouts, it’s best to start with a small project, to begin with. Choosing your pilot team is a critical exercise for ensuring the success of your eventual full-scale Intranet.

For the pilot, you’ll need to set a small, well-bounded set of functionality for your intranet in Phase One. Pick a time frame in which to do the launch, the team (around 10–20 people), define what success and feedback mechanisms will look like, and design the training and your onboarding accordingly.

Guidance for Proof of Concept Pilot from the National Archives, while focusing on ERM software, provides a comprehensive overview of how to plan and run your pilot program.

CentricMinds Intranet software has a 14-day free trial that may assist in your pilot program.

9. Iterative builds

After learning from the pilot program, you can create iterative builds of your Intranet, adding functionality and users as you go. An iterative approach to rolling out allows you to avoid the potential failure of an all-at-once launch. This is an Agile approach to managing your Intranet rollout that helps deliver a product faster when faced with changing needs. 

When building out functions and testing them on users, gathering feedback, and getting feedback from new teams coming online, you’re able to grow your Intranet successfully for your operation from the very start.

With iterative planning and rollout mechanisms, even when your Intranet is ‘complete,’ you will still be able to use the same approach in the future to add new functionality as your organization grows digitally.

10. Promotion

One more step to help you drive Intranet success. However, there is one more critical step in your Intranet Project Plan that you must not overlook. 

PROMOTION is the next step.  

When we talk about promotion, it means moving beyond the simple "let's get the word out. Crafting the proper promotional communication is critical to the success of your organization's new Intranet and its user adoption.

We recommend taking a strategic (top-down) and practical grass-roots approach (bottom-up) to your promotion strategy, which includes:

  • Identify how the Intranet will improve employees' workflow, access to information, and generally make their lives easier during the pilot stage. Next, take these success stories and promote them to the organization. Create communication campaigns with your existing communication channels, such as email and newsletter drip campaigns, to build awareness.
  • Early in the project, involve champions in the organization. These individuals already have a positive impact on your company's culture, behaviors, and goals — their authority aids in building rapid Intranet adoption. Include them at the start of your project in your promotion strategy. Have them share posts and valuable resources on the Intranet.
  • Empower your champions to host a Q&A session to answer any questions about the project and Intranet solution.
  • Request that your CEO make an announcement about the new Intranet or post a video to the Intranet.
  • Encourage leaders and managers to share a communication post with their groups. Have them post essential resources, including announcements, files, tasks, and events. Doing this ensures your Intranet becomes a necessary part of everyone's daily work.

Promotional campaigns are well known for their ability to generate interest and participation. Use them to educate your users on the benefits of the Intranet. It's a critical first step towards gaining support at all levels. Include promotions in your project plan before, during, and after launch to assist you in onboarding your Intranet users as quickly as possible.

Ready to transform workplace communication and collaboration? 

Take the first step towards a more connected, collaborative, and productive future with CentricMinds, the best intranet software solution.

Choose CentricMinds as your trusted partner in implementing a powerful intranet and employee app that fits your organization's needs. Empower your workforce, streamline operations, and enhance productivity with CentricMinds.

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