Not all great intranets have full time intranet managers – 8 techniques to maximise your time

There is a misconception that intranet award winners tend to have large intranet teams or are even full time intranet managers.

In most cases they bought their intranet to solve a need or objective and as they used it, have found it an effective way to solve problems and inefficiencies in their business and as a result their role has evolved to be far more intranet focused.

For example Essential Intranet Winner 2013 Gen Potter is Head of Internal Communications across Bauer Media, Malcolm and Kate Barnes at CrossCountry manages CrossCountry’s Employee Advocacy, Wendy Jordan manages comms across the board at GHA/the Wheatley Group and Dollar Financial, was recently awarded Best Social Intranet in the Ragan Awards, Intranet Manager Paula Kenyon is also the E-learning Manager.

What they all have in common is they make effective use of the time they have to dedicate to their intranet. I work with a range of companies, some people only have a few minutes a week to dedicate to their intranet, others manage it as a full time role; the successful ones use some if not all of the techniques below. If you only have limited time, you need to maximise it!

Give these techniques a try and let me know how you get on. If I’ve missed anything tweet me via @footshort82.

1. List what you need to do

Seriously, do this! Be it a task list in Outlook or simply scrawled in a pad (or using Interact Tasks in our upcoming release), know what your workload looks like. If these tasks are going to run over a number of days, give each a red, amber or green rating (known as a RAG report). Be honest with yourself, if you’re on target mark it green, if there’s a slight risk of it slipping give it a yellow, if there’s a major risk or it isn’t started, mark it red.

I’m restructuring the Interact Customer Community at the moment, managing the project using this method.

To prioritise, try the MoSCoW method, grading tasks as Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, Won’t Have. Focus on the things which have the biggest impact for the least amount of effort.

2. Eat that frog

What do you do when this leaves a group of tasks of equal importance?

There’s a great book by Brian Tracy, also available as a free PDF, called Eat That Frog specifically to help you prioritise, making a play on a Mark Twain quote. Twain suggested doing something disgusting first thing in the morning so everything else is comparatively pleasant….apologies to any fans of Kermit.

Tracy gives a number of great tips but the most pertinent is Eat That Frog, when you have a list of tasks which are equally important, pick the ones you least like and do them first. We lose far too much time leaving the worst tasks until last and conveniently managing to avoid doing them, seeing them sitting in your list still the next day.

eat a frog

3. Use your analytics

Your analytics will show what your users are failing to find. Make this a priority, the less of these you have over time, the more often your users are able to self-serve, saving not just you time but the departments who previously had to handle these tasks. There’s more on this in my blog The Question Which Engages Disinterested Departments With Your Intranet.

4. Switch off your outlook alerts

OK, so I said use your Outlook task list but it should be for reference, not disturbing you when you’re at your most productive. How often does this happen and it takes you five – ten minutes to refocus, or worse you stop what you’re doing and half do something else.

5. Email holiday

Have you ever had that moment when you wonder why emails haven’t come through for half an hour when you’ve been focused doing something else? Turn your email off if you need to focus on something. If it’s that important they’ll call you.

6. Do one thing at a time

It’s tempting to flit between a host of tasks at once. Don’t do it. You end up with a list of partially completed tasks and no closer to finishing anything.

7. Avoid needless meetings

Every company I’ve worked in and with is meeting obsessed. How many times do you sit in one and think ‘do I really need to be here?’ Be more precious with your time. If you’re unlikely to have anything to learn or add, challenge whether you need to be there.

8. Just say no

This is the hardest one to do. If you’re unable to take any more workload and what is being asked is not a priority, say no, there’s only so much you can do.

Interact are making managing intranets even easier

I’ve been designing and building a tool to manage diverse requirements. I’ll keep you posted on how it develops over the next few weeks, it should prove a huge help to a lot of people who manage intranets and want a framework to prioritise their tasks in finer detail than the MoSCoW method. I look forward to sharing it soon…