Officers and staff card sorting

How we used Agile for content management to deliver a successful staff intranet

In this article, we will explore how we used our Agile experience and customer centric approach to run a successful enterprise scale intranet roll out.

Here’s how we did it in a nutshell:

  • Start with the user in mind.
  • Understand what they are trying to achieve on a daily basis (their top tasks).
  • Digitise those top tasks wherever possible
  • Organise the top tasks where users would expect to find them (don’t use a department structure).
  • Ensure content is simple and to the point
  • Launch, evaluate, adjust if necessary.
  • Don’t stop – recognise it will never be finished.

The journey

The previous intranet was very organisationally focused and contained content that had not been reviewed for some time.  The structure was based on departments, opinion and not data.

We started our journey by speaking to staff in face-to-face workshops, not only to ask them what they needed from a new intranet but to also show them what is possible with modern collaborative business tools as many of them had not come across these, having been in the constabulary for many years.

Officers and staff at a desk sorting cards
Intranet Card Sorting

This, alongside organisational objectives, informed the appropriate strategy for the platform including product selection, the problems we were trying to solve, and a course of action to resolve them.

Testing the site structure
Testing the site structure

We decided to apply Agile principles to the project opting to roll functionality and content out iteratively and adapting to changing requirements and opportunities.  The first phase would be a “BETA” version and would run alongside the current intranet in order to, test the platform and structure before full roll out.

In the run-up to the BETA launch, we ran “top tasks” workshops with users to understand what they needed on a daily basis. These included examples like “how do I book a meeting room?” and “what process do I follow if one of my team is going on maternity leave?”Graph showing the different engagement levels

These workshops captured these top tasks.  We then ran further workshops to group those tasks into logical groupings on related tasks.  This work informed the overall site structure and top level navigation.

We then tested this navigation with simple testing tools outside of the platform itself.  It was only once we were confident we had a good initial structure that we then started to build this onto the platform and begin the initial content population.

Running sprints and the MVP

For the first time as a team, we ran our content work within sprints as well (normally just the domain of the development team).  We started out with a physical board and post-its but after a while, we migrated to Trello as it was easier.

We were also working on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in content terms.  This did change over time based on an evolving landscape as we discovered more top tasks and opportunities going through workshops with colleagues.Board showing a list of content items to do

The MVP was written on the board in the office which was a useful talking point within the team and with users.

Statistics

At the initial BETA launch the platform had:

  • 1153 pages which have been individually reviewed and written
  • 72 Content Authors
  • 30 Team Room owners
  • 39 Team Rooms

To get the product ready for BETA launch there were:

  • 1414 officers and staff directly involved in face-to-face workshops or on-line exercises
  • 583 hours of user consultation, analysis of behaviour, feedback gathering
  • 896 participants in an initial electronic survey
  • 812 individually tracked project/content tasks within the digital team.

Feedback

Initial feedback has been positive.  We have made some adjustments and are currently in the second phase of content work. We continue to run “content sprints”.

The plan is to decommission the old intranet in the next month or so.