Why are you having the workshop? To set the guidelines for the information hierarchy of your new intranet and get started with the creation of it. After this workshop, you will have a plan for the further work with the information hierarchy, and the involved employees will know where to start and what they are responsible for.
Who should participate? Depending on your team setup for the process, the responsible employees for the intranet should be the primary facilitators for this workshop. They are the ones making the final decisions. In addition, it's beneficial to have representation from several departments - how many is up to you. If you are a smaller organisation, maybe a gatekeeper from every department is relevant, if your organisation is bigger and more complex, choose the gatekeepers, so that they represent the overall organisation.
What will you need? Relevant employees with knowledge of the current content and experience from the daily life in the departments, post its, pens, whiteboard, whiteboard markers, a big table or a blank wall to stick the post its on.
How can you facilitate the workshop? The following article has three main steps that contribute to one another. By following the steps and answering the questions, you will naturally consider every important aspect of the new information hierarchy.
1) Mapping your current setup
- Lay out information/content you have stored other places (you can create your content inventory usually captured in a MS-Excel spreadsheet if you are changing from an old intranet)
- Map information channels/network drives/etc., where information is stored now, and how they are connected
Each employee should spend 5-10 minutes writing down the following on post its:
- What works well/less well?
- What is most likely that employees are already used to?
This can also be answered if you involve end users in the workshop or have made a survey beforehand. If you are able to get statistics on most visited information in your old hierarchy, this can also work as a representation for the end users and make it easier to answer this question.
Afterwards present what you have written down. Do you all agree? Or did someone point out something that you hadn't thought of yourself? Map your setup with input from everyone involved.
2) Mapping the desired future setup
With the above foundation, you can start working with the desired future setup. You just discovered what works well and what doesn't. This will hopefully give you a clear picture of your current setup, which is fundamental for the next step. Now you will be able to discuss the following questions together:
- Are you clear on your intranet purpose? And how can this purpose also be expressed in the new information hierarchy?
- Depending on where information is stored now, what kind of information should be accessed directly on the new intranet? What should be linked to?
- When do you want employees to get information on the intranet?
Write down a handful of user scenarios - either based on surveys, quotes from colleagues, directly from end users participating in the workshop etc.
- Consider static and dynamic content in relation to the above - what content should be in the wiki area, and what content should be shared via a news article, a post etc.
- Are there any innovative ways to present specific information in new ways?
3) Make a plan
With the above information, start drawing the information hierarchy. Just as a rough draft of the structure considering either a wide or deep hierarchy depending on your strategy. Use digital mind mapping tools, whiteboard, post its or anything that is easy to work with and reorganize when discussing it.
If not all content owners are present, make sure to discuss it with them. This will fill out any gaps you might have overlooked. Additionally, consider the following:
- Testing the draft with end users
- List and prioritize the tasks for making the hierarchy a success
- Set deadlines for the tasks
- Delegate the tasks to responsible gatekeepers, managers etc.
Once you have created a plan for your new information hierarchy, make sure not to get too attached to it. Instead, be open to suggestions and change once end users start navigating and actually use it. Content is always changing, which makes it important to constantly improve and review the structure and move things around if it's not working.
At the same time, having a regular evaluation and looking at a statistics report for your intranet, will show you how the structure is used and by whom. This is valuable information for the further improvement of the intranet information hierarchy.