Been talking with clients a lot lately about intranet and portal governance. While some start off with questions about “what” it is, all of them want to understand “how” to create good governance.

We have been working furiously on preparing a toolkit around intranet/portal governance that we’ll launch soon. Meantime, I thought I might provide a simple and pragmatic overview here. When we think about intranet/portal governance, these are steps we consider:

  1. Thorough background analysis of organizational and communication strategy and objectives, current metrics and other research, user feedback, etc.
  2. Thorough review of current site (looking at usability, strategic approach, quality of content, etc.)
  3. Analysis of stakeholders (mostly focused on what we really want them to be doing)
  4. Define strategy and criteria for changes and enhancements
  5. Map desired process (consider simple process and complex process for bigger initiatives; include review, communication, testing, training, etc.)
  6. Identify roles of different people responsible for different elements in the process
  7. Define roles and assign performance metrics to each (consider giving them a scorecard with sample objectives)
  8. Update policy and code of conduct with appropriate new content and examples
  9. Document standards and templates
  10. Identify metrics and plan for collection/reporting
  11. Define criteria for custom or personalized content and for content migration
  12. Define guidelines for use of different specific technologies (e.g., wikis, blogs)
  13. Deploy tools and resources to support and connect those in different roles
  14. Provide necessary training

Fourteen steps. We often incorporate usability testing, wireframing and design, but these aren’t really about governance. This is just our view about what needs to be tackled to create a truly great, well-documented and sustainable governance model.

Keep in mind that sustainability is partly about good documentation and great tools. If you take the time to document things well in a way that anyone can use, you’ll be able to better sustain good process. Secondly, giving people the right, simple tools can make all the difference. While this seems complicated on the surface, it’s really not. Keep it simple, be methodical, and you’ll come out with something that can work in any organization.

Perhaps I’m giving away too much of the ranch here, but I thought it important to share our thinking given the escalating interest. It’s not rocket science, so anyone can take it on. At the same time, we understand that sometimes having an outside, objective party facilitate can remove the politics, create more energy and commitment, and teach new ideas and approaches. We don’t mind being the prophets.