We all hear these words in association with exercise and other forms of vigorous activity for good reason. The excitement or myopic focus on the fun often overshadows the fact many of us need to make sure we are ready to start but more importantly sustain our goals without dire consequences.  As well, there are so many claims promoted about exercise that claim to allow you to skip the hard work and “get results in minutes per week!”

The same can be true about starting a new employee intranet or portal; exciting new technology, a fresh new look and new ways to engage employees are all exciting goals that cause us to overlook if we have potential issues that would prevent user adoption of the new portal.  Like exercise; age and health history can play a factor.  Will the maturity or age of your company be an asset or will “the way we’ve always done it” be a hindrance? Have you had failed portals or portals that grew stale over time? There could be some history there that needs to be addressed prior to starting a new portal.

Rather than checking with a doctor; we need to be checking with project stakeholders, users and verifying technical prerequisites to ensure success.  Project management professionals call this a Phase Zero to establish if the project is ready to start and get some pre-requisites in place.  There have been wave after wave of new technology for intranets and employee engagement/collaboration promising to make it “easy this time”, just like there are wave after wave of exercise programs that for example claim to get you ready to run a marathon by only working out 7 minutes a day and eating M&M candies.  We know this just isn’t true, change and goals take work and realistic plan, employee portals and the associated pre-requests are no different.

With Employee Portals we recommend the following Phase Zero strategy specifically for user adoption

  • Create a plan for user engagement and adoption
  • Plan on 60-80 hrs of work over potentially several weeks; this is not a 1 hr. meeting
  • High Level Activities
    • Phase Zero for the Phase-Zero (pre-planning)
    • Meetings, workshops and information gathering
    • Create deliverables such as documentation and plan

This will vary by your situation, but potential topics for discussion would be

  • Content Stakeholder alignment and expectation setting
  • Digital Workplace executive management discussion – high level planning and discussion
  • Executive O365 readiness and expectation discussion
  • Change management planning
  • Creating usage scenarios and personas
  • Technical prerequisites such as single sign-on or security compliance
  • Alignment with Microsoft Fastrack vision Path
  • Governance – security and compliance center
  • Long Term training and content owner enablement plan

Potential Project Deliverables could include

  • Vision and value outline
  • Project plan, resource allocations and timeline
  • Project risk management plan
  • Best practices and recommendations
  • Training plan
  • Governance Recommendations

In conclusion, these actives are not assessing the feasibility of a new Intranet, employee portal or collaboration technology but are meant to address any obvious items that could cause the project to fail or not reach the finish line.  Before you let that new piece of exercise equipment, gym membership or fitness goal gather dust check with your Doctor that you won’t be derailed by a health issue.   Likewise, before you roll out that latest technology to your employees, check with a professional like Catapult Systems that you will realize success.