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Seven illustrated intranet lessons

Seven illustrated intranet lessons

View the whole graphic for saving or sharing [1.3MB].

Seven things about intranets I learnt the hard way
Disappearing Sponsor

1. Disappearing sponsor

I’ve had a few projects where there’s been an enthusiastic sponsor and everything has been running great and then they’ve been re-assigned to another project and the whole thing came to a grinding halt. Even worse, their successor may begin to ask for measurable improvements and it’s too late to measure the ‘before’.

Next time

Data2. Relying too much on the data

Sometimes intranet projects get stuck in a rut of gathering more and more requirements. Sometimes you have to stop and ask “Do we know enough about the main problems to get started?” The underlying issue may not be the data, but that nobody is willing to make a decision to start.


Some of your intranet should look like your org chart.3. Over-personalising

If you personalise too much – and people don’t understand the logic behind it – then it feels creepy. Moreover, people get disorientated. It’s like taking them blindfold to the exact aisle of the supermarket and thrusting all the ‘relevant’ products at them.

4. Carried away with design principles

What people find hard is not the act of clicking, but the mental effort involved in deciding what to click.

Adoption + Effort5. Forgetting the late-adopters

Late adopters aren’t just people who are slower to pick up a new way of working. To get them onboard, recognise that they have different needs and values.


Governance signpost6. Over-zealous governance

Governance is about changing behavours, not a set of rules.

Devil boss7. Fixing everything at once

Think big, but ensure every step adds value on its own.

You can support organisational change with an intranet, but not drive it.

Whenever you can, bring people with you

View the whole graphic for saving or sharing [1.3MB].

Many thanks to Bonzai Intranet for creating this infographic based on the 7 Things About Intranets I Learnt The Hard Way webinar we did together.

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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