Having worked in intranets for over a decade now I know how easy it is to forget who all the work is really for and who else might be affected by the decisions we make.
I have found it useful, especially when changing things , to try and keep the users and stakeholders of my intranet in the forefront of my mind. I manage this by using an approach I call the ‘User/Stakeholder Map’. You can use the map to consider who the key users and stakeholders of your intranet are and, as it’s in a simple graphic format, you can print it off and tack it to a wall so that it is visible to your intranet team at all times.
If parts of your intranet are dedicated by site, department, job role etc. it might be beneficial to map each of these areas individually as well as producing an overall map of the entire intranet. Of course there is a condition that you need to fulfill before you can attempt to produce a map – you need to do some user research.
Although it might be useful to raise a map as a thought exercise its real value will only be realised when it is based on good, thorough research. You need to find out who your users are and whether key groups of users can be defined. You need to find out who your stakeholders are. The most important ones will usually be internal – management, business goals, content owners – as well as external stakeholders such as government legislation, sector standards and of course the public at large . From this you can see that ‘stakeholders’ do not have to be human – ‘legislation’ can be a stakeholder as can internal documents such as a ‘business plan’.
In order to give you the idea I have put together a fairly generic User/Stakeholder Map which you can access below as a Word document. You may notice that some groups, such as management, can appear twice as they are both users and stakeholders. Can you add anything else to the map? Or perhaps you’ve thought of a better way yourself? If so please comment below.