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Collaborative Design: are the right stakeholders at the intranet table?

We have all been part of projects that get stuck in loops of feedback. It’s a painful place to be, and it’s the primary reason that we developed our Collaborative Design stage for intranet builds.

It’s a crucial step to avoid going down the path of the endless project. Whether the intranet build is intricate or straightforward, we’re willing to bet that at one point or another you’ve found yourself pursuing a few lines of doubt:

  • if we could sit down as a team for 30 minutes, this project would be finished in no time;

  • I wish we all bought into this project with more enthusiasm;

  • there are questions about this project we should have addressed before we got this far.

There is no question that building the ship correctly from the start gives us tremendous confidence that we can stay on course. As we mentioned in our previous post, “Timing is everything: how to achieve efficient intranet builds and roll-outs,” some of the clearest positive feedback we receive from our clients relates to how we manage projects effectively and efficiently.

Our secret? Gather and collaborate with stakeholders early to build momentum quickly.

Sounds straightforward, but in large organizations, the many moving parts and priorities often prevent the most important people from sharing feedback at critical junctures. In fact, a great number of intranet project delays occur due to the lack of decision makers’ availability. It’s understandable. We all have a number of different projects happening at any given time, and stepping away from core business needs can seem like a distraction.

Too many vendors and providers overlook the importance of collaboration and buy-in from key internal stakeholders. A frequent mistake is believing that once that project gets going, those who skipped out on the early stages will delegate decision making or sign off without criticism. Unfortunately, it’s more common that they swoop in mid-project with concerns or questions that halt all progress – and sometimes require a full reset, to the frustration of all parties involved.

We developed our approach specifically to head this issue off at the pass. Early in our engagement with clients, we call for all major decision makers to participate in our Collaborative Design sessions. These pre-defined design meetings ensure we have the right goals, direction, and input as we lay out the structure of the intranet. Getting this input before diving in is critical to ensuring that the project moves forward efficiently. The up-front commitment saves time and pays dividends down the line.

Our Collaborative Design sessions start broad. What are the goals and objectives? What are likes and dislikes? What is the company culture and how should that be considered in the intranet’s look, feel, and capabilities? Having a foundation built on the answers to these questions allows us to assess the Information Architecture, present concepts through live demonstrations that give decision makers the ability to see and interact with the UI, and ultimately develop a tailored governance model.

To build intranets that empower the organization, we ensure that the vast majority of design decisions are made early in the process and with the right stakeholders at the table. This gives us the insight, momentum, and consensus we need to develop and deliver a fully customized, visually stunning solution.

To learn more about our phased intranet build approach, read our previous post or contact us directly at

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