The Intranet Management Handbook

by | Feb 21, 2011 | Intranets, Reviews

My latest book, The Intranet Management Handbook, was published on 14 February by Facet Publishing.  Helen Carley, the Publishing Director at Facet, had been trying to persuade me to write a book on intranets for around five years.  Towards the end of 2009 and early 2010 I had been involved in a fascinating project to develop a five-year intranet strategy for an international high-technology company. This project required me to apply all that I had learned since setting up Intranet Focus Ltd. in 1999, and the end of the project seemed like a good time to start on a book about intranet management.  At that time I knew that James Robertson was in the process of writing a book on intranet design good practice, so that meant I could focus on management issues. The original title was The Intranet Governance Handbook, but having written the first draft Helen and I decided that the scope was too restrictive.  The result was a radical restructure of the book and quite a considerable amount of rewriting, but in my view it was worth the effort.

There is a section on the Intranet Focus web site that supports the book, listing out all the end-of-chapter resources. These will be updated from time to time.  There will also be links to reviews of the book, which will be published in the USA by Information Today Inc. in mid-April.

The book is divided into four sections

  • Foundations
  • Technology
  • Operational planning
  • Governance and strategy

The reason for adopting the ‘Handbook’ description is that each chapter stands on its own, providing what I hope is practical advice on eighteen different aspects of intranet management.  The primary persona for the reader of the book is someone who has taken on the management of an intranet, probably as part of another role, and has not had any previous experience of managing an intranet.  One of my heroes is Richard Feynman, the Nobel physicist, and he saw his role as having developed a set of mathematical tools that others could use to solve difficult problems.  This book documents my set of tools, though many have been improved immeasurably though discussions with Jane McConnell, Michael Sampson and James Robertson.  I am very grateful to them for their support and advice during the time I was writing the book.  Over eighty clients have also contributed to the book through the intranet management challenges they have set me over the last decade.

I am constantly surprised at how few books have been publishing on intranets. I suspect the main challenge is getting permission to reproduce screen shots of intranets, especially when the aim is to show poor practice.  By focusing on management issues, and leaving design to James, I was able to write a book without a single screen shot.  If you are looking for screen shots then go to the Nielsen Norman Intranet Design Annual reports!

What the book does contain are my opinions on quite a number of topics.  You may disagree with them, but in doing so the process may help you come up with your own solutions to the challenges of intranet management.

Martin White