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Intranets

What Every Intranet Team Should Know: A Book Review

What Every Intranet Team Should Know James Robertson

A book caught my eye last week, because it is written by an intranet expert I follow online, and because it was available for only $1 $9.99 on Kindle (it still is, as of this writing).

As I’ve been wanting to publish book reviews on this blog, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get started.

Background

“What Every Intranet Team Should Know” is written by James Robertson, Managing Director of Step Two Designs. It’s intended to be a guide for intranet teams, distilling the most important ideas that the author and his team have learned after years of working on intranets as consultants.

Did he succeed? Read on.

Contents

To give you an idea of the scope of the book, below is its table of contents:

Chapter 1. Six phases of intranet evolution

Chapter 2. Four purposes of the intranet

Chapter 3. How to find out what staff need

Chapter 4. How to design the intranet

Chapter 5. How to deliver great content

Chapter 6. The role of the intranet team

Chapter 7. How to plan intranet improvements

Chapter 8. Next steps

Pros

  • At 110 pages, the book is an easy read. It’s clearly written, with a review section after each chapter.
  • It gives a good overview for intranet managers and others involved in establishing or running a company intranet.
  • The suggestions provided are sensible and actionable.
  • It links to additional resources for more depth and detail. Most of these are free (more on this below).
  • The author is concerned, not only with helping intranet teams create successful intranets, but also succeeding in their jobs as intranet managers. This is evident in the advice to focus on intranet activities that are both tangible and visible.

Cons

  • Readers who don’t have the necessary training and skills will need other resources to implement some of the recommendations in the book, such as the research techniques listed in Chapter 3 (How to find out what staff need).
  • Sometimes runs the risk of sounding like a promotional material for the author’s other products — some of which are not free.
  • May be too basic for more experienced intranet team members.

Bottom Line

At $1 for the Kindle version, this book is a no-brainer still a good deal as a background reference for intranet teams. However, the published paperback version ($22) may be worthwhile only for inexperienced intranet team members. Expect a good general background on designing and improving intranets. If you want depth and detail, you won’t find them here.

Have you read “What Every Intranet Team Should Know”? Would you recommend it?