Here at work we just had a big clean-out of the refrigerator in the staff kitchen. The cleaner would have been kept very busy.
Since I am relatively new to the organisation, I am unsure when the last fridge clean-out took place, but it was clear to me that the time had well and truly come to empty the contents and clean that fridge.
The fridge was empty for only a short time. Soon the fridge was filling up with an assortment of dairy and lunchtime food supplies. There is still plenty of room in the fridge but I can see that the empty space is gradually being eaten away with an array of bright new items. And so it will continue…
Now it seemed to me that intranets and internet web sites are like refrigerators. We start off with a gleaming and empty recepticle full of promise and opportunity. We start filling up the available space, at first with useful stuff we need. Over time we continue to pack more and more stuff in, but without removing all the old stuff that has “gone off” or become stale and useless. Then the fridge is full – full of leftovers and forgotten contents that smother the available space, making the finding of the stuff we now need extremely difficult.
Intranets and internet web sites often follow the same course – filled with stuff that is useful or likely to be used in the near future (those just in case items), but then over time, becomes full of leftover junk and stale, useless content. By this time, it’s pretty clear that action must be taken. The most frequent type of action is the intranet and internet web site revamp – let’s chuck out everything (or almost everything) and start again – maybe with a bigger fridge, in a different colour, and with more accessories!
Sometimes the alarm bells go off before we reach a critical mass of useless and stale items. There may be some glaringly obvious candidates to remove from our sites, and as quickly as possible – the rotten egg sandwich phenomenon! But sometimes the bad content is not that obvious.
The key management issue for intranets and internet web sites is in ensuring that web content is kept fresh and useful for required consumption. Freshness and usability takes commitment to add what is needed and review and act upon the stuff that’s not.
How is your fridge shaping up?