THE CLIENT: The All England Lawn Tennis Club, better known as the home of Wimbledon, one of tennis’s four slams or major championships.
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE CLIENT: The club is growing fast and had recently moved to O365. With more than 400 employees, and more at peak times such as the championships, it had no good way of communicating internally, particularly where people had irregular access to technology. It wanted to improve communication by installing a new intranet capable of being viewed on mobile phones.
The Challenge for Me
CompanyNet’s Kira product is an intranet in a box, based on SharePoint. My challenge was to work with a project team of technical and business experts from both the client and within CompanyNet to build from scratch an intranet for all staff to use within a four month period. I was also responsible for the commercial aspects of this project, which was in the sub £500,000 category. For AELTC, this project was co-directed by Human Resources and Communications, with strong involvement by IT and high levels of support from both the chief executive, Richard Lewis, and the director of IT, Bill Jinks.
WHAT DID I DO?: I managed the project to its successful conclusion, going live to quality expectations, within the agreed budget and to the agreed timescale. This involved co-ordinating: information design, building on earlier work, content creator training, technical design, content co-ordination, user testing, communications, all leading to a successful go live to all staff.
THE OUTCOMES: Site went through three iterations to manage risk; the first phase took us through technical deployment to the deployment of the first version to a group of employees as a pilot. Then this moved to a soft launch, again to a restricted sub-set of employees, but this time many more people than the pilot, and then finally, we went to a hard launch for all staff within five months of me taking the project on.
What were the lessons learned?
1>Early identification of risks help people to work together to come up with solutions.
2>Strong relationships between people from the client on the project team really assist in getting quick decisions.
3>Face to face meetings are brilliant in getting relationships established and pay off later in projects.
4>Strong leadership from the client helps projects stick to the principles established early on – quote your guiding principles at every meeting so they prime participants in discussions. This was agreed as a KISS MVP – keep it simple, minimum viable product and these ideas were really helpful in getting the intranet out to real users, which then made subsequent iterations better. This flexibility keep the project on track in terms of timescales.