How to Survive a Zombie Intranet

James Robertson posts an idea for cleaning up a collaboration platform which could work just as well for an intranet or any knowledge sharing platform. Dealing with the baggage and medieval layerings and backwaters of an accumulated, unmanaged environment is one of the biggest challenges in moving a culture to a more productive paradigm, let alone improving the practices and the accessibility of content collections. Everyone has their habituated routes through the maze, so nobody except KM and the intranet team have a sense of the craziness of the whole.

Many of the approaches I’ve seen tend to be Napoleonic in scale – raze the streets and slums and start afresh. But this has intrinsic risks. It assumes you have great architects, and it assumes you can actually plan for the needs of a community that nobody really understands – because its self expression in the current intranet is incomprehensible.

James’ idea has some affinity to positive deviance – figure out first what’s working and not working (ie identify the “undead” and the great exemplars), kill the one and propagate the other, and only after the slum clearances, start to look at what the shape of the now is, and how it should be brought forward. This is not the same as a housecleaning, it sounds far more radical.

Thanks Maish for alerting me to this.

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