[thelist] What would you like to see in a resource site?

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Wed Apr 19 14:55:58 CDT 2006

Faye Tarzwell wrote:
> I have a new project and it is to create a resource site for our
> team/department. Our department is the technology hub of the company
> and the site would be geared towards the programmers and designers
> (mostly hard core programmers). Now...since this is a secret project
> at the moment I can't just go around asking the people here to give
> their input 

Hi Faye,

I agree with others that you have been placed in an impossible 
situation. Secret intranet project? It's beyond belief - almost an oxymoron.

I suggest two things.

1. Take the very useful generic suggestions that have been offered here 
so far, and put them (and anything you have developed independently) 
into an ideas document. This is to show your boss that you have 
seriously considered the requirements and have done some groundwork.

2. Now the tricky bit. You should refuse to proceed any further with 
this project until the users have been asked for their views. I suggest 
this be phrased in a positive way - for example, in the document you 
create from step 1, you could put forward the next milestone as being a 
research phase, and describe:
a. who you will ask
b. what you will ask them
c. what you will produce from the research - wireframes and so on?

You need to find out the users' desired content AND format. Do _they_ 
want a collaborative system like a wiki, for instance? Suggest paper 
prototyping to validate the research and provide a blueprint for 

If you don't put the brakes on this thing - politely, helpfully but 
firmly - you risk being held accountable for the fiasco that will 
probably ensue if things go too far without consulting and engaging the 
users. At the same time, it's an opportunity to make you and your boss 
look good by delivering a project that does something useful.

Final note - in your position, I would try quite hard to find out what 
the motivation is for this bizarre exercise. Your boss is not requesting 
this for nothing. If you can glean from them what their desired payoff 
is, you may find this information an invaluable guide. Make your boss 
look good while delivering something useful, and everyone wins.

Hope this helps!



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