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Enterprise IA methodologies: starting two steps earlier


Looks at the use of ethnographic techniques within organisations to understand real staff needs and issues.

Looks at the use of ethnographic techniques within organisations to understand real staff needs and issues.

Published in Technology , Business
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  • Great post, James.

    Strangely, a few days ago (before I've got into this post), I just described my role almost exactly with this '2-steps ahead' approach in pretentious scenario during potential job screening...

    I think its pretty obvious to begin with analysis of the current position/stage/frame of a subject.
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  • 1. Enterprise IA methodologies: starting two steps earlier James Robertson, Step Two Designs (
  • 2. Usually we know the problem, the challenge is to design the solution
  • 3. Within the enterprise, we often don’t fully understand the problem…
  • 4. For example, we’re given a job to implement a call center intranet…
  • 5. This is actually one of the main sources of information for staff …
  • 6. … as are these documents, sitting on every desk
  • 7. These documents were actually the big problem for staff
  • 8. Email was the other big source of pain …
  • 9. Enterprise IA methodologies
  • 10. Typical IA methodology
  • 11. Enterprise IA methodology
  • 12. Key principles
  • 13. Is the identified problem the symptom or the cause?
  • 14. Our methodologies often assume that organisations work like this …
  • 15. … whereas they are much more like this in reality
  • 16. Enterprise needs analysis is ethnographic, focusing on activities and environments
  • 17. You can’t deliver effective solutions to people you haven’t personally met
  • 18. There are no shortage of problems to be solved…
  • 19. … but the real challenge is knowing where to start
  • 20. Let’s use nurses in a hospital as the final example…
  • 21. Summary
  • 22. Summary
    • As IAs, there is a clear solution to deliver, our job is to work out the best way to deliver it
    • Our efforts focus on determine the best design to meet the needs of users (and the business)
    • Within the organisation, things are more complex
    • So our methodologies need to start two steps earlier…
    • First we conduct ethnographic ‘needs analysis’
    • Then we guide the approach, and target efforts
  • 23. Intranet Innovation Awards
    • We have just launched global awards that recognise individual innovations of intranets (not sites as a whole)
    • The awards are supported by a network of intranet-savvy organisations and individuals (including Jared Spool, Tony Byrne, Toby Ward and many more)
    • Entries close by 15 May 2007
    • Get your name in lights!
  • 24. Questions?
    • James Robertson [email_address]
    • Website:
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