My Intranet Bloopers

Bloopers“And, did our French colleagues decide to use the Local News functionality?” my manager asked me one morning, when I had just returned from a visit to our Paris office.
I looked up from my desk in surprise. “How do you know we discussed that?” I asked him.
“Well”, he smiled, “I saw a news item on the intranet”.
Oops! I felt my face flush and did that office floor just sink a few centimeters?  It turned out that I had created a news item, just for demo purposes, and forgot to target it to France, and forgot to delete it. Since I was a global administrator, I automatically published to all countries. So “A new intranet for France’ was visible to all employees, with a “blah blah” as the text. Luckily it was programmed to show at 8 am, and it was only 8.15 am when it was discovered, so the damage was small, but I felt so stupid!

Of course this did not happen again. But others did; and because I always like to see the bloopers on my sitcom dvd’s, I thought you might want to learn about my mistakes too; after all, it makes us human! 😉

Another great blooper was the deletion of a complete Team Site while I was configuring it. Or rather, after I had configured it. I thought I was deleting a subsite, but I was on the top site! Three days of configuration down the drain, and on top of that, I was working in Spain, because that way I could work more closely with the business owner. I had promised him that he would have a working prototype by the time I left, which was a few hours later.
Luckily I had a very able colleague who restored my site in 5 minutes, but it were 5 very long minutes! Since then I have always looked at the URL at least twice before deleting a subsite, so I have never made this mistake again.

But my biggest mistake must have been my failed efforts to streamline our Investment Request process. The Investment Request is a complicated form to ask approval for a large investment such as new machinery, a commercial, or software licenses. Depending on the purpose, the business and the amount it had to be approved by different people, and that meant that the process took a long time and was completely opaque. It happened freqently that nobody knew where the form was or that it was lost completely. Everyone agreed that this needed a better process. And since we agreed that it would be wise to try and use our existing SharePoint platform before blindly buying a dedicated tool, we decided to try and describe the current and ideal processes.

The idea was that the forms would be in a Document Library in a secured Team Site, with a Nintex workflow enabled. We would add the approval procedure to the Team Site, with an agenda of the next decision meetings and the deadlines for submission, to give all people submitting a good idea of what they could expect.

There was general agreement about the process,  but it turned out that the exact routing was decided afresh every time. Even while we had only about 8 people involved in the approval, the sequence varied and I could not find the deciding factor. Did one amount needed a different routing than another amount? Did availability of the participants play a role?  Was it the part of the business the request originated from? I needed this information because the Nintex 2003 workflow was not very flexible and we needed some structure. But I was convinced that with 3 or 4 different workflows we would be able to capture 80% of the requests easily.
I was rather shocked that nobody could provide information on the sequence. Just for a joke, and to make people aware of the strangeness of this situation, I asked if it might be the moon or the pollen count?

As it turned out, this was not appreciated.  I have made a Proof of Concept and tried to interest the business owner to test it, but to no avail. Lack of time, too difficult for his assistant to understand, not flexible enough, all excuses were made.

Still, this is a mistake I will happily make again and again!  I firmly believe that, with a bit of flexibility and structure it would have worked and would have saved the company a lot of time and hassle.

Do you have any bloopers that you would like to share? Please add them to the comments!

Image courtesy of stockimages at


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