Leaving the organization gracefully

We all know that your personal mailbox, agenda and personal documents will be deleted some time after you leave the organization.

But recently we have seen that more and more team content is stored (and automagically shared) on personal OneDrives, which means that when someone leaves, that shared content will be deleted and lost.
Owners may not be aware that they are the owner of the video, file or Whiteboard, and that these resources live on their OneDrive.
Colleagues of leaving employees may be in for several unpleasant surprises.

I tried to compile a list of things to look for, so if you are the leaver, you can check these items and decide if they needed to be handed over. You will save your colleagues, your manager and your Microsoft365 admins a lot of hassle!

Yes, the manager will have control of your OneDrive for some time after you have left, but

  • do they know enough about the details of your work to know what to keep and what to let go?
  • do you really want to burden them with this?
  • do you want to leave your remaining colleagues in the dark about team stuff?

If you know that a colleague is leaving, you may want to help him/her with checking NOW which content you need after they have gone.

Step 1: Teams Meetings

Are you the organizer of a regular Teams meeting? The meetings will keep running, but nobody will be able to change dates or times, add or delete invitees, or manage the meeting details. At this moment it is not possible to transfer the ownership, but I think that is in the Roadmap.
It is therefore important to either

  • Stop or cancel the meeting, and ask a colleague to re-schedule it. This will mean that meeting links and resources will change. This is the best suggestion for smaller meetings.
  • For meetings with many attendees, a collague can duplicate the event by opening the meeting, clicking on the … and then “Duplicate event”. The meeting will the be copied with the same invitees. The new owner can then remove the old organizer and make sure times and recurrence is OK. This will send a message to all people in the meeting, but in any case you do not have to add them all again.
    This will also change link and resources.
  • Check meeting chats for important files or attendee reports or recordings that needs to be safe-guarded in SharePoint.

Step 2: Regular files – copy or move to Teams/SharePoint or delete

  • Documents
  • Attachments (from Outlook)
  • Notebooks
  • Pictures
  • Office Lens
  • Transcribed files

Step 3: Special files

I have based this list on the various OneDrive folders as described in my earlier post “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Microsoft Teams Chat Files : everything you have shared in private chats

Do you realize that all those screenshots, funny videos and other stuff, that you have ever shared in a private chat (which means: not shared in a Teams channel) live on your OneDrive and will therefore be lost when you leave? It will not be big issue for that silly gif that made your colleague smile when they were feeling down, but there may be relevant documents or screenshots that your colleagues want to keep.

So, you can either check the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder in your OneDrive, or scroll through your private chats. Upload the files to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site or send them as attachment to your colleagues. (Usually not recommended, but they will need their own document)

Now you will understand why Matt Wade, in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams, says: “Work should not be completed in private chat”. (Page 14) ūüôā

Microsoft Teams Data: Meeting notes from Teams meetings

This contains the Meeting Notes you have created in Teams meetings. I personally do not use this very often to take notes, as I think the functionality is rather limited, but it is helpful in emergencies. Additionally, it does not open easily from OneDrive, I had to select an app to open it (it is an .mht file).

Do you have Meeting Notes that you would want to keep? Copy the text into a Word or OneNote document in the relevant Teams/SharePoint site.

Recordings: Videos from Teams meetings

Another shared resource that is being stored in a personal location. Make sure you move the video(s) that need to be kept to Stream or Teams/SharePoint.

Whiteboards: Sketching sessions (can be from Teams meetings)

At this moment Whiteboards are still stored in Azure, but they will follow the Recording path and be stored in the OneDrive of the person who creates the Whiteboard. This is expected to happen in October 2021, according to the Microsoft Roadmap.

I expect you will be able to copy/move Whiteboards, and I will update this post when I know more.

Step 4: Applications

Forms – the Forms themselves

Please check out my earlier post on how to handle Forms when you leave.

Forms – files from “File Upload” questions will be in a folder called Apps

If the Form will still be running after you leave, please move ownership of the Form to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site as mentioned above.
If you still need these uploaded files, whether the Form is still running or not, please move them to the appropriate Teams/SharePoint site.

This question type will create a folder in your OneDrive to store the documents – please make sure they are preserved if they are still needed!

Workflows

Power Automate workflows are not stored in your OneDrive, but they are personal. Your Flow will keep running (if it is not something in your personal apps, of course) but if it needs an authentication, or needs an edit, it will need a new owner.

You can simply share the Flow with a colleague, so you co-own the Flow.

In your “My Flows” you can select the workflow and share it with your successor. Make sure they have permissions to the source info!

If you have not done that before you leave, your Administrator will be able to hand it over to your colleague. But hey, your Admin is usually busy enough and all those individual fixes take a lot of time! ūüôā

How to manage orphan flows when the owner leaves the organization (microsoft.com)

Stream

Do you have any instruction videos that may be useful later, or do you have any old meeting recordings that should be kept?
In Stream, go to “My content” and then “Videos” and see what needs to be transferred. Open the video in question, click the … and select “Update video details”. See screenshot.

More info: Permissions and privacy in Microsoft Stream – Office Support

Here’s how to start changing ownership of a video. Not the most obvious wording ūüôā

PowerApps

I do not have too much experience with PowerApps, so I have found a blog that explains how to transfer PowerApps: HOW TO: Change PowerApps Owner | Todd Baginski’s Blog

Lists

For lists in a SharePoint site, you do not necessarily have to change ownership, as generally all Owners will be owner of the List.

For personal lists, that live somewhere in your OneDrive, it may not be so easy. You will have to recreate the list in a SharePoint site. You can use the Excel file as a basis (see my earlier posts on the topic). I hope Microsoft will make moving a personal list to a SharePoint site easier in future!

SharePoint sites

Make sure you appoint another Owner if you are the only one (which is not a good idea, I always suggest to have at least 2 Owners for backup)

You may also want to check the permissions to content that is important for the team, and make sure it will still have an Owner after you have left. Appoint another Owner or, even better, make sure that the permissions of that content follows the permissions of the site.

Have I missed anything?

Or do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Please let me know!

Update 7 June 2021:

Good addition from Loryan Strant, I do not have too much experience with the apps mentioned (except for OneNote, of course) but be aware if you are using them!

9 steps to clean up your OneDrive

CleanOndrive-headerAs mentioned in earlier posts, the majority of my colleagues have 2 GB of storage space in their OneDrive and some struggle to stay within those limits.

So, we are currently helping them with cleaning up and giving them some tips on how to keep within boundaries. It may be interesting for you as well!

1. Empty the Recycle Bin

You may want to start with a clean slate, so let’s empty the Recycle Bin first. If, during cleaning, you accidentally delete too much, you will have fewer documents to search through for restoring. Also, emptying the recycle bin will free up space!

CleanOnDrive-recyclebin
Click “Recycle bin” on the left-hand side and then “Empty recycle bin”

2. Check the size of your OneDrive

It helps to know how much stuff you have, and how much you need to remove. So, click on the Gear wheel top right, click “OneDrive settings” and then select “More settings”. You will pass a useful screen with notification options – worth looking at but out of scope for this post.
Then click “Storage metrics”.

CleanOnDrive-size
Almost there!

On the next page you will see the lists in your OneDrive site collection (it is a SharePoint site collection, after all) and the amount of free space is shown top right.

Cleanondrive-storagesize
Look at the top right of the page to see how much free space is left.

3. Move shared documents to SharePoint or Teams

Sharing documents in OneDrive to collaborate on is great as long as the document is not final. Once it is final, please move it to a SharePoint site so it can be part of the team’s collective knowledge and make room in your OneDrive.
Do not hoard shared OneDrive documents – if you leave the organization your OneDrive will disappear with all its content. (After a period when your manager can access it.) We frequently get questions about lost shared documents as many people appear not to be aware of this. ūüė¶

So, check out which documents you share and with whom. Do you still need them at all? Do you still need to share them or are they ready to live elsewhere?

cleanOnDrive-shared
The overview of the documents I share with others – “Departmental docs” sounds like an excellent candidate to be reviewed and moved!

If you want to move the documents to SharePoint, go back to your “My One Drive” section, select them and then click “Move To” from the grey bar and select the SharePoint site where they will live. (Make sure you follow that site so it appears as one of your first choices). The documents will be deleted from your OneDrive in the process. (If you want to know how Copy To and Move To work, read my earlier post and also my post about the risks)

CleanOnDrive-moveto
Moving documents to a SharePoint site

If you have many documents to move, you may either want to do it in smaller batches or use Copy To and delete the documents after you have checked that they have all safely arrived at their SharePoint destination.

And if you no longer need the documents you share, you can just delete them.

4. Create or Request a SharePoint or Teams site

In case you have no location at your disposal, create or request a SharePoint site or a Team (which comes with a SharePoint site) so you can share documents with your project team or department.

5. Find the largest and the oldest documents

Unfortunately you will have to do this by folder, as you can not create views without folders. Although OneDrive is a SharePoint site, it misses some cool SharePoint functionality, such as the option to add metadata columns and create views, or the possibility to add templates. (note to self: submit to User Voice ūüôā )

The following paragraph has been added in May 2020:
* Please be aware that Microsoft365 adds folders to your OneDrive when you use certain applications. The “Attachments” folder to store email attachments is one, but Apps (contains Forms documents), Microsoft Teams Data, Microsoft Teams Chat files and Pictures can also contain a lot of documents that you may not be aware of.¬† Read my post on this topic*

Open a folder and click on the pull-down arrow next to the File size column and click on “Larger to smaller”.¬† Determine whether the largest files need to stay on your OneDrive. They may fit on your SharePoint or Teams site as well, so you can Move them there, or perhaps they can be deleted.

cleanondrive-sortlargest

Then sort for the oldest documents by clicking the pull-down arrow next to the Modified column and selecting “Older to newer”. Generally you will have accumulated quite a lot of documents in your career. When projects have been completed or interest has waned, you might as well move them to a SharePoint archive site, a records center (in that case they should have been moved there long ago!) or delete them.

6. Remove versions

This can make sense for very large documents that you have worked on intensively and that you want to keep. There may be several versions that take up space.
Select the document, click the ‚Ķ to the right of the name, and select “Version History” from the menu.

CleanOnDrive-remove version1
How to go to the version history

You will now see the versions.
If you are still working on the document, it may be safer to remove the oldest versions only.

CleanOnDrive-rremoveversion2
Click the version you want to remove and select “Delete Version”. Repeat if needed.

If your document is final, you can delete all versions and keep the latest version only. If there are many versions involved, the quickest route is to go to the Storage Metrics (see par. 2), click on “Documents” and drill down until you see the document.

Ondrive-versions3
This is a good way to remove all versions in one go.


Click “Version history” on the right of the document and then you will see an option to delete all versions in one go, leaving the last one.

ondrive-version4
This is the best way to delete all versions in one go.

7. Move private files to a personal location

While it is all too common to have a mix of private and organizational docs on your systems, your OneDrive is primarily meant for organizational stuff. Your private info should not be here, especially if it takes up valuable storage space.¬† You also do not want to lose it when you leave the organization, right? So, move your personal files and photo’s to your private OneDrive (now with extra-secure Personal Vault), iCloud, Google Drive, a USB stick or another place.

8. Empty the Recycle Bin and check storage

Hopefully this has helped you get below that 2 GB. If you, you need to repeat and be a little more strict this time around!

9. Repeat regularly

In order to stay below the limit, go through these steps again on a regular basis.

Do you have tips?

Do you have experience with colleagues whose OneDrive fills up quickly? Any suggestions that we can use?

5 steps to clean up your Outlook on-the-web mailbox

CleanOutlookheaderSome time ago we introduced the Microsoft365 F3-license into our organization. I work in a health care organization and the majority of our staff is providing care and counseling to our clients and patients. They work mostly with the official patient/client data application. They do not use Office365 heavily.

The F3-license differs in the following aspects from the E3 or E5 license used in larger and more office-based organizations. (See also Marijn Somers’ post on this topic)

  • No desktop apps – it is all online
  • 2 GB Outlook mailbox instead of 100 GB
  • 2 GB OneDrive instead of 1 TB
  • No Delve app visible (on the Office365 landing page) or available (on mobile devices) – but I have a workaround
  • A few limitations in Skype-for-business – as F3 users can not organize meetings or share content. Teams meetings appear not to have these limitations, by the way. (I have had varied results so I am a little careful)

When we made the change, about 10% of users had more than 2 GB in their Outlook on- the-web mailbox, so we sent them a message about what was going to happen and gave them suggestions for cleaning up.
I have noticed that there is a vast amount of support for Outlook on the intranet but it is mainly for the desktop app and trust me, there is a BIG difference between the Outlook desktop and Outlook on-the-web.
BTW, I just found Nate Chamberlain’s tips to clean up your Outlook desktop!

So, here’s what we advise our colleagues. Feel free to re-use and embellish!

1. Empty the Deleted Items folder.

Apparently there is no tenant-wide option for Outlook Online to empty the the Deleted Items folder when you log out. (It is possible for the desktop app)
So, it is possible that you have years of Deleted Items in that folder, eating up space! If you know your Deleted Items are there to be deleted, the fastest way is this:

  • Right-click on the name Deleted Items in the left-hand menu
  • Click “Empty Folder”

CleanOutlook-deleteditems
You do not even have to open your Deleted Items folder in order to empty it!

If you have > 500 messages in there, or if you want to check what you are deleting, it may be best to do this in batches:

  • Open the Deleted Items folder
  • Select a number of messages
  • Click “Delete” from the top bar
  • Repeat when the selected items have been deleted

CleanOutlook-selecteditems
Open folder, select items and click Delete is a more gentle way to clean up.

The deleted messages will be stored in a new place. You will see this in your Deleted Items folder, called “Recover items deleted from this folder”.
The “Recoverable Items” works like the SharePoint or OneDrive Recycle bin. You can restore messages back to their original location within 14 days (default) or longer (tenant setting) after deletion.
Items in the Recoverable Items do not consume storage space. 

CleanOutlook-deleteditemsrecoverable
I only recently discovered this nifty option to recover deleted emails! It is in the Deleted Items folder.

CleanOutlook-recoverable

Select an item, click “Restore” and your message will be back to the original folder, i.e. Inbox or Sent Items or what not.

Now that your Deleted Items is empty, let’s go to the next step.

2. Check storage space.

There used to be a cool function in Outlook On The Web that showed you the storage space usage of each folder. However, with the most recent version (August 2019) that option has gone, so you can only see the total storage now.*

  • Click the Gear Wheel top right and then “View all Outlook settings”
  • ¬†Go to “General”, then click “Storage” and you will see how much you are using.

CleanOutlook-storage
Sadly, not a lot of detail here.

When a F1-user reaches 1,98 GB of storage space, they will get a warning message. (This is default, but the warning limit can be lowered by the Exchange admin if you want to give people some more breathing space)
They will also no longer be able to send messages at that point. So it is important to keep well away from 1,98 GB.

3. Clean up your largest folders.

Deleted Items, Inbox and Sent Items are generally the main storage space hoarders. Depending on your organization’s settings, Junk Mail can be a biggie, too.
So let’s start there with two sorting exercises:

a. Sort on largest items

In your Inbox, click Filter (top left), then Sort on Size, largest on top.
Check if you still need these messages. If they contain large attachments, save the attachments to OneDrive. You can move them to SharePoint later, if needed.
If the email text is important, you can save it as a PDF and store it on OneDrive or SharePoint.
Delete the message once you have safeguarded the content in another place. Or just delete it if it is no longer of value.

CleanOutlook-filterlargest
How to sort the contents of a mailbox folder on size.

b. Sort on oldest items

In your Inbox, click Filter (top left), then Sort on Date, oldest on top.
Do you really still need the oldest messages? If yes, store them in OneDrive or SharePoint as above before deleting.

Repeat steps a. and b. for Sent Items and any other folders that contain a lot of data.

4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 (and perhaps 3).

I have helped a lot of colleagues through this process and these steps were usually sufficient to get below the 1,98 GB threshold. If not, you will have to take step 3 again and be a little more strict.

5. Auto-empty the Deleted Items folder.

Now that you have a cleaner mailbox, you will want to keep it that way! You can empty your Deleted Items automatically after sign-out as follows:

  • Click the Gear Wheel top right and then “View all Outlook settings”
  • ¬†In Email, go to Message Handling, check the first box and click Save.

CleanOutlook-emptydeleteditems
How to make sure your Deleted Items is emptied on a regular basis.

Another time, I will discuss a few more ways to save space and hassle!

It was fun writing this post – my own mailbox is smaller now as well ūüôā

——————–

* For as long as it lasts (November 2019), there IS a way to see the individual folder size.

Use this link and this will take you to the old interface where you can see the individual folder’s size:¬†https://outlook.office.com/owa/?path=/options/mailboxcleanup

CleanOutlook-foldersizeindiv
For as long as it lasts: the old Outlook interface. You can see individual folder size + do some deleting from here based on message age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have all permissions gone?

Permissions-imageSometimes people¬†tell me that ‚Äúpermissions to their site have just disappeared‚ÄĚ. They always sound angry as if SharePoint is to blame.
But permissions do not disappear by themselves, unless there is a major issue in the SharePoint setup, and I would have heard about it had that been the case.

Whether you like it or not, in most cases it is a result of human action. However there are more human actions that can mess up site permissions than you may think.

So here’s a list:

1. Could someone else have done it?

You may not be the only one managing permissions. And if there are no other people with Full Control on your site permissions level, there may be people with Full Control in lists or libraries, as in this case:

What a library with broken permissions looks like.
In this¬†library ¬†permissions are different from the rest of the site and there is an additional person with Full Control in the library. (“Volledig beheer” is Dutch for “Full Control”. My site has some weird language settings)

Also check people with Manage Hierarchy, because they can do that as well.
There may even be some specific permission levels which have “manage site permissions” in their role.
Additionally, there are site collection and system admins who, in theory, have the power to make changes. They should never edit permissions unless explicitly requested by the Site Owner and only when the Site Owner can not do it, such as restoring access if a Site Owner has accidentally removed him- or herself from a site.

2. Does your site have inherited permissions?

I once experienced an issue with a few sites with inherited permissions and different Site Owners. When one person removed a number of people from her site the other sites suddenly had “Access Denied” messages all over the place.¬† Ofcourse, she had switched to the parent site without noticing.
Fortunately, in Office365 it is hard to miss the information about inherited permissions.

This site has inherited permissions
It is hard to miss that this website inherits permissions.


3.¬†Have you removed¬†people with ‚ÄúLimited Access‚ÄĚ from the site?

“Limited access” is a¬†tricky thing.
It is a result of broken permissions elsewhere in the site, but it does not tell you where it occurs (in older versions of SharePoint) and which set of permissions this person or group has exactly.

You, as a Site Owner, should know that, but when you have taken over a site, or if there are several people with Full Control, you may not always realize. The only way (in older versions of SharePoint) to find out is to go through each and every library or list (In the ribbon: Library > Library Settings > Permissions for this library)
You may even have folders and sub folders with different permissions, and you will have to go through those as well to find out what permissions which folder has. ūüė¶

To make matters worse, “Limited Access” in a site may also mean nothing, as I have explained in my earlier post.

If you¬†think that all that ‚ÄúLimited Access‚ÄĚ looks messy, you may be tempted to remove them. But¬†that will¬† remove the special permissions they have! Wendy Neal has found out the hard way.

Since writing my earlier post I found that Nathalie Jard has written a very good post about Limited Access.

4. Has someone deleted a site with permission groups that you have re-used in your site?

When you create a subsite that does not inherit permissions, by default 3 groups will be created and added to your site. You can reuse these groups in other sites.
But…if you delete the original site, those 3 groups will be deleted with the site. So people in those groups will no longer have access to the other sites!

Deleting groups when you delete the site.
If you delete a site, you will delete the groups that were created for it.

Now, before I delete a site, I check if the groups have any permissions elsewhere, as follows:

Site Actions > Site Settings > Site Permissions > Click on group > Settings > View Group Permissions.

Check if group has permissions for other content
How to check if a group has permissions for other content

This group only has permissions for this site.
Fortunately this group only has access to this site and not to others.

If they have, I strip the site of all content, remove additional permissions and add a warning to the description not to delete this site.

5. Has someone deleted a permission group that you used in your site?

Someone can also delete a permission group without deleting the complete site, and without checking if that group has access to other sites or content. Always check, as under 4.

So, these are a few reasons why your site permissions may appear to have disappeared “without reason”.
If you want to lower the risk of strange things happening to your site, please read my post on good practices when breaking permissions.

Have you ever found another reason why permissions “disappeared”?

Post title inspired by folksong “Where have all the flowers gone” by Peter, Paul & Mary.

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Intranet spring-cleaning revisited

BlossomtreeIn the past weeks I have asked many users if they still need their sites that are empty or look abandoned. Now we have had a very mild winter in the Netherlands, and the temperatures have not risen dramatically, so there must be different forces at work. ūüôā
But whatever the trigger, I can only conclude that it is time for intranet spring cleaning again!

This interesting post by Mimi Dionne suggests that a cleanup project can very well be managed by the records management department. I think that is a good idea because:

  1. Record retention is important for all kinds of reasons. Not retaining some records is equally important, and users have to be aware of what information they (should) store and keep available. You do not want people to draw the wrong conclusions because they have read an outdated document.
  2. It will be much more acceptable and credible if this is a requirement from the business, and not an “obsession from the intranet team¬†to reduce storage space and complexity”. (Guilty as charged ūüôā )
  3. If the records management department manages the project, there will be objective measures to decide what to keep (on the intranet at least), and less emotional reasons (“You never know if this will be needed one day”, “But I have spent so much time on this presentation”).

I really like the angle of this post, althought I do not agree with everything (Always hire a consultant? Metadata are always available and tell it all?) .

But even if you have no records management department to help you, cleaning up your intranet on a regular basis is always a good idea that will bring many rewards!

My earlier posts on this topic are still current, so if you are in the mood for a spring-clean, please check them out!

It is time for intranet spring-cleaning! For the reasons and benefits.
How do I spring-clean my intranet? For the actual steps to take.
How I archive a site  For that content that must be kept but not necessarily has to live in an active site.
How to win space and not alienate people part 1   and part 2 if reclaiming storage space is your main reason for spring-cleaning

Good luck with your project!  And if you have any successes, or tips and tricks to share, please do!

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do I spring-clean my intranet?

springcleaning2In my last post, I mentioned why it is important to review and remove your intranet content on a regular basis. This time I will share some guidelines on how to organize and execute a cleanup action.
There are systems that automatically send messages to content owners if their content expires.If the owner does not respond in time the content¬†will be¬†hidden, archived and/or deleted. There is an Information Management option in SharePoint for instance, which may be depending¬†on your implementation – I have seen it in on-premise SP2007¬†but not in online SP2010.¬†¬†But in many organizations this is not (yet) automated, or not for all types of content. So I thought I’d share my experiences on this topic dear to my heart.
What do you need?
  • Usage statistics, such as visitors of certain content, an overview of publishers, list of sites and their last¬†change date etc. If this is your first time, collect everything you can find. You will learn what is useful and what not, and what you are missing.
  • A document retention policy. This is essential in determining what really must be kept, such as contracts and dossiers. Your Legal, Communication or Archive Department will be able to help you with this.
  • Criteria. What is an “old or unused group”? One that has not been used for more than 2 years or do you think that 6 months is already long enough to qualify? (Most organizations work with 6-12 months).¬† And¬†does “used” mean¬†that someone has visited the site or that content¬†has been¬†published?
    You may set different criteria for different types of content. A blog with the latest post from 3 months ago may be more outdated than a list of company policies that has not been changed for 6 months.
  • Objectives. How much¬†“ROT” (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) content do you allow? How much content do you want to remove? And “As much as we can” is also a valid objective!
  • Time. It takes really a few weeks (lead time) to do this, certainly if this is¬†your first time and you will have to¬†create the complete procedure as well.
  • Help content for your content owners: how to archive content, how to remove users, how to delete a site.
What are you going to do?
  1. Analyze your data and statistics.
    How many team sites, working groups, pages do you have? How many have not been used for more than 1 year? Do you spot content owners who have left? Do you still miss data and statistics that you can find somewhere?
  2. Set priorities and targets.
    Is only 1% of your documents older than 1 year, then you can focus on another area. Does your list of publishers contain 50% people who are no longer with your organization, you may want to start there! Once again, you will learn what your weakest spots are after a few of these exercises.
  3. Create an action plan.
    How¬†will you communicate your cleaning plan?¬†How long do people get to take action?¬†When are you going to actively delete content?¬†How aggressive are you going to be? If this is your first time, you may want to be a little “sweeter” than when you are doing this for the third year in a row. By then we had found out that a¬†slightly more aggressive approach resulted in more¬†content being deleted.¬†“We are going to hide your blog from April 15,¬† and remove it on April 30,¬† unless you let us know why you want to keep this blog”¬† has been¬†more effective than “would you please inform us¬†if this blog still used?”
  4. Execute your action plan.
    Assuming you will do most of your content owner communication by email, you will receive out-of-offices of publishers who have left your organization, are on sabbatical or with maternity leave. You will have to search for back-up content owners. There will be questions about what exactly should be stored, how you can delete or archive information, who is the successor or how you can remove content from being indexed in search. Be prepared and keep some slack in your planning for unexpected things. Also see this as an opportunity to connect with existing and new content owners.
  5. Evaluate, learn and celebrate.
    What went well and what could be improved next time? Do you want to make adjustments to your criteria, targets or action plan for next time? Where are you going to store your communication so you do not have to re-invent the wheel next time?
    How much content have you been able to remove? Did you meet your targets?  This is a nice example of another succesful cleaning action.
    Are you going to communicate the results and to whom?
  6. Plan your next cleanup action now!
Obviously, the criteria, priorities and targets are specific for each intranet, but I hope these tips are useful to get you started. And as with everything, you will learn by doing!
If you have your own good story on this topic, please share!
Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is time for intranet spring-cleaning!

SpringcleaningPerhaps some of you are doing a regular spring cleaning in your home. But it is also useful to regularly clean up your intranet, especially if there are no plans for a platform upgrade or a merger with another intranet. (A content purge is usually included in upgrade or merger plans). How much dust have your documents collected? How many contributors have left the company? How many Team Sites have been left unattended? All this unmanaged content keeps showing up in search results and taking up disk space. And remember, the usability of your intranet decreases with increasing amount of content!

Is¬†it not the¬†content owner’s role to manage their content?

 There are organizations that leave content purging entirely to their content owners. And that is also their responsibility, of course, especially since they themselves have helped expand the content in the first place.
In practice, however, you can not always rely on your content managers, and that is not always their fault.  There are several possible reasons:

  • The group administrator does not have time to screen content or accounts
  • The publisher is afraid to remove content because he/she does not know whether this has to be kept for legal or other reasons
  • The Team Site Owner does not know which team members have left or changed jobs
  • The wiki-owner¬†has left the organization without appointing a new owner
  • Participants in a group or Team Site have changed jobs and their accounts have not been removed from the content or deleted from the organization’s administration
  • ¬†The project has finished, the project team disbanded, and nobody feels responsible for the content generated

You may expect from¬†your children¬†that they put¬†away their¬†toys after playing with them,¬† but you cannot demand¬†they will clean or mend their toys.¬†That will be the parent’s task. Similarly, some¬†tasks simply have to be done by¬†an intranet team. Because¬†the intranet team¬†usually has a good overview of the total amount of content, they¬†often have more rights to do things on a central level,¬†¬†and they always have the final¬†responsibility!

Why should I worry about old content?

  • ¬†A large amount of outdated content in search results not only gives a bad impression of the overall quality of your intranet, but can also lead to¬†incorrect conclusions¬†when they are¬†based on outdated information
  • People whose role has changed, but who still have access to¬†confidential content, are a risk
  • Systems can be slow if many data are to be searched
  • A negative perception of quality and security does not only backfire¬†to the managers of content, groups and sites, but especially¬†to the intranet team. Remember, it is easier to blame “the intranet”¬†¬†than to own up to your own shortcomings in content management.
  • Old content and accounts provide biased accounts statistics.
  • If you have a large amount of content and data,¬†you will need a large volume of¬†disk space and time for backups

Must I really do everything myself?

No, you should leave some things to the content owner, such as

  • Group and user management
  • Reviewing and removing the actual information, documents, discussions,¬†visuals and so on.

But it IS your job to remind the owners of their responsibilities on a regular basis.

How do I do a good spring cleaning?

 That will be my next post!

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net