Susan Evans my colleague from William & Mary prompted this post by asking about Web Governance. During the web redesign process the president will appoint some sort of “oversight” committee, work group, or task force. Eventually the redesign process will come to an end and the question will arise what happens to that group and how do we continue to make decisions about the web?
At Gettysburg we used our “Web Task Force” originally tasked by the President to oversee the redesign as an ongoing group to develop and implement the strategic web vision of the College. After we launched we expanded the group to represent all divisions of the college. In terms of governance I think this is one of the keys. If everyone is not at the table your group won’t be as strong.
One of the first things I did with the group was develop a document about who was on the task force and what we were supposed to do. Without a document like this the group has very little chance of being effective. I decided early on that I did not need an operational group but instead needed this group to focus on strategic items.
Some of the early lessons learned for me was to make sure everyone clearly understood how decisions/recommendations are made, what issues the task force would tackle, and how our meetings would be structured. To get out from under the operational focus I moved our meetings to discussion based and instead of an update that I would normally give at the meeting I started to provide it in writing and just open the floor for questions about the update. This strategy helped move the group from operational to strategic.
We also moved from weekly hour long meetings to monthly two hour meetings which allowed us to tackle the larger strategic issues and provided enough discussion time. This was not the most popular decision but when people feel their time is used well they don’t mind slightly longer meetings.
There are lots of ways to organize and govern the web after redesign but here are a few critical things to keep in mind no matter what your structure:
· Representation – make sure every division of your institution has someone on your team
· Educate – this group can help you so educate them on current trends
· Definition – define what the group does and how it does it