Intranet Project Names Some Ideas
by: David Viney
กWhatกs in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.ก
In this famous quote from Act II of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and the fact he is a Montague and she a Capulet (warring families) means nothing to their love.
However, there is some strong evidence from the UKกs Cranfield University and elsewhere that the name one gives a project does have a marked impact on the behaviour and motivation of the people involved. It may surprise you, but the name you give to your Intranet Project could well be the most important decision you make in the early stages of mobilisation!
The Direct Approach
There is an argument in faour of naming your Intranet Project the wait for it กIntranet Projectก! Often, socalled กsecret squirrelก names (where one has to ferret out from colleagues what Project Banana is all about) serve only to create an unnecessary air of mystique (fit only for secret M&A projects). They can also serve to be divisive, by separating กpeople in the knowก from people outside the immediate project audience.
The functional approach
A functional name focuses on what the intranet does (e.g. search, find, access). This enjoys the same benefits as the direct approach, but affords one a little more poetic license. What about names like กProject Connectก or กProject Gatewayก, which serve to signal the core กmust haveก requirements for the project?
The conceptual approach
There is a problem with the direct or functional approaches; Research from Cranfield has demonstrated that people on projects tend to be very heavily influenced in their actions by the name of the project itself. If you call your project the Intranet project, it is a working intranet (i.e. the technology) that you will get. If your ambition was something much more visionary, such as a wholly new way of working for your people, you are likely to be disappointed!
The conceptual name targets what is achieved by the functionality, rather than the functionality itself. For example, if your company name was BigCo and your purpose was seeking to get everyone in the company working together, you could call the project กProject OneBigCoก or กProject Unityก. For the aforementioned new ways of working objective, you could use กProject Future Workplaceก.
The abstract approach
The abstract approach deals with how the project makes people feel. For example, กProject Blissก (for happiness), กProject Wizardก (for magic) or กProject Pulseก (for fastpacedness). Although one world usually fails to capture all you are trying to achieve with an Intranet Portal, this approach can prove highly effective (particularly where countercultural).
If all else fails
Nothing grabbed you so far? Well there is no saving you, then! I suppose there are always the standard fallback options: names of greek or roman gods, names of planets, names of birds and names of dances. These have the added value that if you spawn followon projects in a sequence you have readymade logical followon project titles. Incidentally, กProject Mercuryก would be my recommendation for planets or gods (as Mercury was the roman god of communications).
For more ideas on project names, why not check out my presentation in the Intranet Portal Guide.
About The Author
David Viney (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of the Intranet Portal Guide; 31 pages of advice, tools and downloads covering the period before, during and after an Intranet Portal implementation.
Read the guide at http://www.viney.com/DFV/intranet_portal_guide or the Intranet Watch Blog at http://www.viney.com/intranet_watch.
This article was posted on November 08, 2004
by David Viney