The Notes app on my phone is full of half-baked, nonsensical ideas that really shouldn’t be shared with anyone. But I’ll share one here just to illustrate my point (and there will be a point!)
One note reads: “Hair tie, wallet, sunscreen, Apple Watch, Gatorade.” Amazing, right?! (It’s just a list of things I need to take on my bike rides.) Another reads: “AI talk. Wittgenstein – ‘The rest is silence.’” We may never know what to do with that one… and that’s okay.
The point is, great ideation often starts with underdeveloped concepts that need a little help, a little fleshing out before they’re ready to see the light of day. But instead of keeping those ideas in your Notes app or bothering colleagues with constant Slack pings of “Hey! I have an idea…” PMs need a formal process for gathering, organizing, and developing these ideas.
That’s where project intake can help. As the Project Management Institute put: “Creating an intake process is likely the most impactful step that an organization can take.”
So, what does project intake entail and how can you start building out your own project intake process? Read on to find out:
What is project intake?
Project intake is the process of documenting, organizing, and assessing new project ideas. During this process, project owners and stakeholders can flesh out the scope of each idea by adding important information like goals, budgets, and potential risks.
Once ideas are scoped out, they can be assessed for rejection or approval. Approved projects are deemed worthy of moving on to the project execution phase. Meanwhile rejected projects can either be adjusted as needed, stored for later, or thrown out altogether.
Why is project intake so important for PMs?
It might sound surprising, but many project managers skip the project intake process altogether. Instead, they might just funnel all ideas — no matter how half-baked — into the project execution workflow. The problem is that this can stop up the workflow and flood it with projects that aren’t actually ready to be executed yet.
With a formalized project intake process, however, PMs can separate in-progress ideas from ready-to-go ideas, making it easier to communicate with stakeholders and manage their portfolio.
Going further, here are some of the biggest benefits of project intake:
- Streamlined idea creation. Project contributors might come up with ideas on the fly or they might be tasked with submitting, say, three new ideas every quarter. Regardless, a project intake workflow provides a dedicated place to house and document those ideas for future execution.
- Enhanced communication. No more flooding people’s email inboxes and Slack channels with off-the-cuff brainstorming. Instead, you can use a project intake workflow to keep all project information in the same, easy-to-access place.
- Improved documentation. Even if a project doesn’t get approved, it can be stored in the project intake workflow and revisited later, perhaps when there’s more funding available for that idea.
- Boosted project efficiency. A formal project intake process helps ensure that all contributors have the information they need before starting on project execution. You can use project intake forms, for example, to document goals, budgets, resources, and stakeholders. You can also begin to prioritize new projects based on their value and risks, so you know where to focus your time and energy going forward.
Basically, project intake is a necessary step towards project execution and success. It may seem tedious, but with the right tools and strategies, it can streamline your project development and help improve results. Plus, it’s much better than the alternatives: Sending a slew of emails to higher-ups, DMs to colleagues, and voicemails to yourself — or, of course, flooding your Notes app with incoherent ramblings and Wittgenstein quotes…
Ready to build your own project intake process and improve project efficiency? It’s easy to do with Proggio. Book a demo to get started.