Project Intake Process Best Practices to Overcome Challenges
With so many challenges to the project intake process, it may seem daunting to even try to create a process, but a few best practices can help organizations overcome these challenges.
#1 - Consider the Needs of Your Organization
It would be easy to take someone else’s project intake process and use it in your organization, but it just wouldn’t be an ideal fit. A project intake process will be unique to your organization. Ask yourself what your organization needs in the process. How many approvals does a new idea need before it can become a project? How often should you collect new ideas? When you tailor the intake process to the demands and limitations in your organization, you create a better process.
#2 - Involve the Right People at the Right Time
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “too many cooks in the kitchen.” According to our Senior Customer Success Manager, Achim Gnan, you also need to make sure, “you have the right cooks in the kitchen.” At each stage in the process, ask yourself who really needs to be involved at that stage and assign ownership. Appoint a head chef and make sure they have the right cooks to get the job done.
#3 - Continuously Communicate the Organization’s Priorities
A new idea is only helpful if it’s relevant. Make sure anyone submitting a new idea knows what your organization’s priorities are. This will allow them to evaluate their new idea and make any changes if necessary.
#4 - Use the Same Evaluation Criteria for Every Idea
There needs to be a standard by which all new project ideas are evaluated against. If some projects are evaluated by Criteria A while others are evaluated by Criteria B, you won’t be able to compare projects overall. To avoid comparing apples to oranges, develop one criteria that include things important to your business. Some evaluation criteria can include project payback period, risk level and required resources among others.
#5 - Evaluate New Ideas in the Context of Your Current Project Portfolio
New project ideas should be put into context. When you consider new project ideas with your current projects in mind, you make better decisions. Maybe a new project idea would have too high of a resource demand to fit in your portfolio right now or maybe there’s a current project that is similar to a new project idea. A project intake process shouldn’t just answer the question, “Is this a good project?” but also answer, “Is this project good right now?”
#6 - Have a Clear Fast-Track Process for Urgent Projects
Ad hoc projects will always come up and that’s okay. Sometimes regulations change or new demands arise that require immediate action. Have a specific process in place for these projects that need to move more quickly through the process. By outlining a fast-track for urgent projects, you ensure your organization won’t be too slow to take critical action.
#7 - Regularly Review Your Intake Process
Your organization will continually evolve, and your project intake process will too. Make it a regular activity to review the process and adapt it where necessary. Maybe certain steps won’t be necessary in the future or maybe you need to add one more approval. Let your intake process adapt with your business.