The Phases of Project Intake
Once again, we’d like to emphasize that there isn’t one tried-and-true answer to how project intake should run. This section, however, provides an overview of the general parts of the process:
Phase 1: Project Proposal
As is perhaps obvious, a project intake process needs to start by having projects in the first place. This stage allows projects big and small to come to the forefront. This will often start at the most basic level – naming and clarifying an idea. Next, the project can enter into a time of brainstorming to fully develop the project idea.
Example: Let’s imagine a specific project intake process that is centralized on a physical Kanban board. For the proposal phase, you would fill out a card with basic information about the project and add it to the board.
Phase 2: Project Coaching
If some projects need a little bit more time or attention to fully develop the proposal, some project intake processes may implement a phase of project coaching. Here, experts help by giving input about how the project can better fit with the organization’s vision. Your organization can make the process as painless as possible by setting clear criteria on how the proposals should be submitted including strategic criteria that can be used in later stages to evaluate and prioritize the projects.
Example: In our example, this is where more detailed info is added to the Kanban cards with help from our colleagues, making sure we are ready for the next stage.
Phase 3: Project Evaluation
Ah, the crucial stage of project evaluation: where your beloved projects are put to the test. Ultimately, this phase is where projects are judged as to whether they are aligned with the company strategy and if they are ready for execution. Project evaluation happens in one centralized location, like in a PMO or during a board meeting of your decision-making team. And with a PPM tool, you can visually track the projects being evaluated.
Example: In our Kanban board, we would now move proposed projects into the “ready for review” phase, or something of the sort.
Phase 4: Project Prioritization
Accepted projects are then prioritized based on what is in the current portfolio. This can be on any basis, like from client need to strategy fit. It should also be noted that there can and should be a special, fast-track process for urgent projects, which will then also play into their prioritization.
Example: In this step, the deciding body will organize projects into chronological order, so everyone knows which projects are up when. It can be useful to use a PPM tool that automatically scores projects based on your organizations own strategic criteria.
Phase 5: Project Execution
Finally, once projects have gone through the formalities, you can go on your merry way with your well-formed initiatives, knowing that they have the full support of your organization, as well as support your organization fully.
Example: Leave the board – and get started!