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Process Improvement

How to Create Different Types of Project Intakes

Written By: Ray Waldron
April 26, 2024
8 min read

Project intake is the initial phase of the project management process where organizations receive, evaluate, and prioritize project proposals or requests. From the initial capture of the ideas within the project, assessing feasibility, and alignment to strategic objectives, project intake provides the framework for determining “go” or “no go” for any project, regardless of size or scope.

During project intake, key stakeholders across the organization can weigh in to collaborate, laying the groundwork for effective project planning and execution. Working together, teams can ensure that these stakeholders have a voice in determining resource requirements, identifying risks and potential short/long-term impacts, and KPIs for success of proposed projects.

As a critical first step, project intake serves as the gateway to success by ensuring that viable and strategically aligned projects are pursued, maximizing the efficient allocation of resources. This sets the stage for a successful outcome by providing clarity, direction, and strategic alignment from the outset, enabling projects to deliver a meaningful contribution to an organization's mission and vision.

Yet, too often, this critical step of project intake suffers from the lack of a repeatable, efficient process that can speed scoping, resource allocation and decision-making. Without that process, every project starts at “zero” and must be recreated every time, without the opportunity to import critical data and metrics from similar projects that can help get them off the ground quicker and easier.

Let’s explore the opportunity to create this process and how you can make it part of every project intake and delivery.

Adapting Project Intake for Various Industries

A good example of where a process or template for project intake can help comes when approaching projects in specific industries, where a tailored approach to suit specific needs, challenges, and characteristics of each sector is a prerequisite.

For example, in technology-driven industries like software development, the emphasis may be on rapid evaluation of innovative ideas to stay ahead of competitors. In construction, where safety and regulatory compliance are paramount, intake processes will frequently have a heavy focus on risk assessment, safety/compliance, and permit acquisition. Meanwhile, healthcare industries could prioritize patient-centricity and compliance with medical standards or regulations like HIPAA.

Ultimately, a “one-size fits all” approach to project intake is not feasible because of industry-specific adaptations. Here, again, a process can deliver tangible benefits; even if you are a specialized business only serving a specific sector, the amount of variability in regulations, compliance, safety, environmental or other related considerations can take up valuable time and resources when initiating a project. Having a library of process templates, combined with data and information on these variables, makes it easier to scope projects.

Let’s examine some of these industry-specific project intake needs, and methodologies…

Construction and Manufacturing

Construction and Manufacturing are two industries driven by projects that are complex, highly regulated, operationally driven, and resource intensive.

These industries often involve large-scale projects with extensive logistical challenges, intricate supply chains, and stringent regulatory requirements. Every project has to weigh business or revenue considerations against these factors, ensuring a thorough evaluation of project feasibility, risk assessment, and resource allocation, mitigating potential disruptions and cost overruns.

As such, the intake process is critical, requiring a level of precision that pulls data and informational inputs from physical and digital sources. Here, a repeatable designed around that level of detail and precision can help streamline project planning, optimize resource utilization, and proactively address the complexities inherent in construction and manufacturing projects. This lays the foundation for successful project execution that delivers on compliance needs while ensuring profitability and industry competitiveness.

Agile Project Management & Retail

In the Agile project management methodology, project intake is a crucial starting point hen kicking off iterative and flexible project lifecycles. Unlike the traditional “waterfall approach” of linear project progression, Agile emphasizes continuous planning, feedback, and adaptation throughout the project. So, while project intake in Agile involves similar steps of gathering requirements, prioritizing tasks, and defining the scope in collaboration with stakeholders, it does require more of a specialized Agile project intake process that accounts for the rapid development iterations - known as sprints, a hallmark of Agile - where teams deliver incremental value to stakeholders.

In retail task management software, where agility and responsiveness are paramount, the need for effective project intake processes is paramount. Retail environments are dynamic, with evolving customer demands, market trends, and operational challenges. Here is where a process steeped in the Agile methodology can be a huge benefit.

Any intake for a retail management should reflect the dynamic environment they operate in, with procedures to identify and prioritize tasks quickly, such as inventory management, merchandising updates, and customer service enhancements. Here, adopting an Agile project intake form can be a huge benefit in creating a repeatable process, identifying and accommodating changing requirements and emerging needs at the start of and throughout the lifespan of the project, and facilitating collaboration between teams and enabling seamless coordination and alignment of efforts across departments.

This flexibility lets retailers optimize tasks, resources, and time-to-market, driving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction and retailers stay competitive, adapt to market shifts, and deliver enhanced customer experiences.

Creativity and Design

Creative and design projects have unique stakeholder considerations, calling for tight alignment with client expectations, creative vision, and project feasibility. Once again, here is where a creative project intake form can be foundational, capturing essential details such as project objectives, target audience, brand guidelines, and desired aesthetic. Often, this form provides a structured framework for initial discussions between clients and creative teams to arrive at a shared understanding and “buy-in” for project requirements and goals.

Looking closer at a graphic design project – with unique requirements – it’s obvious that a specific graphic design project intake form can be an advantage in capturing specific design-related aspects, including visual preferences, color schemes, typography, and imagery requirements. Standardizing this process in a graphic design project intake form streamlines communication between clients and designers, reducing misunderstandings and iterations. Design concepts are aligned with a client's brand identity and messaging, while leaving room for creative interpretation and innovation by the design team.

Additionally, a design project intake form can expand to include broader design initiatives beyond graphics, such as product design, user experience (UX) design, and architectural design. A comprehensive form that addresses project-specific and detailed requirements - such as functionality, usability, and technical constraints - facilitates efficient workflow management, resource allocation, and project planning. Productivity is enhanced, enabling a focus on delivering high-quality creative outputs. Overall, these creative intake forms play a crucial role in streamlining workflow, fostering collaboration, and ensuring successful outcomes that align to brand and creative priorities.

Information Technology

IT project intake has some of the variability and special considerations of other industries due to the dynamic nature of technology and its impact on business operations. Factors such as compatibility, security, scalability, and integration with existing systems call for careful evaluation during project initiation.

Again, the creation, and use, of a specialized IT project intake form template can play a crucial role at project initiation, providing standardized frameworks to capture project requirements, assess risk, and allocate resources. These templates streamline the intake process, ensuring consistency and completeness in project proposals. Additionally, they facilitate communication between stakeholders, align expectations, and expedite decision-making. Overall, templates enhance efficiency and effectiveness in IT project intake, enabling organizations to better manage technology initiatives.

Project Management Offices (PMO)

Project Management Offices (PMOs) play a pivotal role in the effective management of diverse project portfolios across organizations. PMOs centralize project management functions, providing oversight, standardization, and strategic alignment across projects of varying scope, complexity, and objectives. In establishing consistent methodologies, processes, and tools, PMOs streamline project initiation, execution, and delivery, promoting efficiency and reducing redundancy, accounting for proper resource allocation, risk management, and performance tracking, enabling informed decision-making and proactive problem-solving.

In managing diverse project portfolios, PMOs also enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing among project teams, leveraging lessons learned and best practices to boost project outcomes. As a centralized hub for project governance, reporting, and communication, PMOs enhance transparency and accountability, enabling stakeholders to monitor progress and make timely adjustments. They can serve as catalysts for organizational agility, resilience, and success by ensuring that project portfolios are aligned with strategic objectives and executed with precision and effectiveness.

A specific PMO project intake form can streamline the project initiation phase by providing a structured framework for capturing essential project details, objectives, and requirements. This form ensures consistency and completeness during the PMO project intake process, enabling thorough evaluation and decision-making by stakeholders. Additionally, an intake process associated with this form facilitates alignment with organizational goals, resource allocation, and risk assessment early in the project lifecycle. Standardizing that intake process enables organizations to optimize project initiation, reducing ambiguity and enhancing transparency, and fostering efficient project planning and execution, leading to improved project outcomes and organizational success.


As discussed above, project intake can benefit greatly from a library of templates reflecting common projects in an organization and industry, with the ability to connect that library to data and information related to those project types. That way, you are “reinventing the wheel” for every project, and you can benefit from any learnings from previous intakes.

Low-code/no-code tools, like Quickbase, are a perfect fit for this approach to project intake, especially for those in complex and diverse industries, like construction and manufacturing. Quickbase’s platform is designed expressly for non-technical users to build apps and connect information, making it easy to initiate projects efficiently, thanks to customizable templates and drag-and-drop functionalities that simplify project proposals creation.

With a library of ready-made app templates for reporting and connecting teams, Quickbase can facilitate transparency and accountability throughout the project lifecycle, providing real-time tracking and updates. By making it easy for virtually anyone to initiate projects and streamline the intake processes, Quickbase activates levels of agility and innovation in complex industries and help ensure projects have the best chance at delivering outcomes to drive innovation and organizational success.

Picture of Associate Content Marketing Manager Ray Waldron set against a lochinvar background
Written By: Ray Waldron

Ray Waldron is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.