- Project planning helps ensure ideas become products.
- Before launch, there are a few key steps to take, such as recruiting champions and determining KPIs.
- IdeaScale’s project planning tools are designed to streamline this process.
Project planning is where innovation strategy crosses from the abstract to the tangible. IdeaScale assists in making that happen with our Project Planning tool. Let’s have a look at how you can turn ideas into new products, optimize processes, and much more.
Why Project Planning is Important
A common team building exercise to understand project planning is to hand your group a small budget and tell them to bake a cake by the end of the day. A simple task, right?
Once the team gets started, the task quickly becomes complicated. Everyone has different opinions of the best type of cake, which may not align with what’s actually best for the people they’re serving. Before they can start, the team needs to agree on an ideal outcome.
Once the type of cake is figured out, they have to actually create it. What recipe should the team use? Should they draw from ready-made ingredients, or should they make their own cake mixture and frosting? Is crafting their own mix even possible with the tools they have, and within the allotted budget?
Then comes the baking and decorating. Someone has to watch the cake, time it, pull it out of the oven, and let it cool before it can be frosted and decorated. Most teams can deliver a cake people will gladly eat—but making a cake both they and their audience are happy with is another question entirely.
It’s a good exercise because it emphasizes the need for proper project planning. Even a simple project has a string of decisions that need to be made, and those decisions need to have somebody to take the lead and follow through.
Steps Preceding Project Planning
As part of your innovation strategy, you should have these steps in place before launching a project.
Decide on Metrics
What does success look like for this project? In some cases, the answer is simple—but in others, it could be more complex, and knowing your metrics for success will help you more easily create your roadmap. Say you work with a tech company, and you’ve noticed a trend of users expressing frustration with a process. Your team is tasked with changing that process. Will you measure success as fewer complaints being filed? Are you going to actively survey users? Knowing these answers will help you understand your project scope, time, and cost, and how those will lead you to a solution.
Choose a Drop-Dead Date
This is slightly different from a deadline, and it can vary from project to project. Some projects are going to be long-term, or even ongoing, with the team turning their focus to it when they have time. One example might be running surveys about outside vendors to see if they’re still meeting your company’s needs.
Other projects may not be viable past a certain date. If you’re working on a project for Windows 10 and your company plans to upgrade to Windows 11, you’ll have to consider whether the project is viable after that date.
Pick Your Team
Like in our cake example, each step in the project will need somebody who’s in charge of it, and tasked with delivering results. They should understand their part of the process, be able to commit the time, and have insight into the needs of stakeholders in each step.
The Benefits of IdeaScale’s Project Planning Feature
IdeaScale’s project planning feature helps you set up and launch your projects with valuable tools for every step of the way.
This tool allows your most active innovators and forward thinkers to volunteer for a role in each step of your project plan. They take ownership of an idea you’d like to turn into reality, shepherd it through the process, and serve as the idea’s advocate and champion. It’s ideal for those employees who would like to learn more about idea evaluation, and who can turn a thought into something bigger.
Cost & Value Estimation
Every project comes with a cost, even if time is the only resource used. And few projects go exactly according to schedule and budget. Our cost and value estimation tool lets you work out how much you can spend, and the possible return.
This also works well to understand the cost of ideas that may not have a tangible return per se, but may be implemented for other reasons such as work/life balance, climate impact mitigation, or a social mission. You can get a sense of what you might spend and be ready for it.
Constructing a proposal can be an intimidating proposition for somebody who’s never done it before. Even experienced proposal developers can feel the nerves if they’re pitching to their peers.
IdeaScale’s proposal builder uses existing templates to help your team design the most effective proposals for your project. It’s a great tool for those employees who need to develop experience in a lower-stakes environment before pitching clients and standardizing presentations for a committee. It’s also a good way for champions to organize their thoughts for an idea that’s already been accepted into project development, so they have materials to discuss the roadmap as it unfolds.
Part of the challenge of innovation is putting yourself out there—sharing an idea or opinion. And it can be difficult for some members of an organization to do that, no matter how open and welcoming the company culture may be. Our privacy tools let you decide who can see what, and who can participate in multiple stages of the project planning process. Does everyone on your platform need to see all ideas submitted, or do you want to restrict visibility to specific groups? Or do you want ideas further along the development process to be accessible to everyone or just certain people? Who should be on the cost estimate and planning team?
IdeaScale’s funding tool works in two ways: decision-makers can assign budgets to ideas that they think will be successful or meet certain criteria, or members of your organization can bid on ideas they believe will be successful, using their own budgets.
Turn Ideas into Products with IdeaScale
From conception to planning, and from development to launch, IdeaScale is built to streamline the innovation process, putting a range of tools at your command to recruit teams, collect ideas, and turn projects into products. To learn how great teams create great ideas, request a demo!