Have an Effective Intake Process

A quality intake process is one of the key requirements to effective flow at scale.

Manifesting a quality intake process

The following are required to get a quality intake process:

  • Agree to having the development group pull all of their work from it
  • Agree that product managers and owners load the backlog from which the development group pulls
  • Load the product backlog with MBIs, MVPs, and MVRs so that the backlog has the smallest items that make business sense
  • Don’t allow leaders or managers to circumvent the intake process
  • Keep all work in the organization visible on the product backlog

What challenges will benefit from fixing the intake process

What fixing the intake process improves

Having a quality intake process is one of the five most important things an organization can do to improve flow.  By creating visibility and keeping the amount of work in process under control, it improves almost all of the value stream. Here’s why:

Takes too long to get anything done

The intake process not only is the first step towards controlling work in process, it also makes it easier to see what is required to finish something and get value realized for it.

Working on too many things

The intake process’ pull mechanism gives us a readily available method to control work in process.

Ineffective budgetary process

The intake process is the bridge between business stakeholders and development. By having it well defined and clear it

Work Items not properly prioritized

To validate that work items are being worked on in the right sequence they must be visible.

Lack of visibility

If all work goes through the intake process it can:

  • be part of how connecting work to strategy is accomplished
  • improve the visibility of workflows
  • make ghost IT more visible

Chunks of work too big

The intake process puts pressure on product managers and product owners to use MBIs and therefore have smaller chunks of work.

Insufficient collaboration

The intake process can help teams coordinate because when MBIs are used they know they need to focus on them and therefore tend to collaborate more.

Limited skills / expertise

When an organization has a shortage of skills and/or expertise, a well defined intake process can help avoid pulling a work items that requires people that are not available.

Integration errors

The intake process itself doesn’t improve integration errors, but it great assists teams working together which will.

Ops blindsided and pulled in many directions

Ops is less likely to get blindsided when they can see all of the work coming into the organization in one place.