Innovation Management

The forgotten project management skills every intrapreneur needs to cultivate massive impact

Intrapreneurs need different project management skills compared to entrepreneurs because they have to work in an established environment

Project management skills: Business case development

Intrapreneurs have bosses, corporate structure (in some cases), and a current direction the company is heading in. Changing direction will require a business case. As you create a business case for your idea, build out a framework to show how your idea will make the business better. Make sure you can answer questions like:

Make sure your business case answers all possible questions

What is the end goal?

In all cases, this will eventually be more revenue. However, the question becomes what revenue-generating lever you are improving.

That could mean you’re bringing in more leads, increasing conversion rate, increasing upsell and cross-sell potential, and more. Instead of simply saying “this project will increase revenue”, show the pathway from the key goal you have and revenue – this will not only make your business case more compelling, but also easier to measure.

What business needs make this project necessary?

Sure, you have an idea to increase revenue – but if revenue is the sole goal, then you could just as easily suggest selling ice cream on the street as you could a new upselling campaign.

In your business case, make sure you address which core business needs will be served by the project (side note: this is where company vision and values come in; show your project aligns to long-term growth, not just a few extra dollars of revenue).

Why are you the right person to lead this project?

This is tricky, because it can make any intrapreneur feel defensive. The key here is to show you have:

  • Specific expertise or passion in the area
  • A strong desire to take on new challenges combined with a business case for the idea or initiative
Show you're the right person to lead a project

The easiest way to put yourself in a position to take on an intrapreneurial venture, whether leading a team or trying something by yourself, is to start within the bounds of your department or experience areas.

After showing your success in one area, you can take on new projects in passion or career-growth areas.

How will you compensate for your other tasks?

As an intrapreneur, you already have a full-time job. While some intrapreneurial projects may take you away and dedicate 100% of your capacity to the project, most will not. Be sure you are showing how you will continue to get your work done at a high level.

Having this answer will show you have a practical mindset and understand you aren’t just taking on extra projects for fun or to escape your job (if you are trying to move from your job, though, you can be upfront that you’re looking to test new projects for a career move. You’ll still need to perform your job while running those tests).

Project management skills: Time management

As an intrapreneur, you’ll need two forms of time management skills.

Time management for your day job

Because you’ll be taking on extra work to do your intrapreneurial project, make sure you have the time management skills to complete your day jobs tasks.

Other key project management skills involve time management

This could mean sacrifices like working late or working through lunch some days, but it’s also an opportunity to be creative and think of how you could get your day job work done with less time.

Finding creative ways to complete your day job more efficiently is another hallmark of the intrapreneur; instead of using more time, create time in your day to take on cool projects.

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