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

Time management for the intrapreneurial project

Once you’ve either found or created time to take on an additional project, you’ll need to manage it.

Cultivate your skills for:

  • Creative ways to make the intrapreneurial tasks take less time (same as for your day job)
  • Time-boxing your work to foster creativity and not go over time
  • Project scoping so you don’t end up doing far more work than you planned for
Time box tasks to make yourself more efficient

Project management skills: Task flow and meeting management

A part of time management, you’ll need to ensure all tasks are accounted for, assigned, and completed.

To make task and time management a little easier, you may want to use tools such as:

The biggest benefits of project management tools is you get task visualization and can share them with others. Those others could be your project team, stakeholders, champion, executive sponsor – or a combination.

As part of task management, good intrapreneurs also cultivate meeting management skills.

These skills are especially crucial if you’re leading a team. However, they are still necessary if this is a solo project and you just report to your manager or executive champion.

Project management skills: running meetings!

To kickstart effective meetings, follow this checklist:

  • Send an agenda ahead of time (anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day ahead, depending on how in-depth the meeting is and how much you need people to prepare)
  • Have a “parking lot” for any necessary conversations brought up during the meeting that are not on the agenda (plan another way to discuss those items)
  • A “freezer” for ideas that are necessary, but not time-prioritized (so you keep them “on ice” until you have the time to address them or they come up naturally as tasks are completed)

Project management skills: Communication and upward management

Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs also share this necessary group of project management skills, but intrapreneurs have different stakeholders to pay attention to.

You'll need both upward and downward project management skills

As an intrapreneur, you’ll need to be able to communicate with:

  • The project team (if you have one)
  • Your executive champion
  • Your boss / manager for your day job
  • Project stakeholders
  • Anyone impacted by the project’s outcome

That means you’ll need to cultivate a lot of communication skills, particularly around:

What’s in it for them” communication skills

You’ll have to tweak your business case conversation to show not only the project is good for the business (which is what you share with your executive champion), but also how the project will help other stakeholders like those impacted by the project’s outcome.

“Conversational fluency” in all project items

You may not be technical or may not know operations, but you’ll need to know just enough to get the project through.

This might mean learning enough so you can do a certain task or knowing the right language different groups of people use so you can get the outcome you want.

For example, developers know “PR” as “pull request”, but marketers know it as “public relations”. Knowing the difference – and using the right language – will help you make the project a success.

Upward and downward management skills

The intrapreneur sits in the middle, a leader of their project but still an employee in a corporate hierarchy. Everyone from the newest junior employee to the CEO will need to work on the ability to describe their work in a way that makes sense – and is appropriate – to those around them, regardless of their position in the company.

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