Disciplined Agile

Intake Work

This is how a team pulls in work from their "upstream" stakeholders. The incoming work is examined and if ready it is prioritized and put on the team's work backlog. Incoming work could take on range of granularities, from very high level to very detailed. The appropriateness of the level of detail would be determined by the team accepting the work.

To be effective, we need to consider several important questions:

  • When are we going to accept any new work?
  • Is the requested work ready for us to accept?
  • What types of work needs to be prioritized?
  • Who will prioritize the work?
  • How are we going to prioritize work?
  • What is our overall backlog management strategy?
  • How are we going to manage work items?
Copyright Project Management Institute All Rights Reserved Intake Work v5.6 Consider New Work ContinuouslyDuring iterationFuture iterationsNever Accept Work Determine readinessDisaggregate large itemExplore work itemHand back work item Prioritize Work (What) Learning opportunityFunctional improvementQuality improvementDesired outcome Prioritize Strategic Items (Who) Product managerSponsorProduct ownerThe teamBusiness analystChange control board (CCB) Prioritize Small Work items (Who) Product ownerBusiness analystProduct managerActive stakeholder participationArchitecture ownerOn-site customerThe teamChange control board (CCB) Prioritize Work (How) Customer valueClass of serviceCost of delayDependencyDue dateFirst in, first out (FIFO)MoSCoWOperational emergencyRiskWeighted shortest job first (WSJF) Manage Backlog Lean backlogAgile backlogRequirements (product) backlogUnsequenced backlog Manage Work Items Agile management toolPhysical task boardRequirements management toolSimple digital toolNone

Figure 1. The Intake Work process goal diagram (click to enlarge).

You can use the DA Browser to learn more about the options in the goal diagram of Figure 1. 

Why This is Important

There are several reasons why this goal is important: 

  1. Teams take work in in a manner that reflects their capacity. To work effectively, teams must be able to intake work that is sufficiently defined, appropriate for them, and at a rate at which they can accomplish it.
  2. Control of the flow of work is where the work is being done. The people who are best suited to decide how to take in work are the people who actually do the work.
  3. It enables teams to streamline their overall way of working (WoW). If a team is to streamline how they work, they must have control over all aspects of their work, including how it is brought into the team.

Key Points

  • Every team should control how it intakes work, enabling them to streamline their overall process.
  • Incoming work may need to be reorganized into more granular work items, some of which may need to be handed back to the originating source for further improvement.