ReINforcements – Resources for In-house Teams: Poof! Here’s the PIF

The showcased PIF (Project Initiation Form) was generously submitted by Marci Dillon from The Companion Group. Below are a few of her insights regarding her use of the form…

The actual form is a live PDF that requesters can fill out using their computer or, print and fill out by hand. They seem to like it and compliance has been very good after the first few bumps in the road. It really makes everyone think about the details that go into a project. It took the support of management to really make a go of it. The selling point is how much more efficient the work is when we have all of the details up front.

One of the more interesting fields (to me) is the NEED IT BY field. The first version had a a notation under it stating that ASAP is not a date. Cheeky. : ) On this second version, I made it so that it defaults to a date, so there is no choice but to commit to the calendar. We got permission to reject ASAP’s as it only served to wreck time management.

We have adapted the request form for projects other than packaging now that everyone is used to it. To be sure, there are still the occasional emails or verbal requests for some things and we do accommodate that, but the big projects must have a creative request. The creative request will never replace a conversation with the person requesting, and I wouldn’t want it to. I usually follow-up with at least a brief conversation of some sort. It helps.

As a postscript, I think if the creation of such a document, like any design project, is undertaken with the involvement of the end-user and considering their unique needs, it can’t help but succeed.

2 thoughts on “ReINforcements – Resources for In-house Teams: Poof! Here’s the PIF

  1. PR

    My in-house team recently updated our project request form, and included things like “What words best describe how you envision the look and feel of this project? Sophisticated, Edgy, Traditional…”, “What’s your least favorite color?” and “Who is your target audience?” because we needed our clients to really (really!) think about what they wanted and why. It starts the conversation between designer and client, and I think helps us get to goal faster as we don’t have a lot of back-and-forth on look & feel. Plus, we don’t hear “I don’t like it, I hate red” anymore ; )

    What I’m interested in about the form you posted is how to create the “Needed By” field that defaults to a date – this is a GREAT idea!

    1. Marci

      The fill-in fields can be the format you wish it to be. With your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro, go to: Tools > Advanced Editing > Show Forms Toolbar > (draw a text field box) double-click the box to get the Text Field Properties window. Scroll over to Format, choose your date style.

      A correction: When I revisited this request form to check my information, I see that when some format other than the pre-assigned date format is entered, the user gets a pop-up window asking for the correct date format, in this case, mm/dd/yy. So, It isn’t exactly defaulting to a date, but rather insisting on the pre-determined format for the date.

      Have fun!