The purpose of the concept canvas is to provide organizations with a low-cost, standardized way of comparing opportunities.

Stakeholders who identify opportunities are encouraged to put them forward for consideration using the listed fields on what is usually a one-page document.

Organizations use the concept canvas to make efficient and effective priority decisions about:

  • which opportunities to advance to more detailed (read: expensive) analysis
  • which opportunities need to go back for more conceptual development, and
  • which opportunities to drop (before any more time and money is invested in them).
  • What is the opportunity?
    • Contrast current versus ideal state.
    • Use positive phrasing; focus on benefits rather than problems.
  • Why does it matter?
    • Link the opportunity to the organization's strategic objectives.
    • Emphasize alignment with organizational goals, including cultural values or KPIs.
  • Our solution must…
    • Focus on expected outcomes and benefits post-delivery.
    • Avoid locking into specific solutions too early.
  • Our solution might…
    • List potential, additional "nice-to-have" benefits.
    • Encourage brainstorming of benefits before categorizing them as "must" or "might."
  • Our solution won’t…
    • Define what is out-of-scope for the project.
    • Clarify which problems the project will not address.
  • When do we need it?
    • Suggest a realistic timeframe for delivery, considering approval processes.
    • Avoid being overly rigid with start and end dates early in the project.
  • How much will it cost?
    • Provide a range of cost estimates.
    • Account for potential discrepancies between budget allocations and actual costs.
  • Who wants it?
    • Identify the client and high-interest stakeholders.
    • Build a list of supporters to bolster confidence in the project's viability.
  • Where do I sign?
    • Detail the approval process for moving forward.
    • Distinguish between initial concept approval and the green light for detailed planning or business case development.

The Project Concept Canvas offers numerous advantages for organizations considering new initiatives. Here's how it enhances the planning and execution process:

  • Facilitates clear communication: Provides a straightforward format for presenting project ideas, ensuring that key aspects are easily understood by stakeholders.
  • Promotes strategic alignment: Ensures that project opportunities are directly linked to the organization's strategic objectives, improving the relevance and support for potential projects.
  • Encourages comprehensive evaluation: Helps in evaluating projects from multiple angles, including benefits, costs, and stakeholder interests, leading to more informed decision-making.
  • Streamlines decision-making: Simplifies the process of comparing and prioritizing project ideas, allowing organizations to focus on opportunities with the highest potential impact.
  • Defines project boundaries: Clarifies the scope of what the project will and will not cover, managing expectations and preventing scope creep.
  • Supports resource allocation: By identifying a realistic timeframe and cost range, it aids in the efficient allocation of organizational resources, reducing the risk of overspending or project delays.
  • Builds stakeholder confidence: Demonstrates thorough planning and consideration, increasing stakeholders' confidence in the project's success and the team's ability to deliver.
  • Improves project feasibility: By requiring an initial assessment of risks, benefits, and alignment with strategic goals, it enhances the overall feasibility and sustainability of projects.

Utilize this free project concept canvas template to make sure the projects you are doing are the best fit for your organization.

For further insights into managing projects effectively, explore OPEN, our complimentary online project management program, offering a wealth of resources for project professionals at all levels.


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