As busy marketers, we’ve all been there: work requests coming at us from all directions, often without enough information to know where, or even if, to begin, or what the final deliverable should look like. Designing a great project request process provides sanity, with agreed upon process steps that allow managers to:
- Weed out redundant or inappropriate requests
- Establish project ownership and accountability
- Confirm that a request supports business goals
- Prioritize multiple projects
- Assign team members and other vital resources
- Monitor budget and phase timelines
- Track and communicate status
- Adjust project parameters, as needed
- Sync the request process with project management software
So, where do you begin?
Manage with a plan that anticipates and captures the necessary stages of the project management process. First, define the fundamentals: What problem needs solving? Who will be involved? What will be done? Second, get going with team member selection and onboarding, and cost and phase timeline estimates. Third, implement the project and monitor, responding promptly to issues and team feedback. Fourth, close out each project properly with team debriefs and stakeholder evaluations.
Execute your project request process using best practices, which should include:
- Define what is a “project” and what is not — know this beforehand.
- Require that your stakeholders complete a project request form — no exceptions!
- Use one request portal for all requests
- Train users on portal access and the submission process to ensure buy-in
- Assign staff to monitor and prioritize request submissions
- Map requests to business goals. This helps provide ROI tracking and reports
Implement a single, uniform project request form to eliminate confusion and chaos.
Request forms should reflect your project management process and be easy to understand and complete. Keep it simple. Complex fields or asking too many questions may deter people or result in incomplete or incorrect responses. Without being onerous, a well-designed form helps requestors clarify project need and desired goals. Here are a few examples of basic project details to gather at the start:
- Project name
- Project owner
- Intended audience
- Predicted benefits
- Budget estimate
- Planned due date
- Known risks and constraints
- Desired metrics and KPIs
- Supporting documentation, if available
Finally, automate your project request process in order to streamline teamwork and reduce errors.
Trying to manage approvals, routing, and execution using old-school, siloed tools, such as email and spreadsheets, is inefficient and invites mistakes. Save time and improve accuracy with a software application that can seamlessly blend both project request and project management functions to ensure consistent request information, automated routing throughout phases, timely reminders and alerts, handy activity and audit trails, and accessible reports with analytics.
Designing a great project request process requires project management fundamentals, process best practices, and scalable software. With today’s readily available automation tools and form templates, project requests and project management are easily synced. You can then focus energy toward business goals, strategize where you want to be, and plan for how to get there.