4 Best Practices For Project Request Management Using SharePoint
Projects are becoming even more important to delivering business value and objectives.
With fewer resources, tighter deadlines, and more uncertainty, making informed, objective decisions about the project pipeline is critical.
Implementing a standard approach to Project Request Management ensures the right projects are initiated to deliver on key business goals.
Taking a holistic view of the project pipeline makes it easier to manage resources and sequence projects effectively.
Out-of-the-box, BrightWork comes pre-populated with a simple process to track project requests from Draft to Approval and Project Site Creation.
Keep reading for best-practice tips for Project Request Management on SharePoint.
1. Define your process
Start by outlining your ideal process on paper. You will need to decide things like:
- What defines a project in your organization?
- Is there going to be a committee to approve projects? And if so, who is going to be on it?
- What information is needed on the request intake form?
- How many stages are needed in the approval cycle?
- What is the timeframe for approving projects?
- What criteria will be used to rank and approve projects?
2. Create a Command Center
Next, you’ll need to create a PRM “Command Center”, a single place for users to submit their project requests.
Users should also be able to check the status of their requests quickly in this area.
The BrightWork Project Request Manager template is split into four different states:
- Draft: A new project proposal is submitted.
- Review: The relevant individual receives an email notification about the new request.
- Pending Decision: Once assessed, the reviewer makes a decision about the proposal, including sending the proposal to senior management for further review.
- Approved or Rejected.
At any stage, a request can be sent back to the previous step for more information.
Automated email notifications and reminders keep the process flowing.
Below is the PRM command center in BrightWork. As you can see, it’s easy to move through the entire project request life-cycle from logging a request to project site creation after the project is approved.
The PRM ”Command Area” also contains a Resource Allocation list. When submitting a request, users can allocate resources at a high-level to determine availability.
This helps to centralize all request data, streamlining the review process further.
3. Define the Intake Form
Key to project request management is a simple yet standardized project request form.
It’s important to ask for the right information in the right amount.
Too little will force reviewers to go back for more details, delaying the decision.
Too much information will ‘encourage’ people to pick up the phone or start sending details via email, defeating the purpose of the SharePoint template!
The request form also helps to provide clarity about the project, making the review process easier. With a standardized form, comparing and ranking requests becomes more objective across all teams.
BrightWork ships with a simple project request form to help you get started quickly:
In time, you can configure the process to suit local requirements and terminology.
You can also add additional items to your project request form such as:
- Proposed timelines
- Known risk and constraints
- Expected benefits
- Required resources
- Project Sponsor
- Metrics and KPIs
- Supporting documentation.
It’s worth remembering the purpose of the form – to help reviewers make a decision about a project. Updates and configurations should help the approval process rather than adding more complexity.
4. Notify and Update Interested Parties Automatically
Finally, you can’t rely on people to regularly visit the site to find out that there is something waiting in their queue for approval.
In the form above, you can see some fields “Requested By,” “Reviewer,” and “Approver.” All of these people have to take some sort of action on the project request.
In BrightWork, these individuals are automatically alerted about the new request.
If the review process is taking longer than expected, you can send reminder emails to the various approvers.
Once the project is approved, simply use ‘Create Projects’ to launch the project site. During setup, you can :
- Bring key information from the request into the new site. This ensures the team has easy access to details about the project’s goals and deliverables.
- Choose a suitable template for the project. You can also re-use an existing site as a starting point.
Already created a project site before submitting your project for approval? Don’t worry – you won’t lose any work. Click ‘Create Project’ and simply ‘flag this project as already created’. This links the request to an existing site.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness, freshness, and accuracy.
In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.