Process Improvement

The Benefits of a Robust Project Management Intake Process

March 6, 2024
9 min read

Think of all the active projects you’re working on in your business. Does each project align with your organizational goals and objectives? Are project teams focusing on the right priorities and working at peak efficiency? It can be tough to answer these questions without a clear project intake process.

Companies get bombarded by project requests across all channels—through email, in meetings, over the phone, and through direct messages. Yet fewer than half of those companies use project management tools and practices in their day-to-day operations. Many project managers don’t know where to start or how to help their teams be most productive. Some requests go unanswered when the next steps are uncertain.

These are just a few reasons the project intake process is critical to your organization.

The Strategic Edge of a Project Intake Process

The project intake process involves gathering, evaluating, and prioritizing project requests. During the process, projects are assessed based on how they align with an organization’s objectives and resources. The project intake process helps project managers determine how they’ll receive internal and client-based project requests, what project details they need, and what documentation should accompany a request.

When an efficient process is in place, project teams can prioritize projects and initiatives more effectively. The project intake process is like a built-in filter that helps ensure teams can deliver maximum value. It can also prevent missed deadlines and team burnout once the project begins.

In this article, we’ll dive into some of the top reasons your organization needs a defined project intake process. We’ll also explore how task management software complements the intake process, keeping everyone in the business informed and organized so they can produce their best work.

Reason #1: Streamlining Workflow Efficiency

Say there are ten project requests on a Monday morning. All have been deemed ‘high priority.’ A project manager assigns the projects to the relevant teams. Suddenly productivity comes to a screeching halt. Project teams are unsure how to prioritize their tasks, and milestones are unclear.

A project intake process weeds out requests that create bottlenecks in your workflow. By verifying alignment with the organization’s overall objectives, the project manager can strategically sort and prioritize incoming projects. This leads to better workflow efficiency. It also helps project managers allocate resources, cutting out unnecessary projects to enhance team productivity.

Once the project kicks off, visual workflows are particularly helpful for task management. Teams can easily identify their priority tasks, see what tasks still need to be completed, and anticipate where delays may pop up. After a project is complete, project managers can look back at a project and zero in on inefficiencies to make future improvements to the workflow.

Reason #2: Aligning Projects to Business Goals

Departments within an organization frequently become siloed. One stakeholder may focus on one area of the business while another focuses on a different objective. This often leads to more seemingly random project requests. Teams take on these requests, and as a result, the projects that advance business objectives get overshadowed.

Here’s an even more compelling case for business alignment: Nearly every 10 seconds, companies waste $1 million due to ineffective implementation of business strategy. This results in a loss of approximately $2 trillion every year.

The project intake process prevents these potentially catastrophic losses and keeps everyone operating from the same business goals. When it’s clear how projects are evaluated, business stakeholders can ensure their projects align with those broader objectives.

Project managers use specific criteria to evaluate a project, including:

  • How well the project aligns with organizational objectives

  • Whether the project is feasible and can be delivered with current resources and constraints

  • The project’s expected return on investment.

If projects don’t meet these criteria, project managers can decide whether to push back on the request or put the request on hold.

Unfortunately, requests that don’t become full-blown projects can be hard to track. This is where a task management software solution can provide greater visibility and consistency. It offers a centralized view of your workflow, allowing you to automate trigger-based messages to engage or reengage project teams and project owners when needed.

Reason #3: Optimizing Resource Allocation

Project managers are gatekeepers. A robust intake process is needed to make sure resources are properly allocated. This allows project managers to better forecast project needs and plan for potential roadblocks.

When projects are properly vetted, project managers can determine what resources are needed and who on the team can deliver. If resources are stretched too thin and organizations overcommit to projects, this often leads to employee burnout, project delays, and compromised quality.

The project intake process helps prevent organizations from taking on more work than they can handle. It also gives project managers the data to approach key decision-makers when they need more firepower. Similarly, the project intake process can help project managers avoid underutilization of resources so no resource is wasted.

Reason #4: Enhancing Team Collaboration and Communication

Effective communication fuels successful projects. The project intake process facilitates clear communication before the project even kicks off. When teams have an understanding of the project goals, timelines, and expectations, they can better collaborate to deliver top-quality work.

Teams that understand the scope and expectations of the project are also able to take greater accountability for their work. Straightforward roles and responsibilities reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings, increase team satisfaction, and lead to better overall project performance.

Collaboration isn’t always easy, especially across complex organizations. A task management solution streamlines team communication, allowing everyone to contribute and make decisions together. When decisions are made, this tool also documents communications that may be useful to reference later on.

Reason #5: Risk Management and Quality Control

No matter the size of the project, risks are unavoidable. Sometimes those risks are easy to spot when evaluating a project request. A project manager can usually sniff out an unrealistic deadline or disorganized request from a mile away. But projects can still slip through the cracks undetected.

When organizations have a robust project intake process, project managers can address potential risks before they become problematic. Taking a proactive approach to risk management allows teams to be more resilient and improves project outcomes. Not all risks will derail a project. However, when problems pop up unexpectedly mid-project as a deadline looms, the impact can be significant.

The intake process also helps organizations establish project benchmarks and quality standards. When expectations for project deliverables and outcomes are defined, organizations can complete projects appropriately. Across the entire organization, these benchmarks will also help improve the quality of work produced.

Reason #6: Continual Improvement and Evolution

The most successful organizations are always learning and improving. Project managers can use feedback and performance data gathered during the project intake to refine and optimize their organization’s project management processes. This can help ensure the intake process evolves along with changing organizational needs and industry trends.

Organizations should actively seek input from their project teams and business stakeholders to identify ways to improve the intake process. By incorporating this feedback, teams will be better able to adapt to changing project management requirements.

Should My Organization Have a Project Intake Process?

Many organizations answer this question with a resounding ‘yes.’ When you have a robust project intake form as part of a strong process, you ensure your projects are well-planned and organized, and your team members are on the same page. This is essential regardless of your industry or the nature of your business.

You also avoid the confusion, delays, and pitfalls that are common with improperly prioritized work. Organizations that make more informed decisions about the projects they’ll pursue are less likely to take on projects that drain their resources and don’t align with their overall objectives. As a result, you set the stage for better collaboration and communication among your teams, higher-quality work, and continuous process improvement.

A defined project intake process can even help streamline and simplify the project when work begins. By gathering key information about the project during intake, you’ll already have many of the resources you need to get started. It’s a big win for your project teams and an even bigger win for your organization!

The Benefits of Task Management Software

Once you’ve determined which projects your organization will take on, you need a tool for managing project tasks. The right task management software will empower you to be more productive, increase your efficiency, reduce project stress, and help improve client satisfaction.

There are a few key things to look for in a task management software solution including:

  • Integrations: You’ll want a solution that plays nicely with your existing systems so you don’t have to go chasing data. If the solution offers the integrations you need without requiring custom integrations, even better!

  • Clear Insights: To make smarter decisions, you need fast access to critical data. Your task management software should make it easy to pull reports from across your business, gain insights, and act on them quickly.

  • Dashboards: Does the solution allow you to personalize dashboards based on a user’s role? This makes it even easier to find the data you need, when you need it.

  • Automations: The task management software solution you choose should help remove inefficiencies in your workflow so you can break free from repetitive tasks and eliminate manual errors.

Managing and prioritizing your projects from one centralized location will save everyone in your organization precious time and energy.

If you’re looking for a project management tool that makes it easy to track projects and tasks, Quickbase may be a great fit for your needs. From Quickbase’s easy-to-use and configurable platform, you can organize all the moving parts of your project to make collaboration efficient and enjoyable. Best of all, you don’t have to be a coder or developer to use the platform.

Request a free 30-day trial today and explore how having a clear-cut project intake process and the right task management tool can lead to more successful projects!