Operational Excellence

Ultimate Project Intake Template to Streamline Project Management

Written By: Ray Waldron
May 16, 2024
9 min read

Ask any project manager. They’d agree having a crystal ball to predict project success would be invaluable. But short of having a crystal ball, you can’t guarantee a project will flow smoothly. You may not know whether a project aligns with your company’s objectives until you’ve crossed the finish line. By implementing a well-defined project intake process, you can determine which projects will steer you toward success and which ones will lead you astray.

Project intake is the first step in effective project management. It ensures only the most valuable and feasible projects move forward and that each fits your company’s objectives and resources. Having the right project intake template is critical. Companies that standardize their process for evaluating projects can ensure they understand the benefits and impact before committing.

Ready to learn more about what makes a great project intake template? Let’s explore the key components and cover some best practices for putting your template to good use.

The Importance of a Project Intake Template

Starting a project can be chaotic. Once a client signs their contract, project managers begin the mad dash to organize documents and prioritize tasks. Before they can assign tasks and set deadlines, they have to understand how the project fits into the project ecosystem.

A project intake template captures key project information in a structured, logical way. This usually includes the project scope, objectives, resource requirements, timelines, and benefits. It makes it easier for everyone, especially project managers, to understand priorities.

The template also offers a set of checks and balances for determining how well the project aligns with company goals. Likewise, it provides stakeholders with visibility and insights into project selection and resource allocation. For example, a PM or other decision-maker might decline or sideline one project because another project better aligns with the company’s goals and requires similar resources.

Key Components of a Project Intake Form Template

Every project has its nuances, but your intake form should be the same no matter the project. Here are a few pieces of information you’ll always want to include in your project intake form template.

Project Details

This section provides context for the project. It categorizes the project, indicates project objectives, and states a clear deadline. Requestors should address the current status of the problem the project will address or improve, as well as the urgency of the project (high, medium, low).

Requestor Information

Who is the project owner or point person for the project? What’s their contact information? You’ll need to know who’s overseeing progress and answering questions as the team gets to work.

Project Scope

Having a clear definition of what the project will (and will not) include helps ensure you’re on the right path. Include a list of key deliverables and desired outcomes.

Project Budget

Get clear on the dollars and cents. What’s the overall budget for the project? How will the requestor allocate the budget throughout each phase of the project, and how will they manage and track expenses?

Evaluation Criteria

The information provided in this section will help you determine if a project is a good fit. Does the project align with your strategic objectives and business values? Do you have the resources to deliver a final product? The answers to these questions will give you clear project priorities.

Approval Workflow

Make it clear who needs to approve the project request before it moves forward. Those requesting a project will want to know when and how they’ll receive notifications about the status of their request.

Supporting Documents

Request any relevant files and assets in the project intake form. Not having the right documents when a project begins can be a stumbling block that causes delays.

Why Not Excel?

Excel is a powerful tool for many things. The project intake process isn’t one of them. While you can squeak by using Excel for basic project intake management, Excel lacks the features needed to manage high volumes of project requests.

  • Integration with other technology. Your project intake form should integrate seamlessly with your task management solution. If you have to manually input data from Excel, you increase the likelihood important tasks or details will get missed and waste valuable time.

  • Centralization and visibility. Excel documents can easily get buried in emails and downloads folders. Project intake forms should be visible across the organization so there’s clear rationale to support project selection and resource allocation.

  • Approval workflows. Excel doesn’t offer a structured way to define and follow a project intake process, which can create inconsistencies and cause delays.

  • Accuracy and optimization. With Excel, you run the risk of data duplication and errors. Formatting inconsistencies and typos can create inaccuracies that impact project evaluation.

  • Scalability. As your list of project requests grows, it becomes more difficult to manage an Excel document. Filtering and sorting are time-consuming tasks that take away from the project management process.

  • Data security. If you don’t have the right access and version controls on an Excel document, your data is fair game to anyone who opens the file.

The bottom line: Excel might seem like a quick and easy solution, but it can quickly become a bottleneck for project intake.

Related: Ways Project Task Management Software Increases Productivity

Best Practices for Using a Project Management Project Intake Form Template

The project intake form is intended to make life easier for project managers and enhance project efficiency. That’s why it’s so important to nail down having the right components in your template.

But aside from including the key components listed above, what can you do to ensure your project intake form template keeps you organized and helps you make more informed decisions?

1. Keep it clear.

If you want clear information, you have to ask simple questions. Don’t overwhelm requestors with unnecessary questions. Your project intake form should focus on capturing the information that’s critical for your initial assessment. As the project moves forward, you can create a list of questions to ask during the project kickoff.

2. Give straightforward instructions.

Pretend you’re requesting a project using the project intake form. You have a request and you need to communicate the details so the right team can begin working. The only thing standing in your way is the intake form.

When creating your project intake form, you’ll want to make completing the form as simple as possible. Give requestors clear-cut guidance on the information you need and specify what format you expect to see in each field.

3. Use different question formats to streamline form completion.

One way you can simplify your project intake form is to change up your question formats. For example, you can include a mix of open-ended, short answer, and multiple-choice questions to make it easier for requestors to complete the form. This can also help you save time as you’re reviewing requests and categorizing projects.

Bonus tip: Explore using conditional logic if possible to show or hide certain sections of the form based on a user’s previous answers. Having to answer ‘N/A’ to a question that’s not applicable can frustrate requestors and lead to lower completion rates.

4. Make your form easily accessible.

Even the simplest, most user-friendly form will have few completions if people can’t find it. Add this to the list of reasons Excel documents don’t make good project intake forms. You’ll want to host your form on a user-friendly platform that all requestors can access. If the form is saved to a team member’s desktop, it may never see the light of day.

5. Give yourself time to review requests.

Your intake process should include some breathing room from request submission to review. Once you’ve standardized a timeline for processing a request, make sure you communicate that timeline with requestors. The last thing you want is to receive constant emails and messages from impatient project owners inquiring about the status of their request.

6. Promote awareness and demonstrate value.

Getting people to follow a new process is often an exercise in change management. The best thing you can do to encourage form completions is to educate stakeholders early on. Share the purpose and benefits of the project intake from. Show them how completing the form will help project teams deliver a finished product that exceeds their needs and requirements. You’ll also want to establish clear and open lines of communication for questions.

7. Integrate your form with your project management tools.

Digitizing the project intake process and integrating it with your project management tool saves valuable time. You won’t have to pull data from the intake form into your PM software or worry about dropping the ball on important details. Plus, your project management tool should allow you to create specific tasks and workflows based on form submissions so you can assign them to users.

Related: Efficient Project Intake Processes

8. Continuously improve and evaluate.

Think of your project intake form as a living, breathing document. You’ll want to regularly review and refine your intake form based on usage data and feedback from requestors and project managers.


There’s no shortage of benefits when it comes to adding a project intake template to your project management toolkit. Templates help ensure project requests follow a consistent format so you don’t have to go chasing information or interpret vague requests. When you have the right information about a potential project, you can make better decisions and prioritize projects based on their urgency and level of impact. As a result, you reduce the risk of saying yes to projects that are more likely to stall out and drain your resources. Data collected from your project intake form will also give you valuable insights into project trends.

Feel free to use the key components above to adapt and expand your project intake form. Remember, the goal of this form is to generate better project outcomes based on your company’s unique needs.

Did you know 19 percent of project management software users cite the project request intake form as a key feature they want but don’t have? If this sounds like you, Quickbase’s easy-to-use and highly configurable platform could be a great fit for simplifying your workflow. Give it a try for free today!

Picture of Associate Content Marketing Manager Ray Waldron set against a lochinvar background
Written By: Ray Waldron

Ray Waldron is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.