How to Improve Your Project Intake Process

Nathan Vander Heyden
Last Updated:
March 25, 2022

Handling the flood of information while working on a single project isn't just challenging. It's a headache.

According to a recent RingCentral survey, 7 out of 10 workers say that their biggest workplace challenge is the volume of communication they receive.

In fact, workers estimate that they toggle between different communication channels 10X per hour.

This tends to generate lack of focused work, information loss, and other issues that lead to disgruntled clients and frustrated employees.

If this sounds like something your organization is dealing with, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.

In this article, we'll discuss how to improve your project intake process so you can handle the flood of information, finish your projects on time — and satisfy more customers.

What’s a project intake process?

The project intake process is your company's system to manage and track incoming work requests.

Typically, this process involves clients filling out a form to submit a work request.

Requests are then reviewed by a manager or team leader, added to a queue and assigned to a project manager.

Some of the benefits of a well-developed project intake process include:

  • Organizational clarity: When requests are turned into projects, they are added to a queue and assigned to a project manager.

That gives the organization a clear view of all the work that is currently in progress.

  • Control work in progress: With an efficient work intake process in place, the PMO and governance team will completely control the amount of work entering the system.
  • Greater consistency: Common templates and tools will give your organization more consistent proposals and make things easier for the decision-makers.

Is your project intake process outdated?

That's how a project intake system SHOULD work. However, if your project intake system isn't up-to-date, it will only create confusion and burnout among your workers.

To help you deal with this problem, we're going to take a look at some of the biggest signs that your process is outdated.

We'll also offer some steps to build a more efficient process that will take your team to the future.

Your project intake process may be outdated if...

  • Work requests are processed manually

Problem: Emails. Instant messages on multiple apps. Quick desk drop-bys out of nowhere. 

With so many communication channels - and styles - it's easy for a person to get lost. Once the messages pile up, chaos ensues.

While micro-teams might get away with manual work requests, as business scales, you need a project intake request process to process everything correctly.

Solution: Automation is the answer. Instead of wasting time manually entering all of the work requests, business leaders need to invest smartly.

It's estimated that leaders waste 45% of their time on tasks that could easily be automated.

Processing requests, finding the right people to handle them, and assigning is time-consuming, not to mention repetitive.

The best solution is to invest in a good collaborative work management tool like ManyRequests that will help you automate the entire process and prevent needless mistakes.

  • Your team members don’t understand their tasks

Problem: You've created a channel for funneling work requests, which is great. You still need to turn these requests into projects.

When multiple teams are collaborating, you also need to determine whose process you should be following, plus outline your expectations for the process.

Nearly a third of professionals have trouble meeting the demands of incoming work requests. 

Even when all requests are located in a single place, teams regularly have trouble translating them into projects successfully.

The biggest reason for delays: changing requirements.

Solution: What can you do to help your team members finish projects on time?

Well, you need to be straightforward and precise in your expectations and instructions. You need to make sure everyone is focused on the same goal and knows how to achieve it.

A survey of more than 300 thought leaders revealed that more than 50% of them think project briefs lack focus.

That's not all.

More than 80% of agency clients believe there's a massive need for more descriptive briefs.

For your team members to take a work request and turn it into a project, they need to have the correct information.

  • Your project lacks strategically mapped goals

Problem: Another problem with out-of-date work requests can often lead to unfocused projects. 

Team members are assigned tasks, but they don't always understand the grander goal of the project.

For many teams, the stream of work requests feels endless. They feel like they're factory workers, working on a conveyor belt, with no end in sight.

If they're being handed their tasks without any explanation or real strategy, they'll start feeling disconnected from their work completely.

Solution: Keep in mind that more than half of workers feel pressured to prove their work to higher-ups.

If they don't know what's expected from them, they'll feel even more pressured and insecure. Feelings of insecurity can easily lead to burnout.

Overwhelmed with too much work, many workers tend to review outstanding work requests only after finishing a task.

But that simply won't cut it. This linear approach will leave urgent requests unattained for too long if they take this linear approach.

The way to handle this is to map out your business goals.

That way, individual team members will be able to prioritize work requests independently. They'll also be able to see the grander goal of their project.

Developing a project intake form

A good project intake form is a must if you want things in your organization to run smoothly.

Like printed forms handed at your local clinic, project intake forms are meant to collect crucial client information.

You need that information to launch your client's campaign. A project intake form collects information like, but not limited to:

  • What type of products/services your client offers
  • What does their target audience look like
  • What are their businesses objectives and plans

It’s all about getting the data you need to get to work.

A good client portal software will take your customer data and turn it into a project immediately.

You won't have to worry about going back-and-forth with your client for weeks.

With ManyRequests, you can generate a form, share a link to it, and let your client fill it out.

As soon as they're done, ManyRequests takes the data from the form and turns it into a project for you and your team.

It also integrates with CRM suites like HubSpot, which allows you to communicate with your customers directly.

If that sounds like something you could use, start your free trial with us today.

Closing thoughts

In today's business world, it's crucial to have an efficient project intake process.

By implementing some of the solutions we've mentioned, you can help your team focus on their work and create better projects.

Remember, a streamlined process leads to happy and productive employees. 

And who doesn't want that?