Is your organisation’s demand management becoming too, well, demanding?
Posted by Team Sharktower on May 10th, 2023
When an organisation is experiencing continual, complex change (and let’s face it, most are!) it can lead to a steady flow of demand for new projects from different departments.
Overall, it’s a good thing – it means there are new and exciting things happening. But the process for evaluating, reviewing and approving those requests comes with its own set of challenges. And if you are the person in charge of managing this demand, work intake or ‘front door’ process manually, it won’t be long before you start to feel swamped.
Often, these requests are submitted in various formats, which are then logged and progressed in a spreadsheet or offline Gantt chart. And that can create a few problems. Any of these sound familiar?
The approval request document becomes cumbersome to manage and time-consuming to update
The request process is detached from live, active projects and ‘bigger picture’ business goals
Once submitted, project requests are no longer visible to those who submitted them, meaning all communication and progress reports must be carried out manually.
So how do you keep the demand management process under control? Let’s look at the main things – and people – to consider, and how a delivery platform can help streamline things.
If you’re creating or updating a request approval process, there are 4 key things to consider:
Prioritisation: How do you prioritise new projects in line with resources and business impact?
Consistency: How do you manage inconsistent or incomplete proposals that are submitted through multiple channels?
Engagement: How do you keep people engaged if they’re unable to see how project ideas and proposals are brought forward?
Resource management: How do you get visibility of ‘shadow’ projects which may be consuming resources from higher priority projects?
This type of process works best for significant innovation projects such as moving apps or services to the cloud, rolling out advanced analytics, launching a new website or implementing a new ESG procurement process. It’s not intended for general IT requests or product development, which are best handled through their own ticketing systems.
Who (and what) should be involved?
The typical roles to consider in the process include:
Process owner: This is usually the Project Management Office (PMO), but if you don’t have one, the most important thing is to centralise the process and assign clear ownership
Proposal creator: This could be the project initiator or, in larger organisations, a project manager, business analyst, or even executive sponsor.
Proposal reviewer/s: All relevant budget holders and decision-makers
Final approver: The deciding manager or stakeholder
Communication and liaison: Those who own the process should be able to clearly and frequently communicate how the process works, ideally recording actions and decisions at each stage in a central, accessible log.
The stages of a proposal process
The terminology may differ slightly, but these are the usual stages of a proposal process:
New: Proposals ideally submitted in a standardised form and through a central channel.
Explore: Portfolio manager/administrator reviews proposal to ensure it’s complete and aligns to business goals.
Validate: Cross-functional team members review the proposal before it proceeds to governance team.
Finance and business approval: Proposal approved for delivery (or not)
In Delivery: Resources allocated ready for project to begin
Cancelled/Archived: The proposal is rejected or withdrawn
How the process works in Sharktower
Sharktower gives you an easy process to capture demand, evaluate requests, prioritise – and deliver – projects; all in one platform.
Step 1: The request is received and processed
Each new project request is given a card, which is then progressed through the project approval stages. Other cross-functional team members have full visibility, enabling them to review and comment as required.
Step 2: Requests are categorised and linked to a live project or business outcome
Each request can be clearly categorised, labelled and updated throughout the process. When everyone involved can clearly see and understand the process, they can create, submit and review proposals more efficiently and accurately.
Step 3: The request progresses, with participants kept updated through a central log
Live proposals can be visibly linked to existing proposal documents, and all project updates logged in the comments; tagging relevant people throughout the process.
If you’re managing an increasingly challenging number of project requests and want to know more about how Sharktower can help, get in touch today.
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