Thought Leaders

How The Savvy PMO Does Demand Management


Part 1: Improve your work intake process

Could your work intake and demand management processes use some sprucing up? Have no fear, the Savvy PMO is here! This blog series is for you whether you are inundated with work requests, need a more streamlined process, require better scoring and prioritization, or have other challenges with demand management.

Using a formalized demand management process, your organization can collect and evaluate work requests consistently and transparently.

Your team of experts can objectively assess all incoming work for alignment to strategy, risk mitigation, customer impact, overall improvement, financial benefit, capacity, and more. As a result, you can better select the initiatives that align to your business goals and strategies and continuously deliver value.

In this blog series, we discuss four ways you can improve demand management in your organization. This post covers guidelines one and two.

1. Capture Initial Work Requests

The Savvy PMO knows that employees are a great source of ideas, but they need an easy way to submit them. The challenge is to create a vehicle for work ideas and requests that doesn’t overwhelm the organization. Here’s how to start small and then, once you’ve had some success, gradually increase adoption over time:

  • Collect the right information from the beginning: Design a work intake form suitable for both requesters and approvers. Collaborate with team members to determine required field types and information, including data that should be hidden at certain gates to streamline and simplify the process.
  • Design different request forms as needed: One size does not have to fit all. Create the intake form and approval process best suited for the work being requested, different departments, or sets of requesters.
  • Create an intake flow for work in flight: This will help to manage change requests and update existing work.
  • Initiate the process: Start capturing work ideas and requests from your team(s).

2. Direct the Work Intake Process

Your work intake process should be strategic, consistent, easily understood, and visible to everyone across the organization. A strong process will enable you to kill unnecessary work requests fast, defer or place low-value work on hold, and advance high value work quickly.

Use gates as required to organize the flow, collection, and evaluation of information. Match approval gates to the decision points of your business process. Gather the supporting data and evaluations logically to streamline the process.

The Savvy PMO sets stages such as those depicted in the image below. While this image includes eight stages, these stages may not be required for the type of work being requested. Customize the stages your organization establishes that makes sense for your work intake process.

To smoothly get through these stages or your own customized set, consider doing the following:

  • Trust your experts: Allow your experts to move intake requests along in the process workflow as appropriate. Equip them to evaluate each request’s merits, ask for additional information, and make go/no-go decisions at each gate.
  • Automate the project intake flow: Automation speeds up the process. You can set up automatic notifications for events such as gate entry and requests that have stalled at a gate. You can also alert your approvers when it’s time to take action, along with reminders.
  • Collaborate: Savvy PMOs make it easy for people to communicate, track the process, and complete the work. Enable your experts to document decisions, next steps, and actions within the workflow using notes and attachments. Informed team members can make corrections, solve problems, supply missing information, and even become motivated to innovate on the requested work. Collaborative work management solutions can make communication seamless, especially when integrated into your central PPM system.

In part 2 of this blog series, we’ll cover the last two demand management steps:

  1. Evaluate and Generate Key Work Items: Categorization and prioritization
  2. Audit, Track, and Improve: Continuously enhancing the process

If you simply cannot wait for the details on all four steps, download the full eBook with a helpful checklist you can use to start or improve your demand management process: “The Savvy PMO’s Guide to Demand Management.”

Sherrill Packebush
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