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Project requestors, project creators and project approvers
Project Requests enable you to capture and manage requests for work so that you can evaluate them and decide whether or not it should become a project. If you are someone that gets assigned project requests to manage, or you are new to Project Insight and would like an overview of project requests, then this training is for you!
- Learn how to capture, analyze, review and approve project requests
- Categorize your requests by type or assign them to someone else
- Centralize project requests in a folder
As part of the project management lifecycle, you may receive requests for projects from different departments within your organization or from your external customers. A request is not an actual project at this point, it is just a suggestion to initiate a project. However, you still need to capture, analyze, review and approve the requests. Project Insight has the concept of project requests to help you manage project demand.
When you receive a request for a project, you can capture the details about that request in a project request form, you can attach supporting documents, insert a proposed budget and more. Then you can assign that project request to a team member so he or she can manage it and route it for approval and comment.
When the request has been reviewed and it has been determined that it is a valid project that will be of benefit to your organization, you can easily create a project with a few clicks.
Project Requests on Your Dashboard
If you are someone that gets assigned project requests to manage, then you can display those requests on your dashboard.
You can see the name of the request and the status.
Your project request can have various status and some of those are tied into approvals.
For example, the Change Office Layout request has been created in the system, but an approval workflow has not been initiated.
The Purchase Financial Software request has an approval that is pending, i.e. it is waiting for the approver to approve it.
The HR Update request has been assigned to you and is waiting for you to approve it.
Approving a Project Request
Right from the dashboard, you can approve any requests assigned to you.
Click the Approve/Deny text.
Press F5 to refresh the display.
You can see the date and time stamp of when it was approved.
Creating an Approval for Project Request
For the request that was assigned to you, but which does not already have an approval workflow created for it, you can create one, by clicking the Create Approval Request option right from your dashboard.
You’ll see in more detail on how that works in a moment when you create a project request.
Project Request Assigned to You
If you need to view more detail about a project request assigned to you, just click on the project request name.
From here, you can click view more details about the request, attach files, enter comments and collaborate and initiate an approval workflow.
Creating a Project Request
You’ll come back to this form later on, but first you are going to see how to create a project request in the first place.
Setting the Location for Your Project Requests
Expand the left navigation.
Click on Folders to expand that out.
You will want to set up a folder or multiple folders where you want to store your Project Requests.
For example, your system administrator has created a specific top level folder for Project Requests.
Click on that.
You will see a list of all the project requests.
The folder structure you set up for your project requests may vary according to your business process and requirements.
For example, some organizations set up a requests folder for each of their different departments or each of their different customers.
Permissions may then be set on those different folders to give only those stakeholders access to those folders to either view or add requests.
It is all very flexible. Your system administrator will have set up your folder structure to accommodate your needs.
Adding the Project Request
To add a Project Request, hover on the Add icon and select Project Request.
The Project Request Add/Edit form appears.
If you have added a project, you will see that a lot of the same fields are available on the request as on a project.
The first thing you must enter is the name or short description of the request.
Type in Upgrade ERP Software.
This is the only required field, so you can click Save at this time to save the request.
It is recommended you fill in as much detail as possible.
Then you can optionally select the project template that you would base this request on, if it gets approved and becomes a project.
Click in the Project Template drop down.
Choose Software Implementation.
If you leave this blank or want to change it later on, you can before you create the actual project.
Type in a Description of the request such as: Accounting is requesting an upgrade to their internal financial system.
You will want to make this as descriptive as possible as this information will be reviewed and evaluated to see if this request should proceed.
Click the drop down and select the type of Request.
Again, this is optional but it is very useful for reporting purposes.
Enter the date you think this project might start.
Again, this can be changed later on, but it is good to record the date the requestor would like this to start even though the actual project may not start on that date. If you do not know the date, put in an estimated date.
You can also identify the project managers, if you know who they would be.
Click in the Project Managers drop down and select one.
At this point, this is informational only. It is a request that someone be the project manager on the project, if approved. It will not show up on that person’s dashboard while this is still in the request phase.
You may also want to specify the Sponsor of the request.
Click in the Sponsor drop down and select someone.
For organizations that do internal facing projects, i.e. you do projects for other departments or divisions, you will want to have a management level staff member be the sponsor of the request, even though they may not be the person directly requesting the project.
This is a good best practice. That way, you know this request is being supported by management.
You can also assign this project request to a user so that he or she can manage it. This must be an active user.
Click in the Assigned To drop down and select your name.
Those are all the standard pre-defined data fields that you can use on a project request. However, you can add your own custom fields as well to capture any additional details that you deem relevant to make a decision about whether or not to proceed with this request.
Click the Custom Fields tab.
For example, you may want to record the Strategic Initiative or Goals that this project will meet.
Click in the drop down and select one or two.
You can then report on this.
You may also want to record other data such as the expected business benefits.
Click in the benefits box.
Click the automatic numbering function.
Type Benefit 1 and Benefit 2.
To see how to create Custom Fields for project requests, you can attend the Creating Custom Fields training session.
Setting the Company, Contract, Department or Group
You may also want to identify the Company, Contract, Department or Group to which this request belongs.
Click on the Time, Expense and Billing Information tab.
The first two fields are more relevant if you are doing customer facing projects.
If you are doing internal facing projects, then you would most likely identify the department or group submitting the request.
Click in the drop down for Department and select one.
All of these fields are optional, so just fill in the ones relevant to you.
Entering Target Budget Information
If you have some top down or high level budget information about the project cost, you can record that in the target budget tab.
This data may come from the requestors and may be an approximate cost. If this is a client facing project or an internally charged back project, then you can also record how much you think you will bill the client.
This data may also come from other estimating processes, previous project estimates or other functions. In most cases, you are going to enter totals.
Enter a total cost amount, such as $50,000.
Or check the “Auto-calculate target values while entering” option, and break this down by entering a labor portion and expense portion, erase the $50,000 and enter $45,000 for labor and $5,000 for expenses. The total gets calculated automatically by adding the amounts.
Or in some instances, maybe you are given an estimate for the number of hours the project might take and an average rate to apply.
Erase the $45,000 and enter 450 hours at a rate of $100 per hour.
The total labor gets automatically calculated.
And you would do the same for the Target Budget Billable amounts if those are applicable.
If you are billing external customers, you will want to record the high level estimates of what you think you will bill.
Again, in most cases you will just enter a total or break it down by time, enter $55,000 and expenses, enter $7,000.
Now you have stored thetarget budget information that you or the requestor will think this project would cost and could be billed for.
If you do not use the billable amounts, just leave them blank. You could even turn off display of these fields if you wanted. You can attend the Internationalize Your Project Software with Cultural and Interface Labels training session for more details on how to do that.
Click Save, to save that Request.
It is now displayed in your Project Request folder.
Setting Auto-Alerts for Project Request
A very common practice for our customers is to create auto-alerts so that others will be notified automatically when a project request is created and not just because they have been assigned to manage the request.
For example, you may set up folders for project requests for each of your departments and then train subject matter experts in those on how to enter project requests. In that circumstance, they may not know who to sign that project request to. The assignee will be left blank, but a certain group or certain individuals will be notified when the request has been created. When they receive the email or online alert, they can review the request and take ownership of it or assign it to another team member.
To create an alert on this folder, hover on the Tools menu option, and click Auto-Alerts.
Click in the Entity Type drop down and select Group.
Click in the drop down for the Notify and select the Business Analysts group.
Leave the After Event set to Item Created.
Click in the Filter By Item/Object and select Project Request.
Now, whenever a project request is added, the users in the Business Analyst group will get a notification.
There will then be processes set up that are followed by that group to assign responsibility of the request.
Click the Back icon.
Managing the Project Request
Since you assigned that Project Request to yourself, it will also display in your Project Requests list or Work list on your dashboard.
Click on My Insight.
It is listed.
You have been assigned responsibility for managing the request.
Create an Approval for the Request from the Dashboard
One common process that happens is to have the request reviewed and approved by different stakeholders.
You can initiate an approvals workflow by clicking right on the Create Approval Request task, right from your dashboard.
Or you may want to review the details on the request first to make sure they are complete and then send it for approvals.
Viewing Project Request Details
Click on the Project Request name.
The Project Request Display form appears.
You can review the information. Click on the Details text to expand out that section and review that information.
Click on the Details text to collapse it again.
Click on the Description section to expand out that section.
Review those details.
Click on the Description text to collapse it again.
Collaborate on a Request
You may also collaborate on a request. Click the Add icon in the comments section.
Enter a comment.
You can learn more about comments in the Social Collaboration training session.
Add Files, Articles, Discussions or Shortcuts to the Project Request
You may also attach a file, an article, a discussion or shortcuts to the Project Request.
Hover on the Add icon.
You will see those options as being available along with some others. The information in this list will depend on what your system administrators has configured to allow in the project request folder. See the Secure your Project Insight Data with Permissions training session for more details on that.
Click the Browse icon.
Select the File you want to add.
To see the file or the article, discussion or shortcut, click on the Related Items text.
It will be listed and you can click on it to go to it and display it.
More information about Document Sharing & Management and Accessing Data Using Shortcuts and URLs can be found in those training sessions.
Approval Workflow for the Project Request
You are also able to quickly create an approval workflow for this project request by clicking the Create Approval Request text.
The Approval Request – Add form appears.
There is a training session specifically for Routing Items for Approvals and Electronic Signature and the process for approving project request is covered in more detail in that session, so you are just going to see it at a high level here.
Enter any additional descriptions or notes for the approval or the other details as you require.
Then click the Approvers tab to designate who the approvers will be.
Click in the drop down and select the Approver.
Enter multiple ones if required.
Click in the drop down and select yourself as the Approver.
Normally, you would not set yourself as an approver for an approval you created, but for this session, you are going to do that, just so you can easily approve this.
If you enter multiple ones, you can click the All Approvers Must Approve to have all of them in the list approve it or just one.
Leave it unchecked for now, because you require one of these approvers to approve not both.
Click on Approval Routed Sequentially, if you wanted all the approvers to approve it and you wanted that approval routed in a sequential order.
Click the Notifications tab.
You can also enter in Notifications. For example, you can set who gets notified once it has final approval.
Or you can also set who gets approval notifications as each step is approved.
Ensure the Activate and Send Approval Request is checked.
The Approval Request name gets listed.
And also the Approval Request will show in the Related Items section.
Click on the Related Items section to collapse that.
You can also click on the Approvals tab to see the status of the Approval.
Your approvers will then see that approval on their work list and approvals list.
Automatically Create a Project from the Request
Once this has been approved, you can create a project for it, with one click from this same form.
Click on Create Project.
Only users with the Project Creator role will have this option.
The project add/edit form appears.
You will notice that the standard Project Insight data you filled in on the project request form is populated in the project form.
For example, the name is filled in along with the template, description, type and scheduled start date.
It is important to note, that the project request and the project are two different forms and two different data entities. Once you have created a project from the request, that request is still there, it does not get changed, well mostly, but you will see more about that in a moment.
What that function does is create a new project and copy the standard date from the request over into the project.
Click on the Time, Expense & Billing Information tab.
There are more fields here than on the request form, but the company, contract, group or department you created on the request are here.
Click on Target Budget Information.
You can see that data was brought over as well.
There is some additional data on the project such as the Scorecard tab that appears on the project add/edit form. This is used to score this project now that it is an approved project and give it a priority amongst all your other projects.
That is covered in detail in the Prioritize and Score Your Projects training session.
You are able to change any of this information that was brought over. Remember, all the original details are still contained in the project request form, so it is okay if you change them here to add any additional information that you may know about the project.
Click on the General tab.
There are a few other differences you may notice.
First, is that there is no Custom Fields tab or if you have custom fields set up for the project, they can be different than what was on the project request.
If you set up custom fields on the Project Request, those custom fields are specific to the request and not the project.
The reason for that is that different information is captured at the project request stage than at the project stage. Again, all that data from the request is still accessible, so you do not need to repeat it here. You want to enter data that is specific to the project itself now and managing it.
There is also a Parent Item drop down.
Click on it.
This is where you need to specify where this project is going to get located.
Normally, you will have different folders for project requests than projects, so choose the folder where you want the project created.
Click on Projects.
You can always move it later on if you put it in the wrong folder.
In a lot of cases though, the project requests folder is set to allow only requests and not projects, and in that case, if you forget to change it, you will get a message when you try and save.
Move Project Request under New Project
The option data element that is on the project add/edit form which is not there if you are not creating a project from a project request is the Move Project Request under New Project check box.
If this option is checked, when you save the project, the project request form will be moved from its project request folder to the project folder and as an item attached to a project.
This is a standard practice that our clients use. That way the Project Requests folder only contains requests that have not been approved and converted to a project.
Even if you do this, you can still report on all Project Requests no matter where they are located.
This option just allows you to visually keep your project requests folder restricted to Requests that are still active or in progress.
Click Save, to save this project.
The Project Request Detail Form is still displayed.
The new project name is now displayed.
Click on the Project Name to go to the project task list.
Click on the Related Items section to expand that out.
Now you will see the project that just got created and the original request is designated as a related item.
Closing a Project Request
When you automatically created a project from the project request, one additional step happened.
That is, the project request got closed automatically.
This is indicated by the Closed State in the upper corner.
If you are assigned a project request, it will stay on your list of request and your work list until it is closed.
That happens automatically with the Create Project function.
If a project request did not get closed automatically, for example, maybe you decided not to proceed with it as a project, then you could enter a comment as to the reasons why.
Then you would close it manually.
To toggle the project request state, click on the text.
For example, you can click on the text to toggle it back to open.
Click on it again to toggle it back to close.
You normally would not re-open a project request that a project got created from, but you can see that by clicking the project request when it is open, that will toggle it to close.
Moved Project Request
To see how the display looks now that you also automatically moved the request, expand the left navigation.
Click on Project Requests.
That request is no longer there.
Click on the Projects Folder.
Click on the arrow next to Develop new customer website to expand that out.
You will see the project request.
It got moved from the project request folder to an attachment to the project.
To view it from within the project, click on the project name.
Hover on the Views menu option and click Status.
Click on the Related Items section to expand that out if it is not already.
The Project Request is displayed.
Click on it to go display that original Project Request details form.
Reporting on Project Requests
The next thing you will want to do is report on project requests.
Click the Reports icon.
Click the Project Section.
Click Create Project Request Report.
You can set a date range, which includes dynamic dates or specific dates.
You can attend the Creating and Running Portfolio and Project Reports for more details on that.
You can also set to report only on Open Project Requests or closed or both.
Click on Project Request Filtering Options to expand that out.
You can report by project type, project manager or sponsor.
Click on that section to collapse it again.
Click on User Filtering Options to expand that out.
You can report by who created the request or who updated the request.
Click on that section to collapse it again.
Click on Company & Contract Filtering Options to expand that section out.
You can also report by companies and contract.
Click on that section to collapse it again.
Click on Customer Field Filtering Options to expand that section out.
You can also report by any custom fields that you created.
Click on that section to collapse it again.
The rest of the sections are standard options that are available on all reports.
So click Run Report.
You can then see a report of all your requests.