The Formal Project Request is a form document that lists the core details of a project allowing everyone involved to see the key information. Much of the following points come from Mr. Pritchard’s book The Project Management Communications Toolkit providing his take on this process. This book does a pretty good job of laying out the information that is important to capture the project request.
However, the project request is not a standardized document, and any project team can create their own process.
The Importance of the Formal Project Request
A project request is used as a means to initiate ongoing analysis (feasibility study, impact analysis) of a project concept. Information available for the project request is generally somewhat scant, as the project request is used only to trigger other processes.
In Carl Pritchard’s book The Project Management Communications Toolkit he outlines what should be contained in a general project request document and what it is used for. However, this all depends on which organization is originating the project request. If you’re dealing with external customers, your internal formal project request still may serve you well as a means to get consistent types of project information loaded into a common database from which you manage your entire portfolio of projects. No matter how it is performed or where the project request originates, a common process is usually helpful and recommended.
Because different organizations interpret project requests (as a practice) differently, their purposes may vary as well. A project request may be a simple one-paragraph description of a project that has been formally submitted to management (either through a chartering process or proposal process). It may also be a specific form or format for submitting initial information about a project that may be of interest to the organization or that may serve an organizational need. For the sake of this discussion, the latter is assumed.
Some large firms that have many internal projects may have a formal online project request process that captures key information for each project request. This process provides a standardized type and amount of key information for each project making it easier to prioritize and assign the projects to the correct areas of the departments.
The information embedded here may be redundant with information collected for a project proposal or feasibility analysis. That is why, particularly in smaller organizations, a project request form may be embedded within those other processes. Larger organizations use project request forms as an initial screening mechanism to enter projects into the process and to ensure that those that undergo more formal feasibility assessment are initiated at the appropriate levels within the organization.
A project request form includes only the most rudimentary information about a project concept including:
- Project basic information
- Project description
- Special resource needs
- Support organization
- Name of person completing the form
- Budget and Sponsor information
- High-level business case
- Criticality of need
Although other information may be incorporated, these are the essentials for initiating a project and ensure that a consistent baseline set of information is available for any project that will undergo further study or scrutiny.
Things to Consider
Depending on the size of your organization, and of course whether you’re dealing with internal or external projects, it may or may not be beneficial to have a formalized project request process.
Because the project request form data are frequently redundant with information gathered in other processes, it should be applied only when there are copious requests being filed on a regular basis, the organization is large, and tracking mechanisms are limited. In smaller organizations where project owners are easily identified, project requests may be seen as purely administrative overhead.
The Formal Project Request can be easily done if you keep in mind the points mentioned in the article. Just to be sure, download our free template to get a better understanding of the request.
And, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments section at the end. We do our best for providing the right answers.