Managing enhancement requests
Product teams and IT departments often receive project ideas from within their organizations and from external sources, like customers. However, they don't always have the resources to immediately implement those ideas.
Therefore, they need a method of collecting and storing ideas, while they evaluate them.
Polaris PPM lets IT and portfolio managers log ideas and suggestions in the form of ’requests’, which they can then evaluate to identify which ones they want to implement. Once they've selected ideas, managers can create projects from the requests and go forward with planning and execution.
Enhancement request workflow
- Create requests
- Assign each request a priority scores
- Prioritize requests based on score - This step is usually a quick initial filtering, so you can determine which requests to evaluate more closely.
- Check that requests meet basic project criteria - Before more detailed analysis, PMs should check that basic ROI, goal, budget, and resourcing criteria are met
- Set request estimates
- Use estimates to decide which requests to implement
- Create a project from a request
To create a request:
- Click Requests in the side menu.
- Click the + Request button located at the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
- In the Add Request panel that displays on the right, enter a name and description for the request, along with the name of the team or department who suggested the idea.
- Click Add Request.
A panel opens on the right side of the page for the request, where you can attaches files or URLs related to the request (under Documents), and carry out further prioritizing for the request.
A priority score is similar to a potential return on investment (ROI): it tells you what value the request is likely to deliver. Requests that offer a value to your organization, with lower risk will be scored higher.
Setting priority scores is a quick way of ranking requests. Once you've assigned scores, you can quickly see which requests warrant further consideration, and which can be rejected.
To assign a score:
- Go to Requests.
- Select the request you want to apply a score to.
- In the panel that displays, click the in the Score section.
- Assign the request scores for its value, investment, and risk by clicking and dragging the scroll bar.
The scores are automatically combined into a total score.
- If necessary, override the score manually by clicking the icon.
- At the bottom of the side panel, click Review Request.
The status of the request updates to Under Review.
For example, if, based on this initial evaluation, you want to reject the request, click Reject Request. The status will change to Rejected.
Once you have multiple requests under review, and have assigned a score to each, you can compare the scores to arrive at a shortlist of options that you can then evaluate more closely.
To compare requests:
- Go to Requests > List.
- In the Score column, click the icon beside Total Score to sort the values from highest to lowest.
If you want to compare individual value, investment, and risk scores, click the icon at the top, right-hand side of the page and enable those fields.
After assigning a score to the request, PMs review requests that have higher relative score. They check that the request being considered meets certain criteria (such as resource readiness, etc.) before it can move forward into a project.
They can check these items, as the evaluation process progresses, coming back to this list as they collect data and evaluate various aspects of the request.
To view and check off the criteria:
- Go to Requests.
- Click the request with the status Under Review.
- In the side panel that displays, click the of the Review Checklist section.
- Check the box for each criterion that has been met.
If you attempt to create a project without selecting all the items, a warning message displays that all criteria items are not met.
- Once the request meets all required criteria, you can click Approve Request.
You can create projects for approved requests using the Create Project link on the requests page, or within the request itself.
Once you’ve completed an initial evaluation of the ROI of your pending requests, you should have a shortlist of the requests that would provide the most value to your company.
However, before you promote any of those ideas to projects, you’ll need to determine which of these ideas fit within your resource and cost budget. Your goal is to find the combination that delivers the highest value AND maximizes your resource use.
A good way to determine a request’s feasibility is to estimate its cost.
Polaris allows you to easily set the estimated cost of each request. You can then compare these estimates to decide which requests to pursue.
The request’s estimate data will be carried over if you create a project from the request.
To add estimates, portfolio managers need View/Edit permission for planning data on requests in their portfolio manager permission set. To add resources and automatically calculate estimated costs, they require Project Roles > View permission.
To add an estimate to a request:
- Go to Requests, and click a request name.
A drawer will open on the right side of the page.
- Click the Planning heading or arrow.
Schedule and Resource Requirements sections will display.
- Record your best estimates for:
- The starting date and duration. You can choose to measure the duration in weeks, months, quarters, or years.
- The required resource roles, from those available in your system, and their quantity
These are not final values, but your best rough estimates, based on your current understanding of the request and its scope.
- Click Save.
An estimated cost for the request should automatically display.
This estimate is calculated based on the quantity of each role you’ve included, using your system’s default rate for each role, assuming 8 hours per day x 5 weekdays per week. For example:
If you need 2 Developers for 1 week, and the cost rate for the Developer role is $50/hr in your system, then the estimated cost is 2 developers * 8 hrs/day * 5 days * $50/hr = $4,000
- If you want to override the auto-calculated estimate, you can do so by clicking the icon and entering an amount in the blank field that displays.
The estimated cost also displays in the Request Status chart at Portfolio > Dashboard.
If you don't see the Planning heading or its columns, click the icon at the top, right-hand side of the page and enable those fields.
Once you've evaluated a request, found it's worth pursuing based on its total score and estimate, and PMs have confirmed it meets your organization's basic project requirements, you'll need to create a project to get implementation of the request underway.
To create a project from a request:
- Click Requests in the main menu.
The list of requests from various departments and teams displays.
- Click the Create Project link located to the right of the request.
A Create Project dialog displays.
- Enter the new project’s details.
The following data will be automatically copied to the new project from the request.
- Start Date
- End Date
- Estimated Cost
You can update these values, as needed.
- Click Add Project. A new project is created in your project list.
You can now request resources and perform other project setup related activities.
Can we track changes made to a request over time?
Yes, when viewing a request, simply click the icon and select Request History to view its history.
This will launch a dialog showing the before and after of any changes made to the request's name, status, description, and requester, at what date/time, and by whom.
The request history doesn't track changes made to scores, review checklists, or attached documents.
Can I add new criteria to the request checklist?
Yes, you can ask your administrator to add additional checklist items.
Can I reconsider a request after rejecting it?
Yes. After rejecting a request if you want to re-evaluate it, you can click the status menu at the bottom right-hand corner of the request panel and choose Review Request to re-evaluate the request.
Do we have to include a start date and resource requirements when planning?
You need to include both start date and resource requirements if you want Polaris to automatically calculate an estimate for you; without them, you can enter a manual estimate.
How is the duration used in the estimated cost calculation arrived at?
The duration is based on the start date and duration provided.
For example, if the start date is Jul 15, 2023 and the duration is 1 month, the estimated cost is calculated based on the number of weekdays during the period of Jul 15 to Aug 14.
Do roles added to requests automatically populate the new project?
No, only the start date, end date, and estimated cost are copied.