How Asana uses work management to streamline project intake processes

Headshot kontributor Caeleigh MacNeilCaeleigh MacNeil
15 Maret 2024
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How Asana uses Asana to streamline project intake processes
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For Jana Beiswenger, Head of Business Program Management at Asana, work intake is hugely cross-functional. Her team focuses on business transformation—in other words, making Asana a more effective organization. To do that she needs to align teams around the right strategic programs and ensure Asana has enough resources to achieve business-critical goals.

“My role is about creating the right focus holistically so we can execute as a team. Because when we work together, we yield better results overall,” says Beiswenger. 

Project intake is a key part of aligning teams. “You need an intake process because your pool of resources is finite—whether it’s time, budget, or people,” says Beiswenger. Teams need support from others to achieve their targets, but you can’t just make a bunch of requests and expect action right away. This can distract from bigger, more important goals. Instead, a project intake process allows teams to:

  1. Let decision-makers determine what is or isn’t a priority. 

  2. Scope new work and determine what resources are required. 

  3. Kick off next steps, monitor progress, and iterate. 

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Project intake at Asana

Asana has two main types of project intake: 

  1. High-level intake during annual planning

  2. Ad hoc intake throughout the year 

During annual planning, intake is a much more collaborative process. Beiswenger coordinates with stakeholders to align on a plan that supports company objectives, helps prioritize so we’re tackling the right initiatives based on expected impact, and ensures we have the resources we need to achieve our goals. “It’s a bit like tetris,” she says. 

But despite the best laid plans, ad hoc requests always come up throughout the year. For these, Asana teams rely on more formal, structured intake processes. The goal of these processes is to assess the business impact of requests and determine how (and if) we can shift resources to fit them in and what, if any, tradeoffs need to be made to shift priorities. 

quotation mark
When we execute together, we yield better results overall.”
Jana Beiswenger, Head of Business Program Management at Asana

Here’s how Asana’s operations and PMO teams streamline intake processes to keep stakeholders aligned and prioritize business-critical work. 

1. Prioritizing and resourcing requests

Beiswenger’s team coordinates new project requests from across the business. This is a careful juggling act that requires them to first capture and understand company priorities, then use that information to objectively assess requests. 

For example, Asana’s Enterprise Technology team uses a form and structured intake project to manage ad hoc requests throughout the year. “A form lets you take unstructured data and turn it into structured data,” says Beiswenger. This gives teams the information they need up front, so they can evaluate new projects based on objective criteria such as: 

  • Does the request contribute to a growth or retention target?

  • Will it improve the overall customer experience? 

  • Is it important for overall data governance? 

  • Does it resolve a security issue?

  • What is the scope of the request? 

  • How much time, budget, and staffing does the request require? 

This standardized data helps teams compare requests and prioritize them against existing company priorities—which are already captured in Asana. As a result they’re more likely to make the best decision for the business, because they have all the information they need in one place. 

Prioritizing and resourcing requests UI example

2. Day-to-day request management

Managing project intake requires a lot of daily upkeep like assigning work, following up, and sharing status updates. This can eat up a lot of time, but Asana’s automation features help Beiswenger stay hands-off throughout the process. This lets her focus on big picture coordination rather than manual and repetitive tasks. 

For example, Beiswenger uses bundles to create, apply, and update intake processes across the organization—all in one place. A bundle is a collection of workflow features you can apply to many different projects. For example, a bundle can specify project sections, custom fields to add, rules to apply, and task templates to use. 

This functionality lets Beiswenger standardize intake workflows across teams, keeping everyone aligned on how to triage and prioritize projects. For example, she can use bundles to standardize next steps for a P0 vs. P1 request, regardless of who submitted it or where it came from. And by specifying how to categorize and tag work, bundles also help teams use the same definitions across projects—like the difference in resourcing requirements if a request is small, medium, or large.

“With bundles, I don’t have to be in the weeds managing the day-to-day of everybody,” says Beiswenger. With just a few clicks, she can easily edit processes to support shifting business needs, then apply those changes instantly to all relevant intake workflows. 

Day-to-day request management UI example

3. Getting visibility and aligning teams

Visibility is essential for Beiswenger’s work. Her team needs to understand high-level business priorities, communicate those priorities to stakeholders, and help leaders follow the status and progress of requests. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem. Because company priorities, roadmaps, and program requests are all captured in Asana, teams can self-serve the information they need without any digging.

Asana portfolios are one way Beiswenger provides this visibility. Portfolios allow her team and their stakeholders to track key initiatives at a glance, then drill down for more information if needed. They provide the high-level snapshot leaders need, while portfolio dashboards automatically summarize data like time spent, risks, available budget, progress, and more across projects. This lets Beiswenger’s team see which projects are on track and which ones aren’t achieving results, then adjust resources and course-correct in real time. As a result, they can keep requests on track and make sure company resources are spent efficiently. 

Getting visibility and aligning teams UI example

Turn requests into action with Asana

By capturing all work in one platform, Asana’s operations and PMO teams can track and follow through on requests in one place. This gives stakeholders the visibility they need to move quickly and prioritize the most important projects. 

Learn how your team can harness clear workflows and lightning-quick automations to get more done, faster.

See Asana in action

With Asana, operations teams can connect work, standardize processes, and automate workflows—all in one place.

See Asana in action

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