Many believe that project management is only for big companies, but this couldn't be more wrong. In fact, project management has a significant impact when used properly, and can be used as a business tool regardless of the size of your business. To be an effective and efficient business, you need to be smart, and part of that is ensuring your approach to project management is as good as it can be.
The process of project management
Project management is all about getting things done and being proactive. The problems occur when businesses don't have a process set up to get work done in an efficient way. Small business owners often make the mistake of thinking they don't need to develop a process but this couldn't be further from the truth. There should be a standardised approach to working on projects and managing the process.
What does a project actually look like?
When it comes to thinking about the projects in your own business, you may think that if there isn't a large budget given to something, then it isn't classed as a project. A project is something in your business that is deliverable and has a process from beginning to end. This could be something small or on a larger scale, the priority must always be figuring out the best way in which to manage the project. All businesses work on the ethos of saving time and money whilst bringing in more profits, so it's important you know how to manage this process in an effective and efficient way.
There are plenty of project management methods around, and they are relatively simple to learn.
What to think about when it comes to project management
It's important to understand and know what drives your business, and where you should focus project management techniques. This is the first thing to do as it allows you to start at the very beginning of the process, giving you a clear understanding of your own business needs.
After you grasp what drives your business, the next job is to decide on a simple and effective way to undertake project management. Remember to decide on a simple approach, because if it's something too complicated, people won't be able to understand it.
Make sure your entire workforce has the skills needed to use project management effectively. This is important whether you have a team of four or a team of 40.
Something to consider is getting key personnel within your company certified for project management; adding to their development and your bottom line.
Impact of project management on your bottom line
Project management has an impact on your bottom line, whether it's done right or wrong will depend upon if this impact is positive or negative. It's estimated that 20% of the money that is spent on projects is wasted due to companies not approaching project management in a consistent way. A consistent approach to project management can improve your performance by 50% for your first project, with continuation for new projects if your business takes up project management tools in the future.
Outcomes as a result of a consistent approach to project management
In today's economy, companies usually work with other organisations and partner them to complete projects. This means that people from different companies can work together with a common understanding of the project management process, which allows them to speedily work together without the need for thinking of an approach, as it's already in place.
If your business has a tried and tested approach to project management, and the people within your company use the right tools, they are enabled to reach their goals, whether as part of a team or as individuals. Effectively, this gives your workforce confidence to complete tasks and the ability to get things done.
With practices in place, and common approaches being used, there is the knowledge that companies can use and apply to future projects. This means that businesses don't have to think of new methods, there are techniques that have already been developed which they can use time and time again.
When making use of easy project management methods, your company can use a framework that allows people to navigate from a vision through to action to achieve results, with a clear project plan supporting their aims.
As a result of using project management methods that are already established, your company can see what is and isn't working which means you get the upper hand when it comes to gaining insight that staff can apply to your next project.
With a consistent and clear approach to project management, your business can move forward at a faster rate, allowing you to reach your goals with the security that project management brings.
Tips for planning a project to achieve your goals
As a business, you will always be involved in projects. In fact, your day to day life is made up of tasks with the aim of reaching a specified goal. These small tasks will help you achieve the completion of said projects, and these projects will help you achieve your business goals. There are some tips when it comes to planning your projects.
1. Be able to define your projects
One of the first things you should do when project planning is to figure out which projects you're dealing with. Whilst the boundaries between some projects are obvious, others will be less clear. A simple way of seeing what projects you're dealing with is to make a list of everything that your company is currently working on, and putting these individual tasks into groups to achieve specific goals. This will give you a project list.
2. Start and end date for projects
With each of your projects identified, it's a good idea to know when they will start and end. This gives you the benefit of prioritising your projects based on these dates. You can also plan around the cycles of your own business, and prevent projects continuing for longer than the time allocated.
3. Simple plan to succeed
Planning will help you achieve and succeed in your projects. A simple, one-page plan with specific questions that need answering will give you a basic plan to use when it comes to undertaking the work needed to complete your projects.
4. Keep channels of communication open
For your projects to be achievable, and successful, it's imperative that communication channels are set up early on. This is especially important when it comes to a project involving lots of staff. This gives your company the opportunity to know what is happening at every stage of the process.
5. Knowing when to halt on a project
As a business, you'll know it's always best practice to finish what you start, however, there are times when it becomes necessary to pull out of something. With all of the planning done, this will allow you to access the information needed when quitting a project. Whilst it's not easy to quit, especially considering the time and energy normally put in, but unfortunately, at times this becomes a necessity.
Key benefits of project management
There are some key benefits when using project management methods to boost your business profits.
1. Customer satisfaction
When your company completes a project on time, and under budget, clients get very happy. This will lead to return business. Effectively, it means forming excellent working relationships.
2. Improvement in growth
Your company will benefit from the respect that comes on the back of positive results, and this can give inspiration to your staff to perform as efficiently as possible on future projects.
3. Company becomes more flexible
When it comes to project management, your company will become more flexible as a result. Whilst you will have planned the strategy you wish to use when taking on a specific project, this doesn't necessarily mean you can't change tack on a project. Should you find a better strategy or direction you wish to take, then as a company you're free to do this. Although it's important to approach project management in a planned and structured way, there's no rule to say that you can't change your method.
4. Competitive edge
Whether within your company or outside of it, a good performance on a project will allow you to be viewed as somewhat superior. This will then give your company an edge when compared with the competition. This can set you apart from other companies in the market, with the benefits of more business being attracted, and obviously as a result, increasing your growth and profits.
For your business to truly achieve its goals and succeed, implementing project management strategies is an absolute must. Doing so will allow you to focus and reach your goals within a specified time frame. When it comes down to it, a successful approach to project management will allow your business to reap the rewards. This means your staff, and the performance of your company overall will benefit from a consistent and methodical approach to projects management.
If you would like more information about how SmartPA can help your business achieve its goals, contact us today.