No matter the scale or size of a business, project management is pretty essential for staying on the right path.
Just because you aren’t a gigantic conglomerate organisation with offices all over the world, and countless teams orchestrating an operation cross-continent, doesn’t mean good project management should be any less of a priority.
If anything, start-ups and SMEs have less wiggle room for error due to limited resources and finance. So, with this in mind, we’ve put together some tricks of the trade to help you improve your project management tactics as a small business owner.
Plan ahead and then plan some more
It goes without saying that effective project management requires lots and lots of planning. Processes need to be put in place and potential problems considered. Contingency plans need to be discussed and sufficient preliminary research needs doing, all before you put your foot on the gas.
Make defining roles and responsibilities a key part of this stage in the project. Ensure everybody involved is clear on where they need to be, what they need to be doing, when they need to do it by, and who they need to be working with.
Evaluate and evolve as you go
As the project develops, ask yourself the following five questions at regular intervals:
- Are you meeting milestones in sufficient time?
- Are all of your deliverables being executed to a high enough standard?
- Are there any members of the team who would be better placed elsewhere?
- Is your budget still on track?
- Have there been any unexpected elements which now need accounting for?
Answering these questions at various points along the way will help you identify any issues that might arise or any processes that may need streamlining in some way. It’s probably useful to evaluate as you go, and evolve any weak spots.
Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility
Offloading tasks to people with the right skills for the job isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s an entrepreneurial strength.
Trying to take everything on yourself will almost always result in underperformance, struggles with deadlines and a frustrated network of under-used colleagues.
A knockout project manager is one who can recognise their own skill gaps and capitalise on the expertise of others.
Manage the budget
A huge part of the project management process is handling finances and making sure budgets are being met.
With so many other elements to consider, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball when it comes to outgoings and spending. You just want the project to go to plan and we get that. However, for a small business, overspending can be crippling if not handled correctly so it’s vital to take measures to avoid it at all costs.
Enlisting the help of a trained professional will help you make sure the numbers stay balanced, and you don’t end up splashing cash on things you really can’t afford.