The modern guide to project management
There is a common misconception that project management (PM) is just for large organisations not small businesses. However, this is not the case as PM has become a business’s essential whatever your company’s size. Good project management can deliver innovation, problem solving and management of scarce resources your business as well as reduce risk of professional liability from missing deadlines or misplacing documents.
Good project managers (PMs) tend to be professionally well-rounded, diplomatic and resourceful people with and understanding of meeting deadlines and keeping clients happy. They have to be, as their job is to make a team of individuals commit and successfully work through a project. You may find someone in your team already has these qualities and some training would help them develop them into this role. Or you may want to bring in a project manager for specific projects as a contractor.
Project management is like a well choreographed dance– when done well you hardly notice the skill and effort in producing something that looks effortless! Here are some steps you can take as a budding PM to deliver effortless project management for your business.
Make sure everyone knows their role in the team and is committed to the project
Make sure everyone understands their role and what is expected of them. Make sure team members have the skills they need to get the job done as well as the resources, if they don’t then offer training and make sure you allocate time so they can complete their tasks.
If you have a strong vision for a project, encourage people on the team to share this vision. Allow team members to share the vision and build on it by bringing their own ideas into the project and listening to how they see it – they may have some great ideas that will help your business take leaps forward.
Encourage challenging questions and criticism
Not all of your plans will be genius and sometimes, much as it hurts, you are better off having people around you that will give you a reality check. By developing a thick skin the quality and success of your project will increase. If you’re managing the project, show you listen and take on board any constructive criticism about what might not work. If the team have an issue with something and it makes sense to change plans slightly to accommodate them, then do. A manager that listens and does nothing is just as bad as a manager that doesn't listen at all.
When a team member does something wrong, or gets behind schedule, be careful to handle it constructively, as nothing derails motivation faster than criticism. Think through solutions before you address the person or the problem, and if you can’t find a solution, put it to the team and share it to get buy in.
Meetings can be a help or a hindrance. Try and keep progress meetings short and to the point. If issues need to be discussed fully, bring the relevant people together and work through to solution. Try and keep the momentum going by letting people get on with things rather than dragging them into endless meetings.
Recognise success and failure
Show people how much you appreciate what they've accomplished, even if it's just with verbal encouragement and recognition. This keeps motivation high and reminds staff that you are keeping an eye on progress.
When your project is complete, you've either succeeded or failed, either way share the results with your team. By thanking them and rewarding them for a job well done, they will be extra motivated for the next project. If things didn’t go so well then use it as an opportunity to learn – set aside time for a post project review and sit down and invite everyone to contribute what worked well and what didn’t. Take notes and share the outcomes of your review with the team and more widely if it makes sense.
Use the cloud
There are many great, reasonably priced project management tools online. Try Wedoist, Huddle, Basecamp, google apps or Microsoft 365 products. All do the job with a variety of functionality, so you are sure to find one that’s right for your needs with the right level of support and at the right price.