Monday, October 3, 2016

Grow your business with project management

Mohammed Nizam

     Great products, services and processes are at the heart of every successful small scale business ventures. Developing your ideas into something that you can sell requires effort, discipline and a guided framework to get things right: that framework is Project Management.

     Think twice before you dismiss the idea of project management as though it is adopted only by big companies. No matter how small your venture, implementing effective project management processes can ensure things get done quickly, on time and of the highest quality.

     Project management can help you manage many aspects of your small business including product development, testing, customer service, advertising & marketing, payroll, setting up a company website, establishing the office in a new location, invoicing and other business processes. Used well, it's an excellent way to refine, tweak and create more effective and efficient ways of doing things.

     To understand why Project management makes sense for the smallest of businesses, let’s reflect on what is at the heart of project management – that is to say, a management process. If we ignore project management definitions for a moment and concentrate on “What is a process?” it’s ‘A series of actions, changes, or functions that bring about a result’.

     Applied to project management, this result is the outcome of temporary endeavors to develop a unique product, process or service. All businesses are, or should be, focused on results. Given the competitive nature of the current business environment, it may be argued that the need to initiate the right projects and achieve the desired results is just as critical as it is for the large business. One of the main advantages of being a small business is using innovation and creativity so you can get products and services to market quicker. It gives you a competitive advantage.
Mohammed Nizam

Why Is Project Management Useful For Small Businesses?

     Small businesses don’t have the luxury of abundant resources to accomplish each task. It’s likely that every employee in your business wears several hats at a time. That’s why project management is so useful for small business. It will help you make the most of your resources (even if the only resource is you), manage your budget, and deliver quality solutions to your customer. It can even help you make your internal business processes work better so it takes less time and effort to get things done. In short, project management can help you turn chaos into order.

     Here are four reasons why project management is so valuable to small business:

     1. Makes big goals achievable – With a project management approach to your goals, you can seize opportunities, solve problems and realize the success you seek.

     2. Reveals gaps and pitfalls – All projects are not meant to become reality. If you’re like most        small business owners, you have more ideas than you could complete in a lifetime. Using a                  project management approach can help you see the gaps in your thinking and provide the                    “cons” of completing a project before you’ve invested a lot of time, resources, and money in          the project.

     3. Breaks down the overwhelm – Do you dream big and then get exhausted thinking of all the      things that have to be done to realize that dream? Project management helps you “chunk up” the    work into bite sized pieces so you can make progress and avoid getting so overwhelmed that                you get nothing done. Nothing can motivate more than small rewards along the way to                        achieving a big goal.

     4. Gets the work out of your head – Writing down what needs to be done to accomplish your goals will help you get done faster without a lot of rework. Having to remember everything that needs to be accomplished just clutters up your brain and creates a prescription for disaster.

Case Study
     Recently I was asked to jump in and rescue a small infrastructure project that was headed for disaster. What did I do?

     1. Assessed the project objectives and current status

     2. Identified the current project team members

     3. Discovered the project's major issues - and any major critical deliverables that were behind                  schedule

     4. Determined who needed to be added (or removed) from project team

     5. Got the team talking, regularly and frequently!

     6. Attacked the most important issues and most critically behind challenges first

     7. Communicated regularly and directly with the team and with project stakeholders

     8. Maintained issues documentation that have a high probability of impacting time, scope, quality           or budget.

     Of this process, there were really two critical success factors.

     First, I needed to push the long lead time items that had been missed, getting them in motion with expedited speed and escalated priority.

     Second, we needed to start communicating. The team wasn't talking among themselves, no one was talking to the customer and vendors, and it was killing the initiative. Establishing a project team email chain, twice-weekly brief status and problem solving meetings and customer-focused status summaries made a huge amount of difference! The team grew to understand the big picture and was more productive with group accountability for their deliverables.

      Project became back on track, with all planned components scheduled to complete on time. The customer is happy with progress and the project team members are pleased to be part of the effort.

How Do I Implement Project Management?
     If you are able to hire a project manager or even a project management consultant, that is a good first step. The consultant will be able to get you set up in project management that fits your company and then teach you how to maintain it.

     If hiring a consultant is not in your budget, you can also search for project management information and books on Project management, as a science, can get really complicated. You do not need to have it be that complicated in order to make improvements. It is fine if your approach is to “keep it simple.”

     If project management is your new “thing,” you may want to take a trip over to Otherwise, a search for something likes “Project Management for Dummies” and using a free online resource may be a great step in the right direction.

    (The author is CEO & Principal Consultant of 'Mission Means Project Management'  Calicut, Kerala. Mobile No. +91-9400384441 Email: . 
Website )


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