Managing projects can be much easier for small businesses

Here’s a quick quiz question: What does every entrepreneur and business have? The answer: goals. But, how to do you meet these goals? More often than not it starts with a project.

When it comes to managing projects, the two main challenges facing business leaders and their teams is often lack of time and expertise.

Many employees have not been given appropriate project management training, or might have too many projects to juggle and not enough time to deliver them.

The result? Corners get cut, which results in wasted time, money and opportunities.

Project management really doesn’t need to be difficult

For many people who are building a business, ‘project management’ as a discipline can seem overly bureaucratic. And yes, professional project management methodologies do demand lots of training and administration. For seriously big projects there’s good reasons for that, but for most projects in businesses — particularly start-ups and SMEs, such labour-intensive processes are not sustainable.

What they need is a process that is simpler and quicker. That doesn’t require training. That doesn’t ask people to spend more time filling out paperwork than actually delivering the project. That will still help hit deadlines, stay within budget and deliver benefits to the organisation.

All you really need is a handful of steps

The good news is that you can strip back project management processes to the basics in six steps (go here for a guide that explains these steps in more detail with practical advice and templates).

These steps are:

Step 1: Discover what the project needs to achieve
Understand why your project exists (its purpose) and its objectives. This will guide your decisions throughout the project.

Step 2: Find out who is involved and what they want
Identify your stakeholder and gather their requirements. Benefit from the collective knowledge of the team.

Step 3: Decide on what you’ll deliver
Create your scope document and present it to your stakeholders in a meeting. Get everyone on the same page and collect vital feedback.

Step 4: Schedule the tasks
List your tasks, find out how long they will take, assign them to people and get a realistic finish time.

Step 5: Manage the work and complete the project
Monitor progress, report on the status and deal with any changes. Keep on top of everything and keep stakeholders in the loop.

Step 6: Learn lessons
Run a retrospective meeting to learn lessons from the project. It’s a valuable opportunity to identify improvements.

Apply the steps in real life

If the six steps outlined above are just what you need, you can read more about them in The Six Step Guide to Practical Project Management.

Or, you can go ahead and apply the six steps in real life using a trial version of MindGenius and templates that accompany the guide.

In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that project started, and making it a success.

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