Many Project Managers or small business owners filling the role of a Project Manager, have become accustomed to very fluid environments.
Job titles can be very interesting. Experience and skills that got you a position you have are normally related to your title. However, you are probably doing a lot more than what your job title indicates. Typically this is not ideal when facing multiple tasks, juggling deadlines, managing employees, and generally losing sleep over how to stay on top of it all. Things always change and one has to be prepared for this on a daily basis.
It can be scary and overwhelming managing a project or multiple projects whatever the size especially when you do not have systems or experience as a project manager. I am here to change that! Here are a few tips to help small business owners manage your small projects more efficiently.
Avoid Over Complicating
Make sure that the amount of planning is relative to the size of the project. Planning is essential however 3 hours of planning for 2 hours of work is not effective. 4 questions should always be answered…
How long from beginning to end should the project take?
What are the key dates and milestones that you would like to reach?
At what point will you review the progress of the project?
How will you tell if the project is on or off track?
List your Tasks
Many times the process we use involves the following steps –
The key is not to try to organize and assign till have you have captured all ideas. They may be out-of-order after captured. The best step is to list all tasks then determine in what order they should be completed.
Determine Who is Assigned to Each Task
The whole is a sum of the parts. Once each person knows their role and tasks in a project, expectations can be set. Each task and step is the building block for the next step. Breaking it down into individual parts also helps from being overwhelmed. Make sure that you evaluate each person’s strengths so that the best outcome and efficiency is produced.
Adhere to Deadlines
As mentioned above, today’s fluid environment makes this the biggest challenge. Most times deadlines can be re-negotiated as long as done prior to the deadline. Be proactive not reactive if you are not going to be able to meet a deadline. Delays not only affect that individual task but all the subsequent task for the project. Try to keep those deadlines!
Yes I said it 3 times. Documentation is the key to keeping the project on track as well as evaluating the success of the project once completed. Tracking time and budget is also a determining factor in the success of a project. With multiple projects and people involved, use project management software to help keep things organized. Many of our clients have become accustomed to Basecamp, the key to our success when handling multiple projects. For most small business owners Basecamp is overkill however something similar can definitely help keep the stress level down and projects on track.
These tips regarding Project Management are a few places to start to help be successful as well as stress free. There are many more details regarding handling multiple moving pieces however these are the most important ones when managing your small projects successfully.
Do you have your own tips for Project Management? We are always looking for ways to make things run smoothly and efficiently. Let us know in the comments below what your trick is to staying on top of things!