Easy project management for small businesses

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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 business leaders and their teams face are 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 are good reasons for that, but for most projects in businesses (particularly startups 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 and doesn’t require people to spend more time filling out paperwork than actually delivering the project. They need a process 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 simple steps as this guide outlines with practical advice and templates.

Here are the steps:

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

This post is brought to you by the brilliant people at MindGenius. If the six steps outlined above are just what you need, you can go ahead and apply the six steps in real life using the trial version and templates of MindGenius that accompany the complete guide. In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that project started and making it a success.