Project Management
Published October 03rd, 2016 by

Project Management Fundamentals for Small Businesses

Project Management Fundamentals for Small Businesses

Project Management Overview

Projects encompasses a broad application of methodologies and processes in order to achieve a certain goal or an outcome. Purposes differ – may it be the launch of a groundbreaking product, a novel, or a new office building. It can also be something intangible, like adopting a new accounting management system or launching your company into the stock market. Whatever endeavor that a business or an organization wishes to implement, there are more or less common aspects that either big or small industries are utilizing. By building on this foundational elements will empower your whole project structure to be something more robust to withstand challenges along the way. One can also expect better success rates in whatever kind of venture you are going to deal. Project management skills acquired from managing these common sets of elements are transferable across different industry settings.

Every individual practices some sort of management skills in their personal lives. Some go through it for their time management as a multitasking mom. Farmers are also dealing with some tedious management on when their crops should be planted, when it will be harvested, and what to do when uncontrollable circumstances happen like weather changes or disasters. In a business setting, the steps are more manageable since it is foundational, but the approach may differ according to a host of different factors like client preferences, budget, time frame, and industry settings.

In a business, project management is a must have skill set. It requires full time attention, at least within the span of a daily, 9–5PM job. The expectations for the project management team and its leader is quite high, especially in this modern industry setting. Needs are more complicated, and the ways to address it are, as well, complex. The skills, knowledge, and experience of the project manager will influence significantly how the project will thrive with modern challenges along the way.

The Project Manager

A project manager is one of the key people in a business or organization. In an industry setting (large scale), there may be more than one project managers employed in order to provide more focus on a specific type of aspect to control or manage. With small businesses, in-house managers serve as project managers as well. Basically, a project manager wears many hats when it comes to leadership, but he or she is also asked to be experienced and knowledgeable about the technicalities of the industry he or she is set to operate.

Project managers are not bottled up with a monotonous discipline to be observed. Rather, many factors do vary, especially on their methodologies and own approach. The most effective project managers are those that have a wide range of work experiences, which will make them more credible leaders and problem solvers. Their exposure to hierarchy of command will make them effective people managers. And their education, skill sets, and expertise will make them the best technical point person for product and business development.

Project managers are called to be analytical people, possessing excellent communication skills, and a strong command for authority. He or she should also emphasize the value of work commitment – which involves proper allocation and use of resources and delivering outputs in a timely manner.

The demand for skilled project managers are increasing nowadays. From being viewed as a temporary work assignment for an individual employee in a company, being a project manager has now become a full pledged profession. Specialization in a specific industry is a big edge, but not required. But knowing some basic but effective management practices will definitely go a long way. Nonetheless, requirements may vary from industry to industry, but one can always seek additional training as an option, especially for those who wanted to specialize.

Project Management for Small Businesses

Small businesses may find that the services of a project manager just entails additional cost. In its early growth spurts as a small business, the project management task can be delegated to existing managers, and they in turn will implement basic and fundamental project management strategies.

Deploying project management in small businesses should not be all cost and additional tools. In fact, according to Price house water Coopers, 44% of business project managers are not using any project management software at all, even though the same study puts emphasis on the fact that using commercially available tools increase a project manager’s performance and client satisfaction.

Project management in small businesses means reaching the desired goal in a timely manner should not be hindered with the use of fewer resources. It should involve the right project management tool and method to apply given the resources and manpower to utilize. There are also free project management software to use for small businesses available in the market.

Project Management Success Factors

Project management relies on many factors in order to emulate full success. Any project engagement need some form of joint efforts from various individual expertise, which comprise the aspects of the said project. Here are some of the most important project management success factors that you should seek:

  1. Support from the top business management can contribute significantly, especially in the areas of budget, training’s, communication, and processes.
  2. Working with a highly skilled project manager.
  3. The use of appropriate methodologies and quality standards.
  4. Full cooperation from the management team.
  5. Implementing a flexible project management system, which incorporates technology, in the form of project management tools.

3 Types of People in Project Management

In order to further distinguish how project management differs in different types of business scales, take a  look on these 3 types of people that utilizes a project management system:

  1. The Project Management Expert

The most professional among the group and those who understand project management in a more in-depth level. Many have adequate experiences in implementing various project management models, methods, and processes. He or she is the ones who underwent formal training in order to learn the foundational concepts in project management and apply his or her own approach , depending on the industry type or case scenario. He or she serves as a “visionary,” who can anticipate future related matters and direction for your company or organization.

  1. Managers With Project Management Responsibilities

They are the existing managers within a business or organization who was given an authority or power to certain projects that are unique and not regularly occurring. They have no formal training with project management like project management experts but have enough experience and technical skills that made them highly qualified leaders and project initiators.

  1. Project Management Users

They are the typical employees, or individuals, who have basic project management skills that they get out of their regular workload and the way they observe their leaders. They usually rise as project management associates or team leaders for smaller segment of members.

For most large scale industries, they invest on project management experts to handle their globally competing projects. For small to medium scales, or those that have sporadic, irregular projects to manage, they rely on in-house managers to do the managing as needed. But what is plain and simple, project management is an essential skill for business people and employees alike. When you are aiming for a promotion or bigger responsibilities to take in the near future, consider exposing yourself to project management work or undergo training’s and certification in order to support your future career.

Key Components of a Project

Continuous professional project management training will definitely lead your way towards better management skills and maybe, a career too. But as starters, and to put things in perspective, here are the key components of a project that more or less, you should get acquainted to starting today:

  1. Statement of the problem
  2. Objectives, goals, and benefits
  3. Positive and negative impacts
  4. Requirements and documentation
  5. Technical documentation and specifications
  6. Overall project description
  7. Priorities and milestones
  8. Definition of success performance and criteria
  9. Statement of project scope and ownership
  10. Definitive list of stakeholders
  11. Reporting templates and schedule
  12. Method of communication
  13. Budget allocation and management
  14. Costing and time management
  15. Project feasibility with respect to allocated resources and budget
  16. Project plan in detail
  17. Risk assessment, management and contingency plan
  18. Change management process and procedure

Businesses are putting emphasis in order and system, including with their management endeavors. Some businesses may be more stringent or sometimes more lax when it comes to approach, but basically, when it comes to task execution to go as planned, and finished it as planned is what matters.

Project Management Tools

Project management tools and techniques for small businesses should not just emphasize on additional cost, but to the host of benefits and rate of ROI one can achieve out of it. Creative Boom listed down 10 best project management tools for small businesses, which is a worthy article to check out.

To help you rate the top management tools available in the market today, check out’s reviews of project management tools for client feed backs and ratings.

John Tovar

John specializes in the creation and planning of business-centric mobile applications and mobile website design and development.

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