Business consultants will tell you successful organisations focus on five key strengths - staff development; strategic focus; effective operations; resources - equipment and cashflow; and customer relations.
But if a business is to thrive, organisation surely has to be at the heart of it?
A robust project management strategy is essential if you want your teams to make money and retain staff and customers.
For many small businesses, project management looks like another layer of red tape - more paperwork that gets in the way of the real job getting done.
But as Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan - until they get punched in the face.”
Whether you’re an SME or driving a multi-million-pound global operation, project management is a vital tool for moving your business forward.
And here’s why.
People and projects are naturally chaotic. What you need is vision and direction. The key function of project management is to organise and plan tasks to tame the chaos. It brings order, planning and control to the party.
Risk is every entrepreneur’s best friend - great opportunities come from taking risks. But you can’t operate haphazardly. Risk must be managed. Project management identifies, manages and controls the things that could - and probably will - go wrong. It’ll help you Keep Calm and Carry On.
Without quality, you don’t have a business - whatever line of work you’re in. Quality and consistency means customers will continue to buy into what you do. Project management identifies, manages and controls quality. It’s the sensible cousin of Just-Get-It-Done.
Projects don’t happen in a vacuum. You can’t build a new IT system that doesn’t integrate with sales, or implement a company restructure that doesn’t gel with workflow. Projects have to synergise with your business’ processes, systems and organisation. Project management ensures this happens right from the start.
Time is arguably the biggest challenge of every project. By setting important milestones - along with key dates to get you there - you can keep control of the task in hand. Project management will identify the critical path you need to follow to successfully complete the project’s lifecycle.
With clear project management, you’re less likely to allow costs to run away with you. Delivering on time is crucial - but so is within budget. Project management not only controls one-off spending, but also ongoing staff and equipment costs.
Eleventh-hour procurement will land you in hot water - either you won’t get what you need in time, or it’ll cost you more than it should. Project management will help you see what you need, and when, so you can procure services, equipment and products well ahead of schedule.
Transparent communication is vital in every business. Poor communication not only hampers staff morale and efficiency, if the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing, it will invariably damage your relationship with your customers. Project management will show you what you're doing, when you’re doing it and why - making it easy to communicate internally and externally what’s going on from the top down.
Project management means each team member does what they’re supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it. You’ll be clear from the start how long each section of the work will take, and that means you can identify early any problems with deadlines.
A thorough wash-up at the end of the project will identify problems you encountered and help you learn valuable lessons for next time.
Need help with project management? e-careers.com offers courses in everything from analytics to Six Sigma to help you keep track of your projects and your business. Contact a member of our sales team today on 0203 198 7700 for more information.