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Project Management Blog

Many owners of small businesses have a preconceived notion that project management is for their larger competitors. They may consider project management unnecessary simply because they do things on a smaller scale. In reality, even in small businesses, questions of meeting deadlines, controlling costs, respecting budgets and satisfying customers with efficient delivery of the product or service are of utmost importance.

Lets take a quick look at the principals of project management and see just how it could help your business.

What is a Project?

A “project” is any activity carried out that is separate from the regular running of the business. Businesses will have accounting processes, client calls and follow-ups, day-to-day sales and invoicing. A project is a particular activity, supported by the routine, but unique in that it involves specific attention during an established timeframe.

What is Project Management?

Project management is coordination. Beginning with a planning stage in which objectives, budgets and individual responsibilities are laid out, project management becomes a group effort, with a leader, the project manager, motivating and controlling the ongoing project. In small businesses, project management is working in harmony with shared goals resulting in effective results.

Planning the project

Small business projects will benefit from careful planning. A project manager will first identify what the objective of the project is, then indicate when the project should come to its logical conclusion. Input from the participants is essential at this stage as they will be responsible for the work in bringing the project to fruit.

Why are you doing a project? The answer will be the objectives: to increase sales, to bring in new clients, to diversify business opportunities. How will the project be achieved? Through clear, planned steps and responsibilities outlined, with goals and deadlines. What can go wrong? Everything or nothing; however, through brainstorming pitfalls with the participants, alternatives can be developed to meet obstacles.

The Role of the Project Manager

Once the planning and presentation stage has been completed; a project manager will become the main coordinator of the project. Their responsibilities will include evaluation of record keeping, deadline control, and problem solving and overall keeping to the objectives. They are the leader, the answer-man. Above all, they must be a motivating factor, reminding participants and management of the value of the project itself and its importance to the business once completed.

Common Pitfalls in Project Management

- Though a clear objective is important, concentrating only on the objective without consideration for the individual actions can be damaging to the project and moral. Each action carried out is one move closer to the objective and should be recognised, evaluated and shared.

- Letting deadlines slip can bring a project to a halt, especially if the different participants inter-depend on their colleagues. Deadlines are also powerful, effective motivators. Keeping a deadline in mind, preparing for that deadline through regular work towards meeting it, will help keep a project running smoothly.

- Record keeping is extremely important. Both participants and the project manager should keep careful records of all activities during a project, from spending to telephone calls, from time spent creating a form letter to time spent in meetings. This information will be of use during the evaluation once the project is over as part of the learning process for future projects.

- Making things overly complicated can slow a project down. When an activity takes on a complicated format, it is best not to delve into the complications. Divide things into simple steps tackling them one by one, creating mini-objectives that will gather together into the larger objective.


Doing business successfully is more than selling a product or a service, invoicing, and doing up the payroll. A business of any size, especially a small business, has the resources of collaborators and employees who can help find innovative ways of building the business. Projects are one way of being innovative; however, they should not be improvised. A successful project will be one that has been managed effectively, from planning through evaluation at its conclusion.


Published in Blogs
Here’s a question for you to quickly consider: effective risk management underpins a successful project – true or false?

Was “true” your first reaction? We believe that you’re right. All three of us are strong believers in the positive value of a well-managed and controlled approach to project risks. An Internet search for “images of risk management” will return many illustrations of dice being rolled. If it is done well, risk management measures the uncertainty involved when you “roll the dice” during your project, and allows the Project Manager to obtain a consensus on how to best handle risks and unexpected events on the project.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 21 April 2011 19:34

Project Management for the Small Business

If you walk into the offices of many small businesses, you are likely to see notes sticking either on or in close proximity to the desks of the people employed there. Such “reminder notes” are usually serving as prompts and/or notifications for projects or other operational work on which they are working. In the case of small businesses, the project plan may be held in a file; sometimes, it may only exist in the mind of management. With the low-cost tools available today for small-scale project management, and the value of project management being increasingly recognized by many in the government and in corporate sectors, why do some small businesses choose not to take advantage of formal project management techniques and tools?
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