As a small business owner, your time and your budget are often stretched to their limits. You no doubt wear many hats and find yourself hustling for work just to stay afloat and meet your monthly financial obligations. So when it comes to the prospect of managing projects, you may be understandably stressed about attending to all the details and delivering a flawless product on time. But with a few guidelines under your belt, project management can be made a lot easier and more efficient. Here are some tips to ensure that every project goes off without a hitch.
- Plan project details. Every project will require some finessing, but there are a few basics you’ll need to square away before you even get started, such as the budget, timeline, milestones, resource allocation, and so on. Having these details nailed down ahead of time is not only important from a contract standpoint (all parties need to agree to the work being done and the price), but it also gives you a roadmap of how to proceed with your project in an efficient manner. In addition, however, you may want to pad your budget and timeline by 10-20%. The reason for this is that estimates are rarely accurate, and it’s always better to overestimate so that you have the best chance to come in on time and under-budget, rather than the other way around.
- Lead, but learn to delegate. As a business owner, the buck stops with you. But you can hardly complete projects on your own. You need a team of qualified professionals to carry out certain tasks for you. So once you’ve got all your resources in place, for goodness sake let employees and contractors do their jobs! You should certainly exercise some measure of oversight to keep your project on track, but if you’re intent on micromanaging a capable team, you’re only going to waste time and undermine their efforts.
- Communicate effectively. As a project manager it is important that you convey your expectations to your team in a clear and concise manner. You also have to be able to properly manage client expectations. Excellent communication skills are essential to both client and employee relations, as well as making sure every job is completed successfully.
- Limit changes. Changes to the scope of the project or details of the work to be done can naturally affect your timeline and budget. You need to learn to adjust accordingly, limit changes whenever possible, and temper client expectations when changes are made. You must be willing to change your timeline and/or budget in response. You’re not only managing your resources, but also your clients to an extent.
- Use project management software. These days, managing a project doesn’t have to take place on paper and in your head. The process can be made far more expedient by using software like Knowify that allows you to input, track, and manage a wide variety of project details, such as the budget, the timeline, billing, tasks, and resource allocation, just for example. And the best part is that you can do it at your office or on the go thanks to mobile tools.
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