For a long time, project management has had the perception of being an overly prescriptive practice that is employed mainly by big businesses, and which involves a lot of red tape.
Many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) don’t bother with project management, and prefer to undertake work more freely and flexibly. While there are some merits to this way of working, SMBs stand to gain a lot from managing their projects. We discussed this with TechQuarters, a London-based IT company whose business IT support London-based companies have used extensively over the years. Their IT services involve project work for clients, and they said that if you wouldn’t wing a project for a client, you shouldn’t do the same for internal projects.
Project Management Can Be Applied Any Work
The problem that a lot of SMBs have is that they see project work as too restrictive. However, according to TechQuarters, project management is simply an approach to organising work to make it more manageable, more cost and resource effective, and able to undergo improvements over time. To that end, businesses can redefine what they view as a ‘project’, and apply an effective methodology to all work to increase productivity in any (or every) area of the business. So, what are some of the specific benefits of project management?
Benefits of Project Management for SMBs
Greater Margin of Success
Oftentimes, the outcome of a project is decided in the planning process. If a project is not planned properly – i.e. according to a realistic schedule, with budgets, goals and milestones, and a clear understanding of everyone’s roles – then the chances of success are very low. On the other hand, if every piece of work is planned out methodically, the margin for success will be much higher.
Manage Budgets More Effectively
Following on from the previous point, a project that has been planned out meticulously is much less likely to go over budget. This is mainly because there will be clear expectations as to how much the project should cost, as well as how long the project is expected to take; thus, resources can be managed throughout the duration of the project, and budgets can be maintained.
Improve Work Coordination
One of the risks with project work is that it may pull individuals away from other responsibilities they have in the business. However, with project management, there are tools available to keep individuals on track. Moreover, once again, planning a project will ensure everyone is clear on their responsibilities. This means that everyone can contribute towards the common goal, and the potential for individuals to get carried away or deviate from their responsibilities is less likely.
Define Roles and Goals
With multiple individuals working towards a common goal, there may be a risk of people’s responsibilities getting muddled, multiple people end up working on the same tasks, while other areas of the project are neglected entirely. Implementing project management ensures that everyone is clear on what they are and aren’t supposed to be doing.
Generate Valuable Feedback
Having a clearly defined roadmap for a project means that there is a framework by which the team can eventually review their efforts and gauge the success of a project. For instance, a project team might define milestones at the beginning of the project, so that at the end, they can see whether they were able to complete the work according to the timeframes they laid out.
How to Implement Effective Project Management
While it has been said that too much flexibility around projects can have negative effects, it is certainly not true that every project must be rigidly structured. This is particularly true in the case of SMBs, where individuals tend to wear many hats within the organisation. When we asked TechQuarters, they recommended some of the following business solutions to facilitate flexibility in project management:
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Microsoft Planner
- Microsoft Project
As Microsoft 365 consultancy professionals, TechQuarters not only recommend these solutions, but rely on them when they are undertaking projects (or providing project support for clients).