For the small business owner, the reality is that most of our work today is project based. Our customers hire us based on immediate specific needs and, therefore, we hire based on specific contracts. In order to survive, we have to keep our overhead as low as possible. The dilemma with low overhead is that there is a physical constraint on the amount of work that can be done. So it becomes imperative that when you start a new effort or start a new revenue stream (both of which are projects) you have to understand your goals and how you are going to fund it.
We are constrained by the limits of our own personal time and energy. While these are the obstacles, we absolutely have the ability to create our own destiny. Effective Project Management gives the owner(s) the ability to effectively and efficiently use their resources to create the vision that they want to achieve. Traditional Project Management typically entails a great deal of paperwork, alignment meetings and status updates. As a practitioner of Project Management, I endorse the Project Management Book of Knowledge © (PMBOK). However, it is a guide and the real value is understanding what tools to use and which to modify.For the small business owner, I would use the following methodology:
1) Identify all of your projects;
2) Understand the financial impact of each project;
3) Create a Work Breakout Structure for each project. Each work package should be relatively short in duration and able to be outsourced. Assign resources to each work package;
4) Reconcile the resources to the work package…that is, if you do not have enough resources, you may have to scale back your project. If you have additional resources, you may be able to expand the project.;
5) Using a calendar, schedule the end dates and assign lead times for each work package;
6) Reconcile the calendar to target dates of completion. If there is a specific window that the project must occur, you will need to identify the critical path to make sure that the project is possible.
Basically, you have created deliverables with an accountability partner and a deadline. Now you can track it and make it happen!