Small Businesses Need Project Management

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

Often when we are writing, reading or talking about project management there is the tendency to assume it is all about major corporations managing multi-million pound projects. But project management is not just for large companies; project management is just as crucial for small businesses, and if a project-centric approach is taken right from the very early stages of a business it will have a greater chance of succeeding.

We all know the advantages of project management: improved collaboration between people or departments, better budgeting of time and tasks enabling better planning and forecasting and these advantages don’t just apply where there are big budgets to spend. In many ways project management is more crucial for small businesses where budgets and timescales tend to be tighter.  Effective project management ensures better use of resources and improved work quality; things that every business can benefit from by especially those smaller businesses who are still building brand, products, services, reputation and a loyal customer base.

A project centric approach along with effective PM tools will help any type of company manage their different tasks better. Standard procedures and centralised document management will avoid wasting time and help with file sharing, collaboration and team communication – all of which will have a positive effect on the budget and other resources. Many PM tools are free, cloud based apps so can be used easily by everyone who needs access no matter where they are based.

Of course simply using a project management tool is not enough to magically make your business more efficient – it is, after all, only a tool and it is a skilled project manager that will ensure proper project management processes are in place and procedures followed. These are what will really make a difference to your business and it’s bottom line.

It is not always practical for a small business to hire a dedicated project manager but it is a role that, with the right training, can be done part-time by someone also fulfilling another role in the company. It may even provide an opportunity for someone you already employ who is looking for some career advancement and professional qualifications.  Project management training is readily available in many easy access formats such as online videos, e-learning and podcasts so the budding project manager does not need to leave the premises. A distinct advantage for small businesses where every person really counts.

So if you run a small business why not take a look at existing employees for an individual who is already experienced in budget setting, time management, managing client expectations etc. and who could be trained and developed into a project manager who could ensure the company handles all work efficiently with the best use of resources. Alternatively these skills can be taught to the right person and there are even project management apprentice schemes available to help develop young people into valuable assets for a small business.

This approach could help the company grow and develop in all areas including becoming more efficient and competing with larger companies.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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