There’s an endless list of things that you can do to improve productivity and workflow in your small business, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much time and resources available, so you have to prioritize your efforts!
Focusing on some of the key elements of project management is a great way to get more impact from your efforts. While the execution of the overall project management tasks may vary depending on what kind of business you’re running, there are certain elements that apply no matter what kind of project you’re doing.
So, let’s look at a few key elements of project management today that I like to use with clients!
Understand and Document Timelines
When you’re juggling multiple clients and projects at any given time, having a solid understanding of how long the normal tasks associated with common deliverables take is essential. This is one of the key elements of project management that often gets overlooked as we grow because we’re so busy turning around work that we don’t stop to document what we’re doing and how long it actually takes.
Start by creating a list of all the different things you provide for clients. Be sure to consider everything you provide whether they’re project-based, retainer-based or special add-ons. If you are feeling stuck, look through your recent messages with clients or your team for inspiration.
Then, identify how long each item takes to complete as a distinct task when you consider your average workload. When you’re figuring this out, be sure to include time for any necessary back and forth that’s likely to be required to get the task done.
Once you have a solid idea of how long each common task takes in your business, you’ll be much better able to quote appropriate timelines to clients. This is one of the key elements of project management because you need to know how long things take before you can effectively set deadlines!
For a more in-depth discussion of establishing your deliverables list, check out this post.
Resources to Support Your Team
Another one of my favorite key elements of project management is resources to ensure every task gets done the same way every time. Taking the time to document your processes with templates, checklists, or guidelines that your team can easily access pays off in droves.
If you don’t already have your processes documented, start there. Identify the processes that are most frequently carried out along with who is responsible, and then come up with a plan for these to get written. While it may seem like a lot of work, having this done is a necessity for your business.
These processes will ensure that things are done the same way each time with efficiency and accuracy. It also ensures that you don’t end up answering the same questions over and over again — which is a huge sanity saver!
Quality Control Is a Must
Take the time to assign someone to the role of quality control for every task that’s completed in your business — especially the sensitive ones. The importance of this as one of the key elements of project management cannot be underestimated. Without quality control, you won’t be able to ensure a consistent product is delivered to your clients and that inevitably leads to unhappy situations.
For each task that has to be completed as part of the project, take the time to identify the essential things to check at the end of every task, and make sure someone is explicitly responsible for this quality control happening.
The bottom line is that you want to be productive and effective in the work you do every day. By taking the time to implement some of these key elements of project management, you’re setting yourself, your team, and your clients up for the most successful outcome possible.