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How to Project Manage... Your Entire Business

By Mark Wardell @MarkWardell |

If your business is anything like mine, there are several critical projects requiring your immediate attention at all times. The production of a new catalogue, the implementation of a software system, hiring key staff… Projects like these take resources, time and money. Three commodities that, for the average business owner, are almost always in short supply.

By learning to apply Project Management skills to your business as a whole, you’ll be able to boost the supply of all three of these highly valuable commodities.

The trick is to ensure that A. the projects in front of you are the most important things you could be working on; and B. you are tackling them as efficiently and effectively as possible. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to success.

1. Create a list of strategic objectives for your business, every year.

That old saying that ‘when you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ is true. You need a roadmap to guide your business every year. Outline all of your objectives, large and small, and break them down into monthly and weekly goals, by priority. At the end of the year, you’ll be amazed at what you were able to accomplish. Without this focus, you simply won’t achieve your objectives as effectively.

2. Keep your objectives in front of you at all times.

To remain focused, you need to keep your objectives, by project, in front of you at all times. This visual focus will spark some innovative solutions for accomplishing your goals, whether that means outsourcing, collaborating, or another creative approach.

3. Develop a timeline/Strategic Map.

Once you’ve determined how you’ll accomplish your objectives, organize your goals into a calendar and follow your Strategic Map each month. This will be your Project Management compass. Continuously update your monthly objectives to ensure you have your priorities straight. A simple Excel spreadsheet is a straightforward way to make this happen.

4. Be ruthless about value.

Anything that does not add measurable value to your company should be closely considered, and in most cases, removed from the list. Of course, you’re entitled to grant yourself a few pet projects. It is your company after all!

5. Assign leaders.

Assign each project to a Project Manager who will be accountable for the timely and successful completion of the project. Realize that these people may accomplish the project with a different approach then you. By allowing them to manage projects using their judgment (with your guidance), you’ll be facilitating stronger leadership qualities.

6. Work with each Manager to develop reasonable outcomes.

It is the Project Manager’s job to design a detailed plan incorporating benchmark goals for achieving success. Keep in mind that ‘detailed’ will depend on the scope and complexity of the project. Work with each Manager so they understand the impact of their projects on the overall success of the company. Bring them into your vision, and you’ll inspire greater motivation and enthusiasm.

7. Leverage performance Indicators whenever possible.

I’m a big fan of using performance indicators to help people identify and measure their success. For a marketing campaign, this could mean measuring website traffic or Facebook likes; for a Production project, it could mean measuring quality improvement ratings. Define what success looks like for each project and find a way to measure it.

8. Stick to your schedule.

We all know what this means, right? For each project, a reporting system should be set up to ensure that the project doesn’t fall off schedule. Falling behind schedule is the biggest culprit to derailing successful projects. At all costs, find a way to stick to your schedule, and you’ll find your business achieving more than you ever thought possible.

The truth is, Project Management skills aren’t second nature to every business owner. If you need some help in this department, that’s ok. Bring someone in to help you streamline your approach to running critical projects that comprise your business. I guarantee, doing so will bring your business more of the essential time, money and resources that your success depends on.

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