How To Achieve Business Success Through Project Management

brainstormingWhether it’s one-off campaigns, the launch of new products or services or changing the way you do an existing function, any business will have to deliver projects.

Success is important in any of those scenarios and to achieve that you need effective project management. Here’s our guide to how this can help your business to thrive…

Clarity

Whatever your project is, it needs to be clearly defined. You need to understand precisely what it is you hope to achieve, when you need to have done it by and set out the way you can measure the success of the project.

Personnel

A good project manager is worth their weight in gold. This role has probably been given a bad press by the television show The Apprentice, with the project managers being the people who more often than not carry the can for their team’s failings.

Yet, in real life, these people are the lynchpins or your strategy – sitting at the heart of the project and, ultimately, ensuring the goal is achieved. You need to find someone who understands what you want, has the right skillset to achieve that, has a good track record, is well-organised and analytical.

You are trusting this person with a key role, but that doesn’t absolve you of any further responsibility – it’s your job to liaise properly with this person and ensure they get the support to deliver what they need to do.

Specialist

A project manager will need to identify what skills a business possesses and which it lacks when it comes to delivering on a particular task. So, whatever you need – be it abrasive recovery systems, legal advice or even translation of foreign transactions – the project management process should identify these at the earliest possible opportunity and go about securing the most cost effective options for these.

Budget

Speaking of being cost effective, one of the key functions of the project management process should be to keep a close eye on the money involved and ensure the budget is being stuck to. Your business will suffer if you allow costs to spiral; the project itself might end up being incomplete if the coffers run dry. Your project manager should keep a regular check on every piece of expenditure and monitor this like a hawk.

Analysis

Monitoring the money is crucial, but the project management process is about analysing every element of the scheme. That means regularly reflecting on what is going well and what isn’t and measuring progress against that set out in the plan. By never letting matters drift so they get behind, you’ll be on track for an efficient delivery of your project.

Flexibility

This analysis is not about forcing your project to be micro-managed within an inch of its life – far from it. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s also important that, if things don’t work, you’re able to be flexible and adapt to circumstances that arrive during the delivery phase.

How to stay in control when everything seems to be going wrong

everything_going_wrongSo you have a big project in the works. You’re excited about it and anxious for the growth in your business. You’ve outlined the plan, created a strategy for success and maybe even built your team. But then the problems start.  Your project isn’t working out as you expected and everything seems to be going wrong.

It happens. Some of the projects you may be most excited about don’t work out the way you’d planned. How you handle the situation may mean the difference between failure and success. Here are some tips to stay in control when everything seems to be going wrong.

1. Damage Control

Sometimes something that feels like a big disaster isn’t as terrible as it may seem. For example, a freelancer may miss a deadline and that missed deadline pushes everything else back. This means your launch date is now in jeopardy. Damage control is the key here.

Work with your freelancer to complete the project asap. In some cases this may mean that you have to take over the project or find a new freelancer. Once you have a new deadline, take a look at all subsequent steps and deadlines. Where do you have wiggle room? Can you ask another contractor to turn around their project more quickly?

A rush fee may be worth considering to meet your launch date. The important thing to remember is that acting quickly and looking for solutions is the foundation of damage control. All hope is not lost.

2. Got lemons? Turn them into lemonade!

How often have you received an email from a company with an apology? Do you open those emails? They tend to have extremely high open rates. If you’re unable to meet a promised launch date or you or a freelancer has made a mistake, turn the mistake into an opportunity.

For example, if you promised to release a book by the first of the month and it’s delayed a month, whip up a free report or provide a coupon for your other products to make amends. It may actually increase your overall profits, and your customers are likely to appreciate the effort.

3. Know when to quit

Sometimes things just don’t work out and the more you try to force it, the worse it gets. In many cases it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Why are things going wrong? Is it worth the continued efforts or is it time to fold? Failure is a part of business success. The important thing is to learn from failure and to avoid making the same mistakes again.

When everything seems to be falling apart, remember to take a deep breath. Relax. Assess the project from a logical perspective rather than an emotional one. Yes, you are passionate about your business. However, you are also separate from your business. That distinction will help you make the best decisions.