Small and medium sized enterprises are similar to big businesses in many respects. However, they are operating with fewer resources, fewer people and less margin for error. The owner may be pressured to do everything, because they’re afraid to delegate or have no one to delegate the work to. One solution is to follow project management principles, though surprisingly few small businesses do because of their misconceptions. Here are 4 things small and medium businesses get wrong about project management.
Improper Task Delegation
A small business owner is always making a mistake when they hire help but refuse to delegate work to the person. However, this isn’t the only mistake they can make. Small businesses too often assume everyone knows their role, since they know each other. However, you have to make sure everyone is assigned a task.
Furthermore, you need to ensure that all essential tasks are not just assigned, but assigned to the right person. Don’t make the mistake of assigning everything to the most experienced person; there may be someone equally capable or knowledgeable. Project management software allows you to outline tasks for a given project and assign work based on availability as well as ability. However, it is your responsibility not to overload key people or assign work to those who can’t deliver.
Small businesses often suffer from a lack of communication. Poor project planning can contribute to this. You’re certainly setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have a project plan. You’ll create problems if you don’t explain the project to everyone on the team. If there are changes made by you or others that aren’t captured in the project plan, then you’re guaranteeing big misunderstandings.
Conversely, project management software can give everyone a common place for monitoring the status of the project and their place in it. This doesn’t eliminate all need to talk about issues, but it reduces the redundant questions about what someone is supposed to be doing and what they’ve done so far.
Trust is essential to any team, but it doesn’t come automatically. Small business owners often show their staff that they don’t trust them by micromanaging them. The opposite situation is when you give them tasks and the necessary resources to complete it.
Businesses can make mistakes when they don’t set goals or priorities. Give people both deliverable goals and milestones to meet. They should know how their work contributes to the success of the project and how much more is left to do. They feel a sense of completion when they hit milestones, keeping them motivated. Individuals and teams hitting milestones also helps you keep track of the team’s progress. A side benefit of having tasks and milestones is that it aids in the assessment of individual employee performance.
A lack of priorities hurts the organization in other ways. You don’t want people wasting time on low-priority projects or working on tasks that aren’t on the critical path. Consider investing in a good project management software tool that will allow them to know immediately what their highest priority is and how it relates to the team’s objectives.
Managers can also make the mistake of making projects and workflows so complicated that no one understands them or wastes time trying to maintain them. Simplify your workflows with smaller components. Have individual pieces reviewed and approved, but don’t have so many moving parts that the project management gets in the way of getting work done.
The project management software market has hit the billion-dollar mark because of the benefits it provides to firms of all sizes. A good implementation will improve many issues small businesses face, improving communications, efficiency and overall management.