Highly accomplished practitioners of any craft make things look easy. The neophyte sweats, struggles, makes errors, and ends up questioning whether achieving the objective is even possible. The master takes over, completes the task effortlessly, and sits back down with a cup of coffee. The results are similar no matter the size or difficulty level of the task at hand.
The secret is efficiency. The attainment of near-maximum efficiency leads to optimal productivity. In the case of the journeyman practitioner, efficiency has been built over years of training and practice. A consistent approach has been developed and refined based on past performance. All the tricks, secrets, and innovations picked up along the way have been incorporated into method. High-quality output is all but guaranteed.
The same principle holds true when applied to the case of the small business attempting to take on larger projects than have been attempted in the past. The aim is to produce increased profits, but that objective will not be reached unless the challenges inherent in tackling larger projects are successfully overcome.
Maximizing efficiency is the key to accomplishing more with the same size of team and resource base. Past experience may be useful to some extent, but often a new scale of project brings with it a lot of unfamiliar territory. The quickest and easiest way to gain advantage is to look for improvements in efficiency.
Project Management and the Small Business
For companies large and small, projects and the tasks that comprise them represent essentially the same type of challenge. A process and plan for undertaking all project tasks must be designed. Resources need to be inventoried, then allocated in a way that will allow all the work to be accomplished with as little waste as possible. As work proceeds, resource management is an ongoing concern. Handling changes, unforeseen difficulties, and new risks are additional considerations.
Small companies typically do not have access to the amount and quality of resources that are available to large enterprises. There is little margin for error both in conducting normal project operations and in taking decisions and acting in the face of change and manifesting risk. Another difference lies in the fact that large organizations likely have in place a well-developed approach to project management along with the human resources and tools needed to carry it out.
In contrast, small organizations may display the tendency to value product over process. They are not likely to have room in the budget for project management offices and the technologies that provide invaluable support when it comes to the conduct of large, complex projects. In terms of methodology, many small businesses fall into the “make it up as we go along” school of thought. Unfortunately, this approach is very close to a definition of inefficiency.
Structure is Your Friend
There is a way for a small business to overcome its disadvantages when it is time to handle large, complex projects. It involves leveraging tools that empower team members to work smarter and faster, and that increase the overall efficiency of project work as a whole. Along with tools, success demands a framework to provide structure for all aspects of the project work from kick off to completion.
A properly-designed project management software platform can offer the structure and toolset required to take on projects of any size and complexity. Today’s cloud-based applications put everything in one place where everyone can get to it. They archive all project documentation and communication. The software serves as a virtual workspace that frames and organizes project activities.
Go Big With Confidence
Most modern project and resource management applications are quite user friendly. Once in operation, the right online project management toolset will produce immediate time-saving efficiencies in communication and documentation alone. With experience leading to refinement of your approach to using it, the software becomes a force multiplier for your small-business project team.
Being able to share information and collaborate, schedule resources, track costs and completions, evaluate and report all from one place does a lot to help a small enterprise punch above its weight when it comes to tackling large projects. Put a well-structured methodology for handling projects in place and watch perceived difficulty drop along with stress levels.