So, you need to do more with less. That’s a tricky maths equation. But it’s one that businesses across the world will need to solve now that an economic slowdown seems almost inevitable.
There is some good news, though. If you’ve ever downloaded a software package, only to discover a trove of additional features six months down the line, you’ll know how easy it is to overlook what you already have. Chances are, you could be overlooking the talent and capacity that already exists inside your business too. And that means there’s an opportunity to make better use of it.
That’s where project management comes in. It’s a function that allows you to make better use of what you already have, by shining a light on your people, processes, and profit margin.
Project management principles help you track every element of a project. You won’t need to guess at costs, profitability, or productivity. It’s all there, mapped out for you. So you can make better decisions based on clear reports of your project progress. Who doesn’t want that?
But before you start building a Gantt chart and assigning roles and goals, let’s take a look at why project management is so critical for making the most of your people.
Is project management a priority or an afterthought in your business?
Take this as a sign to make it your priority. Because effective project management means you can:
There are five stages to project management: Concept, plan, implementation, quality control, and project end. We won’t dwell on the fundamentals of each stage, so read this if you need a quick refresher.
The idea behind project management is that you identify a single goal or set of objectives, map this against your deadline and budget, and then put people, processes, and systems in place to reach that goal within the constraints.
Using the software, systems, and processes, you can track how your team is performing, how the budget is being used, and whether you’re likely to meet your deadlines.
Imagine building a fantasy football team: if the aim is to win a match, what skills, equipment, characteristics, and tactics do you need to achieve it? Creating a project management plan is a similar process.
Project management places your goal in the context of several factors, such as budget, deadlines, resources, and talent. Having a three-dimensional view of how all of these aspects interact can help you make better-informed decisions, decide on realistic timelines, and crucially – turn a profit.
By mapping out each stage of the project, you’ll get a crystal clear view of where you’re spending the most money, which processes are slowing you down, and how your teams work together. This is vital information – it can help you decide where to adjust processes, restructure teams, and find more cost-effective solutions.
You start gaining from project management the moment you implement it. Learning about the strengths and weaknesses of your people and processes will help you build effective task forces in the future, and allocate budget and resources at exactly the right time.
Modern-day project management requires a combination of people, processes, and technology. Depending on your business, the balance of those three aspects can vary greatly.
As you start to explore what project management might look like within your business, your first step should be assessing what you already have. That applies to people, processes, and software.
Project managers may naturally reveal themselves within your organisation. Skills such as clear communication, creative problem solving, and the ability to rally together a team will already exist within your business.
If you’re using the performance management HRLocker feature, it’s incredibly easy to identify who might be a good fit, just by looking at previous performance reviews and KPIs. Keep an eye out for traits like being an effective listener, a clear communicator, and the ability to invent creative solutions.
While natural project management skills might be visible, don’t forget to provide support, training, and guidance before you reassign internal staff members as project managers.
Project management used to require a suite of complex and expensive tools. But an increasing number of simple software options are available. What’s more, multipurpose programmes with a suite of features can save you the cost of a whole new subscription.
HRLocker timesheets and project management capabilities enable you to manage time, budget, and deadlines in one centralised platform. You can quickly identify when the budget is at risk, what’s taking the most time, and which teams are making the most progress on their assigned tasks.
Perform an audit of your existing software packages to make sure you aren’t under-utilising them. Are you using your software subscriptions to their full extent? Have you tried all of the features and looked for ways to apply them in the business? You may have all the project management tools you need at your disposal – you’ll just need to apply them.
And if a review of your team and your technology still leaves you wanting project management capability, it might be time to consider freelance talent. Over 75% of businesses in the US prefer using freelancers in rocky economic times, and it’s clear to see why.
Freelance project management can be a budget-friendly solution, especially if you only need support with specific projects. Operating outside of your organisation, freelance project managers can offer a fresh perspective and an injection of skills that would cost a pretty penny to employ full-time.
Project management helps you get the best out of your people. Accurately tracking time, tasks, and goals can show you when your people are thriving and when they need more support. And if expenditure goes a bit beyond what you were planning, it’s far easier to identify the course of events that led to overspending when it’s all recorded.
If your budget says no new hires, don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of who’s already on your team. Embracing project management principles can help you better understand how your people work, and act accordingly to boost productivity, fulfilment, and profits.
Don’t let the success of your projects hinge on a hunch. Start using project management in your organisation today.
How to drive efficiency in your business through effective Project Management
In this episode, we talk to Gareth Purdy, a leader in the field of Project Management. He gives us some great insights into the role of a PM, the skillsets required and some excellent tips on how you can roll out successful projects on time and on budget.