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3 Project Management Principles Small Businesses Can Use Right Now

Diverse professional executive business team people discuss project sitting at meeting table in board room. Multiethnic company managers brainstorm financial plan working together in boardroom.

These days, most small business owners have at least a passing familiarity with the concept of project management. And they know that using some of the principles of popular project management methodologies in their operations can improve their results. But therein lies a problem.

It’s that the average small business owner doesn’t possess any project management skills or experience. But that doesn’t mean they can’t apply project management principles to their operations. To do it, they can take the time to learn project management through available online courses, or they can hire someone with the right skill set.

But there’s also a third alternative — a shortcut if you will. They can dispense with the formalities and simply learn and apply the three most valuable project management principles to their business processes. And here’s what they are.

Build Solid Relationships With Stakeholders

When it comes down to it, most project management methodologies revolve around two things: organization and communication. And of the two, the latter is the harder one to maintain. But it’s considered one of the most important aspects of successful project management.

The thing is, effective project management isn’t about the methods of communication you choose to use. It’s about keeping the lines of communication open and dialog flowing between stakeholders. And making that happen is all about trust. Therefore, a small business owner can satisfy one of the key requirements of successful project management by building meaningful and trusting relationships with the people they deal with and rely upon.

From there, all that’s necessary is to find a communication style and method that works for all involved. If it’s email, that’s fine. If it’s phone calls or Zoom meetings, that works too. Just as long as transparency is the goal and everyone feels free to remain open and honest — everything else will take care of itself.

Measure Progress and Results to Avoid Micromanaging

The next project management principle that small business owners should apply to their operations has to do with managerial style. It’s that they should learn to measure project progress and results very carefully in all phases of their operations. Doing so will help them to exercise managerial control to achieve desired outcomes without resorting to micromanagement.

In short, this means maintaining visibility into processes and only stepping in when necessary. It also means learning how to delegate authority — which doesn’t come naturally to many small business owners — and staying out of the way. This is one of the keys to efficiency that comes with most project management methods. It decreases friction and allows every employee to use their skills and expertise without undue interference from above.

Commit to Learning Processes

Last but not least, small business owners should commit to learning as much as they can about the inner workings of the processes they’re managing. Doing so is something that the world’s best project managers routinely do — but rarely get credit for. And it helps them to be more effective leaders.

The reason for it is simple. It’s that you can’t manage what you don’t understand. It’s why professional project managers take time to get to know their team — including its skills, strengths, and weaknesses — before beginning a project. That way they can make the most efficient use of every team member’s skills or bring in additional help when needed. And those are all things that small business owners must be able to do to keep operations humming along.

But, it’s also important to know that absolute mastery of every aspect of those processes is neither required nor helpful. Knowing too much about what you’re managing is like an invitation to meddle. The goal is to understand the work in broad strokes. Just enough to grasp the important things without veering too far into the details.

The Takeaway

Although there’s far more about the project management process that may be useful to a small business, the three principles detailed here are excellent places to start. The reason for that is the fact that they’ll have an outsize impact on productivity and overall business success without requiring a deep understanding of any particular project management methodology. In many cases, they’ll be enough on their own for a small business to improve its outcomes — without investing much extra time or money — if they invest any at all. And that’s the kind of outcome any small business owner should appreciate.

Published: April 22, 2022

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Philip Piletic

Philip Piletic’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. He is an editor, writer, marketing consultant and guest author at several authority websites. Philip is in love with startups, latest tech trends and helping others get their ideas off the ground.

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