Why Project Management Is the Secret Weapon for Small Business Efficiency


Throughout my career, I’ve worn a lot of hats, but one that I am particularly proud of is being a project manager for a copywriting firm. I ran the teams, I assigned the workload, and, sometimes, I ate the pavement when a project slipped sideways. It was a challenge in every sense of the word, but it also was a job that brought considerable value to the small business I worked for, and I believe my work made us more efficient and productive. Here are some of the things I learned in that role.

What does a project manager do at a small business?

Project manager is a title that can have a bit of play in it, especially at a small business, but for the most part, a project manager for a small business assign tasks to the team, answers questions about those tasks, monitors the tasks and the overall project’s progress, finds solutions when a team member doesn’t meet their deadline, and generally ensures that the project gets delivered on time.

In my case, I also was often involved in hiring team members and, unfortunately, firing them, since we weren’t large enough for a proper human resources department. I also often sat in on kick-off calls so I could get a very good understanding of what the project was. During those meetings, I would build the team in my head that I thought I needed for the project as the picture became clearer.

Current top project management software options

Below are some of our current top picks for project management software that combine value for the cost, combined with the features we consider essential for running your business’s project management needs.

 

A project manager is your efficiency secret weapon

Not every business that runs projects has a project manager or project management tools, and you can often tell. Sometimes it’s evident in a lack of cohesion of the end product, which your project manager is there to provide, and sometimes it’s evident in a lack of on-time deliverables. Small business owners often choose to go it alone, and armed with the right software bundle and well-designed project management tools, they may themselves become the project’s manager.

A project manager’s job is efficiency and problem solving, through every step of the process of creating some kind of deliverable. It doesn’t matter if it’s a house, a website, or a software package — your project manager’s goals will be improving efficiency in these areas.

Task design

Your PM knows your team better than anyone, I can promise you that. If they are tasked with choosing how to break projects down into tasks, they’re going to do this with the team’s strengths and weaknesses in mind so later they don’t have to find a way to fix a problem that could have been avoided.

Task assignment

Your team has different strengths, and your PM knows it. That’s why they will give the tasks best suited to the person with the right skills. This is an efficiency of its own, since you won’t waste time trying to assign work that’s obviously best for a particular person on the team.

Deadline compliance

There are always bumps along the road, and that means deadlines are easy to miss and hard to adhere to. A PM’s job is to deliver their projects on time. That’s why they work behind the scenes to check on progress and ensure that each part of the puzzle is moved to the right next party in a timely manner or reassigned to someone who can deliver the item before the next round of deadlines.

Quality control and product cohesion

Not all PMs are involved in quality control, but they should be at some level at a small business. This is a vital part of the job that gives your project the professional polish that will help you earn more market share over time. By implementing gatekeepers who are tasked with making the project shine according to written standards, your project manager ensures that clients aren’t coming back asking about inconsistencies.

Of course, no project manager can be a success without project management tools. These software packages make it possible for the project manager to see all the moving parts of a project at a glance. This is where they get a lot of their intel about how a project is doing, especially one with several teams or levels of handling involved.

When you have multiple levels in a project, such as a copywriting firm that also has editorial staff and SEO experts on hand, you have to know where all those pieces are. Plus, you need to know where they should be and who has them at any given moment. In a busy environment, that’s impossible without excellent project management software.

Project management is the key to turning a project that kind of works into one that has consistent professional shine, as well as one that meets its deadlines. That’s just as important as the rest. A perfect project is useless if it’s three weeks too late. With good project management, both in the form of human assets and software assets, your small business can be unstoppable.

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