What is Project Management?
In the simplest of terms, project management is prioritizing your activities and getting them completed.
I could stop right there, but when we look at everything that needs to get done in your business, saying to simply prioritize and implement is easier said than done.
Let’s first consider, “What is a project”?
A project is a collection of activities that leads to completion of a goal or objective.
For example, calling a vendor to reorder supplies is a task, but growing your sales team or launching a new product is a project.
There are many steps and decisions involved in growing your team. You need to know: what responsibilities do you want team members to fulfill; how will you determine successful performance; how much are you willing to pay; how will you train them; when do you need them to start; where will they work; what equipment or software will you need for them to complete these responsibilities; etc.
And, you don’t want to leave these decisions and their outcomes solely to chance or to a ‘gut feeling’.
Think about your current business situation for a moment…How much time and effort is being spent on tasks vs. being spent on the right projects – the ones that will move your business forward – and getting those right projects done?
Next, before getting into the how of getting activities done and done faster, let’s look at what project management is not.
What Project Management is Not
Depending on your business background and experience, you may think that project management is a certification. Although there are certifications available, you and your team members do not need a certification to get your projects done and implemented.
Project management is not about tools and fancy acronyms.
Project Management is also not your to-do list.
Although one of my slogans for my business is “I turn your to-do list into revenue”, I take you deeper to make sure your to-do list contains activities and projects that will actually move your business and your team forward rather than encouraging the ongoing churn of activities that merely keep you busy and stuck right where you are.
Why Is Project Management Important to Your Business
Did you know that just one unfinished project is costing you at least $10,000?
How many projects do you have on your plate right now – projects that are unfinished? Is it 1? 10? 50?
When I’ve spoken in front of audiences, I’ve heard numbers over 100. And my personal favorite: “higher than I can count”.
Start viewing your projects as expenses; money that you aren’t receiving because they’re not done.
Have you ever hired a building contractor or another service provider to do work for you?
Let’s assume we’ve hired a building contractor for a $60,000 project (after upfront material fees) that gets paid as milestones are reached.
Until the first milestone is COMPLETED, that’s $60,000 the contractor doesn’t have to pay employees or to invest in other money-making projects. If the project gets delayed, that’s even more money pressure the contractor will experience.
The same is true for your unfinished projects and your business.
How to Apply Project Management in Your Business
Here is my four-step process when working with clients. Apply these steps to make sure your to-do list is moving you and your business forward:
- Inventory: Capture all of your ideas (aka, your unfinished projects) into one location. One sheet of paper. One document on your computer. Get all of the ideas out of your head and off all those Post-It Notes laying around your office.
- Identify: A key to making sure your to-do list is focused on revenue-generating activities, is to know how much money each project is costing you. You can make cost estimates based on what you know about each unfinished project, or start with a $10,000 estimate.
- Prioritize: When you look at your list of unfinished projects and associated expenses, which ones float to the top? Which ones are the biggest needle movers for your business? Which ones are leaving the largest amount of money on the table?
- Monetize: The final step is to get the projects done and turned into money.
What about those projects on your list which don’t appear to be directly tied to revenue?
Let’s use the example of hiring a new team member. Unless the role is tied to sales, it can be difficult to see how the role is tied to revenue.
Instead, view the project from this perspective: Does hiring this new team member take non-revenue generating tasks off your or your team’s plate to free you up for business strategy and revenue-generating activities? Will hiring the new team member lead to an increase in your visibility within your market place and lead to more sales opportunities for you or your sales team?
I have a free resource that walks you through this process: Inventory, Identify, Prioritize, Monetize. It’s called my Projects to Profits™ Accelerator Cheatsheet.
The cheatsheet includes a one-pager checklist of projects you’re likely thinking about right now, and is applicable to service-based and product-based businesses. You’ll also receive an email series walking you through the steps, along with direct email access to me to ask any questions or for feedback.
To your success,