Project management involves planning and overseeing all aspects of a plan from start to completion. Strategic elements of a successful project plan typically relate to establishing specific parameters, assigning tasks and developing steps to implementation. It also includes developing workflow charts to track all of the elements of individual plan components and creating an oversight approach to monitoring progress.
The foremost strategic objective of managing a project plan is to outline project goals. This means defining why the project is necessary and what outcomes are desired. For example, if you have a project plan for developing a new client newsletter, the goal may be to create a vehicle that helps maintain communication channels between your company and your consumers. One anticipated outcome could include maintenance of repeat business, up-selling existing customers and branding your company.
Once goals are established, the next strategic objective is creation of a workflow chart that details how to proceed with fulfillment of goals. This often requires a step-by-step approach. Using the same newsletter example, to fulfill the goal of creating a form of communication between business and its customers requires the action steps of designing a template and layout, creating newsletter categories and developing and editorial calendars. Subsets of individual steps may include assigning tasks, establishing timelines and designating budget expenditures.
Most small-business projects involve several employees working together toward a common goal. An objective of good project management is to select the right people for the project and oversee them to ensure they can effectively operate together as a team. Ask for regular progress reports and hold project group meetings on a regular basis to make sure everyone is operating with the same information.
Staying On Budget
Most small-business budgets are finite in nature, and significant cost overruns in project planning can be financially detrimental. Staying on budget involves diligence at the estimation point of project planning, as well as through implementation of various steps. Exceeding budget can potentially force elimination of certain key elements of the project or endanger the project altogether.
A project with numerous components stays on track with carefully selected deadlines for various phases of the project. Meeting deadlines during the completion of a project plan is essential to keeping your small business on track. Anything that delays the project’s timetable has the potential to negatively impact the viability of the project. Diligence and oversight on behalf of a project manager can ensure that project planning tasks stay on budget.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.