When you set out to start your own business, you were buzzing with excitement at all the things you were going to achieve. Then, you realized that there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ and that you have to work closely with your colleagues in order to deliver top results. With each brand new project that you enlist, your workload expands, and the quality of your outcomes depends on the extent of your collaborative capabilities… and on the range of your organizing skills.
What is project management to you?
Project management is essentially the know-how of bringing desirable results when you set out to create a new product, service, or process. How well does your small company fare when it comes to online management solutions? Would you be interested in taking things to a whole new level? I have a pretty good idea of how you can transform your work at your headquarters. Read further.
The pitfalls of traditional collaboration methods
It is the same with most start-ups: the plan for a project only resides in the mind of the business owner, who may or may not manage to get everyone on board. If everyone in your company gets together to work in the same place, then post-its or sticky notes sent by one team member to another can serve as notifications, reminders or call-to-action prompts that are issued during an ongoing project. However, they are primeval methods, compared to their digital counterparts that help with team communication: instant messaging and e-mails.
Not even e-mails convey information clearly. Every written message, no matter how concise, is open to interpretation. Especially since they lack a visual representation because our human brains are more receptive to imagery than text. ‘I love checking my Inbox from 5 to 5 minutes, to make sure I get all updates from my peers and clients’ – said no one, ever. Some e-mails are delayed. The last thing you can afford to waste is time. If you have to communicate something to several people at once, then it takes too long to get all the CCs and BCCs right.
Frequent ‘in situ’ meetings may help everyone get on the same page about a project schedule and specific tasks, but they present a huge risk: they tend to go on for much longer than planned. When you’re working against the clock to deliver a project, every minute of every hour counts. Plus, what happens when some team members are unavailable or on the other side of the globe? The miracles of the Digital Age give us a helping hand: you can replace face-to-face meetings with live video conferences. And that doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Start-up vs. large enterprise: widespread misconceptions
It’s true that a small business has limited resources compared to a corporation. Yet, solid management is more vital in the web design industry. As a matter of fact, the better you harness the power of your resources, the bigger the odds of out-classing your competitors are.
Project management is an area that you can and must address as well as possible. Employing some specialized services for this purpose does not require a large capital investment, as some of you may think. The web is brimming with low-cost and free tools that enable you to assign tasks, track time, share files, and discuss progress.
The case for using project management software
I know that activities related to online management solutions demand that you put in additional work, to begin with. If you’re willing to go that extra mile, your company’s success, as a result, might surprise you. PM software lets you think out of the box. It opens your mind to objective analysis of every decision, so you can determine all risks and avoid negative outcomes.
The best project management tools don’t even demand prior project management knowledge. You simply need the willingness to guide your team through well-planned iterations until you finish a project. Soon you may find that it’s child’s play to diligently schedule your projects and see that all milestones are met.
TIP: If you need to manage timesheets from multiple employees, choose software with a time tracker for employees. Preferably one that has a Pomodoro timer, which is good because it helps them focus and customize their own working sessions. Here’s a list of the top Pomodoro apps. If you need a web-based solution to create invoices from the time tracked, opt for invoicing software instead of accounting services.
These web-based tools can also be very educational. The more projects you complete, the better your team gets at sharing information and synchronizing. You would quickly reach an understanding of what makes your team tick. Also, you can use that knowledge to increase performance and productivity. You would also get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t work in the overall process. Thus, you and your teammates can refine your working style and adopt goal-driven habits.
Finally, I suggest we take a minute to ponder all the aspects of your business that a consistent framework improves. Using online tools to manage creative projects is like applying basic common sense. At least when it comes to product/service development, marketing, real-time team briefing, file sharing, etc. What’s more, first-rate platforms for project management let you work from your desktop, as well as over modern mobile devices. Plus, they are available in a multitude of languages.
Come to think of it, the sky’s the limit. With such online management solutions, your creative team is bound to out-speed and out-collaborate others. Your company will gain more credibility, not to mention that its finances will skyrocket.