How to implement project management practices in a growing business

BY Guillermo Soria

{Project Manager}

9 July 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of company sizes throughout my career. From startups to multinational corps I’ve been involved in different project management environments and, given my curious personality, I’ve collected some key elements that any entrepreneur or growing company (especially those within the digital industry) should know before making that big step. Introduce a Project Manager into your organisation.

While many entrepreneurs and small business people have developed some management skills, they will eventually need to delegate some tasks to someone capable to sail the ship through the most dangerous waters. I know your business could be like your own baby, so some hesitation and doubt may come before being 100% convinced that you need to get someone onboard to take over.

In this blog, I will discuss some things you need to consider before adopting formal PM practices in your organisation and how to plan the best strategy to get there. In the end, this is about PM’ing, right?

Will I lose flexibility in my operations and become bureaucratic?

There are some frameworks and methodologies such as the PMI and PRINCE that can sound quite bureaucratic and hard to implement, however, something you have to know is that you can use as many (or as few) processes in those methodologies as you like, and adapt them to work into your workflow. They were indeed developed to cover complex management flows to fit corporate-sized enterprises, however, it’s up to you how far you want to go into it. For example, there’s no need for you to adopt, say, a “Portfolio Management Process”, when your organisation will be working in one or two projects and not expecting to grow further, yet you’d definitely want to get deeper into Risk Management specially if you are building apps (you don’t want to fix something and break something else, right?). So be smart, do your research and find the processes that you need in your organisation and plan how to integrate them into your workflow. This way you will avoid lots of undesired troubles.

Project Management Tools?

You may already know of some project management tools that are in the market. Now, what’s the best one? Which one is the right for you?
Well, this comes down to a few things:

  1. Based on the framework or methodology you want to adopt, make sure this tool covers the process you want to run
  2. Collaboration – It is very important to be able to use the same tool with your team, contractors and clients. Centralising services will avoid so many headaches, trust me.
  3. Flexibility – You want to have a tool that allows you to integrate with your accounting service, as well as your calendar and any other back-office tools you use.
  4. Price – Most tools nowadays are in-cloud systems which is a massive advantage for you. Getting into a one-year contract might offer you big savings, but paying monthly it also gives you that freedom you always want.
  5. The most popular tool? This doesn’t mean this tool is for everyone. Some of the most popular tools can be less flexible and lead you to an unwanted bureaucracy, and in the end, this something you want to avoid.

In the end, my advice would be to spend some time looking at them (most of them will offer you 30-day trial), so take the most out of them and find the best for you.

Hiring the right candidate

A question that has been asked of me many times is: Do I need to hire a Project Manager with experience in my industry?

While most PMs are capable of managing projects from different industries without any problems, my advice would be to choose someone with experience in the same industry as yours, especially if this will be the first PM in your organisation. This is because of two reasons:

  1. Your new PM will likely need to document some basic processes,  convert your team to adopt new workflows, and interact with PM services, so why not make this initial process faster?
  2. The learning curve and the onboarding of a new PM in any industry can be quite long, and as mentioned above – while most PMs are capable to take over within any industry, you’d want to make this learning period shorter so that you can see results faster.

As you have seen, the reason behind this advice is speeding things up.

There are so many things that we can discuss in order to see a smooth transition when adopting a PM into your organisation, however, I hope these tips have given you an insight into what to expect, and what to look for while getting into this exciting journey. Believe me, it will all be worth it in the end.

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