What You Need to Know About Project Management

Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living, chances are you’ve probably had to do some form or level of project management. But what even is project management and what does it have to do with my business? In this post, we’ll go through several important points, so that you can get the most out of your project management efforts (even if you don’t know squat about it)!

What is Project Management?

According to Wikipedia, “Project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, budget.

In easier terms, project management means streamlining the efforts of the team in order to achieve the objective proposed by either the team leader or a client. It lists out tasks and breaks them down even further, so that the team has enough time to complete each step and avoid or limit wasting the organization’s resources.

You can read more about how you can master basic project management here.

Why do you need project management in your organization?

Not having a plan is a fool-proof way to derail your initiatives and prevent sustainable business growth.

Project management helps set a standard, so that commitments are fulfilled successfully.

Benefits of implementing standardized project management practices across your organization:

  • Allows you and your team to see both the big picture and the small details.
  • Helps keep your projects aligned with your business goals and strategy.
  • Sets the bar, so your team doesn’t fall prey to rushed work and sloppy execution.

What happens when you have a project manager that you can rely on?

A project manager is essentially the glue that binds your… PROJECT & TEAM together.

They ensure that everyone in your team is on the same page when it comes to the effort that needs to be exerted to achieve the project goal – from start to finish.

Project managers help your team systematically go through the 4 Project Management Phases:

  1. Initiation – This is where you start defining what needs to happen, who will take part, time estimates, etc… this is akin to a rough draft.
  2. Planning – This phase is where we refine the project idea. Tasks are broken down to manageable pieces, resources allocated, and those involved are briefed to give them a clear understanding of the project objective(s).
  3. Execution – This is when the action happens. In this phase, project managers monitor project progress, deviations, as well as other potential issues that may arise.
  4. Closure – The final phase of a project. A report is created in order to evaluate if the team was able to meet the goal, this will help those involved reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved.

Picking the right tool for your toolbox…

There are a lot of tools in the market right now, and it can get overwhelming when you’re tasked to pick one that works for your specific business.

So, here are some points to watch out for and remember when looking for a project management tool for your business.

What to look for when choosing a project management tool for your business:

Team Collaboration

  • The tool you pick should have a team collab feature. This will help your team gain a better understanding of how they will achieve the project objective and enable them to communicate with other key team members and departments.

Innovative Features

  • Project management is as dynamic as your business. New breakthroughs in procedures and processes happen all the time, so you need a tool to keep up with it!

Customizable

  • Opt for tools that allow you to make the changes you need yourself, especially if you’re just starting out, so you can avoid spending even more money to make it work. Look for user-friendly tools that’s easy to access and use.

Customer-focused

  • There is no shortage of amazing tools online, so choose the ones with exemplary customer service. Tech will break no matter how savvy you are, which is why it would be a lifesaver to be able to reach customer support easily.

What’s the best project management tool (and why is it ClickUp)?

  1. Allows you to streamline your projects, workflows, and departments with their growing template gallery.
  2. Easily organize tasks, track any changes, manage and stay in touch with your team.
  3. Map out schedules, organize calendars based on team/organizational capacity, set estimated time, as well as track how much time was spent on a particular task or objective.
  4. Access is secure (e.g. guest & member), easy to share files within your organization.
  5. Works for solo users and large teams.
  6. Free version is robust enough to do what you need it to do and more.
  7. Provides timely bug fixes and new features based on user needs.
  8. Integrates with several other tools like Slack, Airtable, Google Drive, Zendesk, YouTube, etc.
  9. Great place to write and store your business standard operating procedures (and again, easily share it with key team members).
  10. You can set up automations to save time and simplify your workflow.
  11. Their customer support representatives are a cut above the rest.

With this, ClickUp is easily one of the best project management tools out there. After all, it does have a lot of features that most business owners dream of!

Now, it’s not to say that there are no downside to using ClickUp, especially if you have 0% project management experience. There are regular feature updates and it can get overwhelming if you’re not careful.

I still stand by my opinion that it’s the best tool, however, because there’s so much more you can do with ClickUp than you could do with another tool like Asana or Trello (sorry not sorry LOL).

Virtual Assistant vs Project Manager vs Online Business Manager vs Director of Operations

It’s no secret that as your business grows you need help, but hiring the wrong person can lead your business into a legit dumpster-fire disaster.

So, let’s go through who does what and which one your business probably needs!

Virtual Assistant

Takes those tedious, recurring tasks off your plate so that you can focus your efforts to grow your business.

Virtual assistants typically work on general administrative tasks like email inbox management, but some can branch out and have other special skills like copywriting and customer service.

Reports to directly to the: CEO, Small Business Owner, or department manager.

Payment: Usually paid at an hourly rate based on skills and experience. Has limitations on how many clients they can work with due to time restraints (i.e. trading hours for work). May be a prepaid or postpaid service depending on the VA.


Project Manager

Unlike the VA, a Project Manager focus lies on the larger scale projects such as product, service, or content launches.

Project Managers are skilled in breaking down tasks into bite-sized pieces, so your team has ample time to deal with each one. They hold the team accountable for completing their part in the project and bridge communication gaps.

Reports to directly to the: CEO, Small Business Owner, or Director of Operations.

Payment: Can be paid at an hourly rate, but commonly have set packages and prices them depending on the demands of the business. May be working with more than one (1) client. Usually a prepaid service.


Online Business Manager

This is where it starts getting trickier! You see, unlike a Project Manager, an OBM has a lot of heavy-lifting work associated with implementing business strategy, managing larger teams, and handling bigger projects.

OBMs are skilled with project management + a menagerie of other things, such as: strategy development, hiring, onboarding, outsourcing, automations and integration, and of course, generating accurate reports.

They can handle teams of 3 employees/contractors and up.

Reports to directly to the: CEO, Small Business Owner, or Director of Operations.

Payment: Service and prices depend on the demands of the business, some accept clients but require a monthly retainer fee. Usually a prepaid service.


Director of Operations

Just as the name implies, the DOO directs everything that goes with business operations. They’re working in parallel as a strategic partner to support the CEO, so that the business can scale faster and more sustainably.

A Director of Operations may possess a combination of several of these core leadership skills, but usually has one major expertise: Project Management, Human Resources, Business Financials, or Business Strategy & Planning.

Works with: The Small Business Owner or CEO.

Payment: Service and prices depend on the demands of the business. Most businesses hire a Full-Time DOO as an essential part of their organization.


Ready to set your business up for even greater successes?

Project management involves a lot of work and I understand how it can get frustrating, especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur.

But you don’t have to suffer in silence, I’m here to help you as best as I can. You can connect with me via social media or for more amazing resources to improve your business, you can book a call with me.

Published by Anne of AmbitiousVA

Anne is a Project Manager turned ClickUp Consultant and is now using her 12 years of combined administrative & information technology experience to help turn other businesses and entrepreneurs into productivity powerhouses solely using ClickUp. She has a unique ability to apply logical processes to business strategy to help others LevelUp their productivity and push the needle forward to meet their goals! She is tech-savvy, while keeping it plain English for her clients, allowing her to grasp the quickly evolving nature of cloud-based software fast and being just dangerous enough to help anyone adapt to it with ease. She’s also a gifted instructor and has impeccable training abilities.

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