How To Improve Project Management, Business Processes And Other Aspects Of Business Operations
Running a business is never easy or simple. The faster it grows, the more challenging it is to run it well. Also, as the personnel count increases, managing the people, tasks and processes also becomes increasingly difficult.
Growing from a start-up to a successful small business is where many owners trip up and never overcome their difficulties. In this article, we examine how to improve project management to streamline business processes and bring operations to a new level.
The Big Picture View
The “Big Picture” view can be taken from the leader of the company, but also right down through individual departments too. It provides a different perspective from the day-to-day operations and tasks with pressing deadlines that can distract from the ‘what’s needed’ for the business long-term.
Strategically, the organisation requires goals and/or strategic objectives. If these aren’t immediately apparent, then a serious brainstorming session is required. With these set, then it’s possible to proceed onto individual projects which when completed move closer to (or achieve) certain strategic objectives.
Is The Way The Business Operates Today Going To Hit The Target?
Assessing the effectiveness of the current projects in achieving the strategic objectives is key to determining if they’ll hit what they’re aiming for.
Will the current (and future) projects be sufficient to meet the business objectives within the timeframe expected? Will they get there at all or fall woefully short? Honest analysis is required to determine the reality of the situation based on current performance from staff.
Indeed, are the current projects inappropriate to achieve the strategic objectives of the business because the projects came first, and the objective was set sometime later? If so, this leads to inevitable problems down the line.
Setting The Right Projects
While it may require the whole company to reorient towards the strategic objectives, if you’re serious about their attainment, then overhauling the existing projects may be completely necessary. Accepting the short-term pain of employee discomfort due to rapid change is still worth it when looking at the potential results a year or more later.
Projects must be devised that have the serious potential of collectively attaining the objectives that have been set. Otherwise, they’re hardly worth pursuing!
For instance, if you’re intending the business to grow by 100% in revenue and 80% at the bottom-line over the next three years, different departments must be geared up to make this a reality. That includes the marketing team with sufficient resources and budgets to get this result; the production team able to provide products or services at the level and volume to meet the growth requirements’ and the customer service team ready to meet the growth in customer contact points.
Project Management For The Win?
Once all the departments are set for what is to come, it’s up to the various managers to oversee their responsibilities within these projects. The Customer Services Manager must have a plan for how to successfully scale up their department without creating unnecessary disruption or failing to deliver on expected customer satisfaction levels.
The same goes for the sales team. They need specifics on how many customers will be required and the number of salespeople necessary to hit or exceed the revenue growth targets. There’s no point guessing or hoping it will be enough; working out the right numbers, knowing and putting that into practice is critically important here, or the results simply won’t meet the expectations.
Getting The Processes Right
At the departmental level, the processes must be in place to let staff deliver what’s required. Delays can cause knock-on problems for other team members or other departments.
Much of the work that companies do is interconnected within the organisation. When the processes are not good enough, the company suffers operational disappointments. It also makes any growth like an engine that keeps stalling out as it staggers down the road…
To remove any bottlenecks or mistakes caused by bad processes, managers need to run through all the existing ones used within their department. Here, they should be examining them for mistakes or errors, outdated steps, and inefficiencies that can be removed.
Following a review, all processes should be made efficient enough to help collectively to run the business more smoothly than it’s ever done before. This then makes space for an expansion in overall activity levels without a corresponding increase in operational disruption or outright failures too.
Integrating Big Data Into Business Planning And Operations
Even for smaller businesses, the use of big data is becoming highly relevant. Don’t get left behind with the major corporations investing heavily into crunching the numbers. Creating a small team of people who can evaluate the business, predict what will be needed in the future, and provide solutions backed by company data is the way forward.
However, most companies don’t have that skillset in-house, and finding qualified people in this new field is tough. It makes sense to develop this knowledge through an existing member of the management team who can study for an analytics degree online from an institution like Aston University over a two-year period in their spare time. This way, their increasing knowledge can be applied quickly to improve organisational planning and success.
The Digital Connection
Make no mistake, using big data, improving business processes and achieving ambitious strategic objectives is something that requires powerful computing power. The software that drives project management right down to the team member level and that required for big data analysis is not minor.
Be forewarned that the business junkyard is filled with CEOs who created new business objectives but failed to provide what was required in oversight, managerial prowess, and other resources necessary to pull off the feat.
The financial investment is also not inconsiderable. Companies should budget for not only the cost of investing in education but also the technological backing too. Setting lofty objectives and attempting to fix old processes without matching that with a suitable commitment of financial resources in technology is going to fail otherwise.
To develop a small but successful company into a larger, even more profitable one, is no small achievement. It requires many things to go right and few things to go wrong along the way. Yet for company owners willing to invest in their people and provide the resources necessary, adding extra zeroes at the end of the profit and loss statement is entirely possible.
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