What exactly is project management and why is it important?
Project management is the act of creating and sticking to a plan of action, which includes specific deliverables and due dates that will lead you to accomplishing a goal. Project management sometimes involves managing a group of people who are all playing a role in helping you accomplish said goal.
As discussed in our Season 6 intro, while you may not realize it, you’re already practicing project management in your everyday life:
- Have kids? You’re essentially a project management pro!
- In charge of the shopping, cooking & cleaning? You know what’s up…
- A responsible adult? Then project management is like your second job.
If you just stop to think about all the ‘projects’ that make up your everyday life, the act of managing those projects isn’t so overwhelming or scary anymore.
Things like planning out dinner, making sure you renew your driver’s license, filing your taxes, paying your bills, showing up to appointments you’ve made on time — these are all like mini projects you manage for yourself. You have a specific goal in mind, and you back into the actions necessary in order to accomplish that goal in a set amount of time.
Project Management for business
But for whatever reason, when you think about project management as it relates to your business, you suddenly freak out.
You think: “I’m not organized enough”, or “I don’t know how to do this kind of project”, or “Attention to detail just isn’t my thing”.
Project management isn’t about being an organizational freak, or knowing how to do everything, or even about being super detail-oriented.
It’s about clearly defining your project goal, backing into the specific steps necessary to accomplish that goal, giving yourself deadlines, and then sticking to your plan.
Project management isn’t always that easy
As we get deeper into Season 6, we’re going to be talking about several different scenarios related to project management, because of course, it’s not always that easy.
Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the entire process of having to plan, prepare and make sure certain things are in place in order for other people to do their part.
I hear you! A big part of project management is being able to manage yourself, along with the several other people who may be involved, and that can get crazy.
Or perhaps you’re finding you just don’t have the time or energy to work on the projects you’ve laid out because of all the other things going on in your life. Full-time job? Family responsibilities? Personal stuff that just keeps on popping up?
I feel that frustration, too, but I have some super simple things I do when this type of frustration creeps in that help me instantly breakthrough it all (hint: it has to do with admitting to yourself that you’re making excuses).
How about this one: you’re on the verge of burnout because “you have to” check out this brand new platform / tool / resource / software. “It’ll definitely help you grow your business”, they say.
Project management is also about being able to focus on the task at hand — dismissing distractions before they ever even become distractions so you can make progress towards your goal every single day.
An example of project management
Let’s look at an example of project management to make sure we’re on the same page as we kick off Season 6.
Several months ago we decided to move the Podcasters’ Paradise membership site from its current home (platform) to a new home.
As the manager of this project, I knew I had my work cut out for me — and also that there was no way I could go it alone.
It started with a goal
To move the Podcasters’ Paradise membership site to a new platform.
I do want to be sure and make a distinction here for how setting and accomplishing a goal is very different from managing a project that results in the accomplishment of your goal.
Beneath this “surface goal” of moving the membership site to a new platform, there was also a SMART goal. That SMART goal is what prompted this project.
This goal required a plan of action with specific deliverables and due dates
For this I used Asana to help me outline the individual steps necessary to complete these deliverables, along with due dates for each of them.
And I knew I’d need help with completing these deliverables
When it came to involving team members, I wrote out the specific deliverables required of each team member for this project and made sure to keep them up to date along the way.
If you’re not sure whether you need team members, or maybe it’s not clear who those team members should actually be, try taking a look at all of your deliverables and then picking out the ones you know you’ll need help with and you can go from there.
This project is still underway, and managing it hasn’t been easy.
Keeping track of all the moving pieces, making sure my team members are keeping up with their tasks along the way, and figuring out ways around some of the roadblocks and unexpected twists and turns that have come up has extended our timeline and interrupted work on other projects.
But being a good project manager also means you’re flexible, and that no matter what comes up along the way, you’ll find a way to continue moving one step closer to accomplishing your goal.
So here’s what I hope you’ll walk away with today now that you know exactly what project management is: I really want to stress how important project management is to your business.
Project Management is important because…
Project management is what will help you start:
- Being in control of your time;
- Making progress towards your goals;
- Feeling excited about what you’re working on; and
- Getting quality work done that matters.
…and project management is also what will help you stop:
- Wasting time on tasks that aren’t moving the needle;
- Feeling depressed about where you’re at (or not at) in your business; and
- Second-guessing whether you’re working on the right things.
Next up in Season 6
Next up we’ll be covering how to get started and top tools you can use for managing projects!
Originally published at www.eofire.com on May 8, 2017.