On the surface, project management seems simple enough. You have a project that needs to get done and someone is in charge of managing all the moving parts. Yet, despite this explanation, project management remains one of least understood elements in small- and medium-sized businesses, from employees all the way up to C-level executives. This is especially scary when you consider how vital project management is.
One very effective project management tool is a Gantt chart. It displays the activities that make up a project against the time available. On the left of the chart, you list these various activities. Then, along the top, is the time scale. This can be broken down by days or actual hours.
Each activity gets its own bar, which begins at the start date and its expected duration. This allows someone looking at the chart to immediately understand:
- All the various activities that make up the project
- When an activity is to start and end
- How long each activity is supposed to take
- Where these activities overlap and by how much
- The start and end date of the entire project
The origins of this type of chart go all the way back to the 1890s, when a Polish engineer named Karol Adamiecki took an interest in management techniques. 15 years later, an American engineer named Henry Gantt, who was also a management consultant, further refined the original version.
By making projects more transparent, Gantt charts bring together the entire team, fostering a cooperative environment. They also help project managers better allocate their resources (including staff) to increase their bottom line and ROI.
Leveraging the Virtual World
Nowadays, we can count on much more than just Gantt charts to create better results. The virtual world has provided us countless project management software and solutions to consider.
Unfortunately, many small- and medium-sized businesses often think that many virtual options aren’t worth their time. As you can see from this infographic, though, these perceptions are really just misconceptions.
For example, those companies that use virtual methods have reported higher productivity and even their employees found they wasted less time.
Take into consideration, too, that you can save money, and reallocate it for project management software, if you forego PMP certification. Two-thirds of CIOs don’t think it’s even necessary and 70% of project managers working for SMBs aren’t even certified.
Project management software is also great for communication, which is what project managers spend 90% of their time doing (it’s not all about paperwork).
Here’s a statistic just about everyone can relate to: 77% of employees at small- and medium-sized businesses think that meets are nothing but a waste of time.
Start Attacking Project Management Problems
When projects fall behind or end up costing more than forecasted, companies suffer—a lot. 45% of IT projects go past their budget. This leads to a 60% reduction in value. We’re not talking about a couple of dollars either. One of every six IT projects will have their costs go over by 200%. This is probably why only 20% of IT investments are actually worth it for small- and medium-sized companies. These projects also fall behind schedule by 70%.
Taking on a project should always mean utilizing the best possible software. Without these tools, your project is sure to go over budget and/or fall behind, two events that can cripple a business, even though they’re completely avoidable.