Often times, especially if you’re a service provider or small business owner, the project manager and the person working on the project are one and the same. But, that doesn’t mean you should leave project management principles behind. In fact, you should be even more diligent in your preparation and implementation of the project when it’s just you. After all, if anything goes wrong, it’s all on you.
Use a Good Project Management System
There are many different project management systems that you can use. Some are easier to start using right off the ground than others. If you’re in the middle of a project, it might be easier to just use a simple method of lists of things to do inside your calendar instead of learning a new project management software right now. But, for the next project you should definitely consider investing in some project management software.
Using a good system that keeps you on track, reminds you of milestones, and helps you work with clients will make you look like a lot more organized and larger business than you are. Plus you’ll be able to take on that much more work due to the software giving you the ability to be more organized easily. There are a few project management systems you should check out.
- Basecamp.com – A very popular software used by many service providers, coaches, website designers and other freelancers. You can create to-do tasks, put things in the calendar, set up reminders, and even allow clients to log in to collect their work.
- Thrivesolo.com – If you have a creative business, this software might be a really great project management system to use. It helps you manage time, plan projects with a visual overview, and helps you set more accurate rates, and you can use the system to send invoices too.
- Pancakeapp.com – This is a nice little application that you will have installed on your own server. There’s a one-time payment and you own it, unlike the cloud-based systems. It helps you manage projects, write proposals, keep time on projects and more. It handles billing like a champ too. It has a really cool feature that you can set that will require payment before the client’s files are delivered.
- Trello.com – Is a free app, that helps you organize yourself and any team members you might have. It’s great for visual folks and creates cards for you manage each of your projects and tasks. It’s cloud based and has a lot of functionality at all levels. Trello is a great way to get started.
The type of project management system you use is dependent on many factors, such as your skill level regarding technology and which software seems more intuitive for you. Using a project management system will help you manage solo projects extremely well and make you look like more than one person.
Know the Requirements of the Project
All projects have deliverables. It’s important for you to focus on those deliverables because the deliverables are what the client cares about. They don’t want to know about all the ins and outs of what goes into getting that final product to them; they just want results. But, it’s important that you fully understand what the client expects the deliverable to look like. In order to do that you’ll need a clear written list of requirements for the deliverable.
Once you have this list of requirements for the project, you can take those requirements behind the scenes and break them down to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to deliver the results that are expected. Work your way back from the due date of the project to the day you plan to start the project, writing down each and every single day what you need to do in order for that project to stay on track and be on time with the deliverables.
Enter those into your project management system as “to-do” items or put them in your calendar as items you must do. Be very specific about when you’ll do them and if you need a reminder, write down where to look for the information. Keeping separate files on your computer for each client’s project is the best way to accomplish this task. Then inside each file keep a date ordered file of each thing you need to get done based on the requirements of the deliverables.
Keeping on track is an important part of finishing each project on time. In addition to finishing on time, if you create a system based on the project requirements you’re more likely to deliver top-notch results too. You’ll put in time for evaluation for each deliverable when you plan in advance.