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Project Management Made Easy

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Project Management Made Easy

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Is it possible to do good work, succeed, and enjoy the process? I've found that owning or working for a small business can be challenging, rewarding, and fun all at once. It isn't always-and when the stuff hits the fan, the fun is the first thing to go. But if we learn how to get organized and stay on top of things, it can be an exciting ride with big rewards along the way and at the end.

Because I run my own business, I've had the chance to work with bright, creative, capable people. I've gotten to travel all over the country, try new things, and write books. Is your business giving you the opportunities you want? Are you realizing your dreams?

However much you are enjoying your work and succeeding, Project Management for Small Business Made Easy can help you do it more. As I wrote this book, one idea kept coming up over and over again, like a music theme in a movie: eliminate hassle. Learning and applying project management tools will help you eliminate hassles like these:

  • You do a job, then find out it wasn't what the customer wanted.
  • You give a job to a team member, but he or she forgets or misunderstands, and the work doesn't get done.
  • Certain jobs are a pain in the anatomy, but you don't see how they can be fixed, so you just live with them over and over.
  • Jobs simply take too long, so work piles up.
  • Jobs cost too much, so you lose money.
  • Everything seems to be going fine or things are just a bit off, and then, bam!—too much has gone wrong and the deadline is missed.
  • Unexpected problems keep popping up.

You can't seem to communicate your enthusiasm for your business to your team. You know if they cared the way you do, they'd be great, but they aren't invested, so the company just can't get any momentum going. For all these different small business problems—and many others as well—project management is the solution. Most businesspeople think project management is either complicated or irrelevant. It's neither. It's simple and relevant. In fact, project management includes simple tools that solve small business problems. Here are some key points that make project management really simple and valuable:

  • Any dream, opportunity, or problem can become a project. So project management is the way to realize your dreams, seize opportunities, and solve problems.
  • Project management cuts big things down to size. If you have a big challenge—you know, the one you keep putting off, hoping it will go away even though you know it won't—make it a project and cut it into pieces. Gather information, make plans, do the work, and the problem will be solved a lot sooner than you think.
  • Project management works for everyone. If you or someone who works for you is having problems getting work done on time, or taking care of simple tasks, or learning to do something new, project management tools here in Project Management for Small Business Made Easy can help you cut through that problem, manage your work, and get things done.
  • Project management makes order out of chaos. Sometimes, we are overwhelmed and things get out of control. In Project Management for Small Business Made Easy, you'll learn what it means to bring things under management, bring things under control. And you'll learn how to do it.
  • Project management is easy to learn. It's a mix of common sense, sound thinking, and getting work done step by step. In fact, there are some

Preface xi
1. Get It Done Right! 1
Small Business in a Changing World 1
What Is a Project? 3
What Is Management? 4
Conclusion: Project Management for Your Business 10
2. Small Business Projects 12
Where Do Projects Fit into Your Business? 13
Eight Ways Projects Benefit Your Business 18
Who's Who on a Project 21
The 14 Questions for Every Project 23
Conclusion: Pick a Project and Go! 24
3. Prepare, Do, Follow Through 26
Businesses, Projects, and Systems 27
Stages and Gates 28
The Nine Areas of Project Management 31
Conclusion: Tying It All Together 34
4. Dreams and Opportunities 36
Rules for Making Dreams Real 36
Defining Your Dream or Opportunity 37
From Dream to Deadline 41
Conclusion: Making Your Dreams Real 43
5. Problems and Solutions 44
What Is a Problem? 44
From Problem to Project 50
Conclusion: Making the Solution Work 51
6. What Are We Making? 53
The Steps of Defining Scope 54
Write a Basic Statement of What We Are Making 54
Choose a General Approach to How We Will Make It 56
Draw and Write a Detailed Description of What
We Are Making 57
Write a Detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) 58
Write a Detailed Action Plan 60
Conclusion: A Leader with a Plan 61
7. Planning Time and Money 62
Allocating, Estimating, Scheduling, and Budgeting 62
Detailed Scheduling 66
Detailed Budgeting 67
Conclusion: Ready to Stay on Track 68
8. Making It Good 69
Simple Quality Basics 70
Defining Quality 71
Planning for Quality 73
Conclusion: Taking the High Road 74
9. Making Sure the Job Gets Done 76
Risk Identification: Listing the Risks 78
Risk Analysis 81
Risk Response Planning 81
Risk Monitoring and Control 82
Conclusion: If It Doesn't Go Wrong, It Will Go Right 83
10. Teamwork and Communications 85
Getting the Right Team 86
Defining Jobs Clearly 89
Supporting Self-Management 91
Supporting Effective Team Communications 91
Conclusion: Team Success™ 93
11. Getting What You Need 94
Purchasing for Projects 95
Getting Expertise 97
Getting Information 98
Getting Permission 99
Evaluating Vendors 100
Tracking and Saving Money in the Purchasing Process 103
Conclusion: Hassle-Free and Good to Go! 104
12. Pulling the Plan Together 105
Tying the Plan Together 105
What if the Plan Changes? 109
The Preparation Review Gate 111
Conclusion: Set Sail! 114
13. Keeping Everything on Track 116
The Status Meeting 116
The Feedback-and-Control Concept 118
Practical Course Correction 119
Conclusion: Steady as She Goes! 122
14. Prevent Scope Creep 124
Sources of Scope Creep 124
Managing Scope Creep 129
Conclusion: Don't Move the Goals 131
15. Stay on Time and on Budget 132
Time Management in the Doing Stage 132
Cost Management in the Doing Stage 137
Conclusion: The Iron Triangle Delivered 140
16. Quality: Eliminate Error 141
Work Systems That Eliminate Error 142
Creating a Quality Team 145
Quality at the Business Level 147
Quality at the Project Level 148
Quality at the Technical Level 149
Conclusion: Quality All the Way Through 150
17. Risk: Manage Uncertainty 151
Watch for Risks 151
Monitor Risk Status 153
Keep Looking Ahead 153
Manage Risks Quickly 154
Keep the Project Moving 156
Conclusion: Sailing Through Stormy Waters 158
18. Managing Expectations 159
Discuss Expectations Openly 160
Documenting Expectations 160
Defining the Expectations Gap 161
Managing the Expectations Gap 162
Ensure Communication with All Customers 164
Conclusion: The Doing Is Done! 167
19. Follow Through 168
The Challenges of Following Through 171
Technical Follow-Through 174
Project Management Follow-Through 177
Conclusion: Safely Ashore! 182
20. Deliver Delight 183
Business Follow-Through 184
Follow-up After the Project 187
All You Need to Know 189
Conclusion: Success and Delight 193
21. Storefront Success: Know What You Want, Plan, and Go for It 194
A Long Time Coming: Opening the First Store 195
Gaining, Training, and Retaining Staff 196
Improvements—Roasting and Going Nuts 199
Front Porch Two: A Dream Coming True 202
Tips for Those Starting a Business 204
Conclusion 205
22. Case Study: Planning a Year of Projects 207
A Strategic Plan Adds Flexibility 207
What Is a Strategic Plan? 208
How to Plan Strategy Each Year 209
Conclusion 212
Appendix: Forms and Tools 213
Index 242