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3 things to know about enterprise project management

Preston Lee

“What is project management, exactly?”

If you ask that question around the office, you might get a wide variety of unique answers or even a few shoulder shrugs.

But if your enterprise is going to function successfully over the long term, it’s critical that you, your team, and your employees decide together on your own project management definition.

How is project management defined?

Project management is the process of leading small or large teams from beginning to successful completion of a project with as little friction as possible to achieve predetermined goals.

More simply put, project management is the art of getting things done.

The quicker, more efficiently, and less expensively you can get things done, the better you and your team typically are at project management.

What every enterprise should know about project management

Whether you’re a small bootstrap company, a Fortune 500 enterprise, or a non-profit company, we all want to get more done and push our goals forward.

To accomplish that, you’ll need three critical pieces: the right people, the right software, and the right processes. Together, these three pillars form a successful project management system in your enterprise.

project management success equation

It’s not complicated. If you get the right people with the right attitudes to use the right technology in the right way, you’ll have success.

So today, we’d like to share a few critical things all enterprises—large and small—should know about project management. You might also want to review our ultimate guide to project management.

1. Good project management starts with people

When you’re first figuring out your enterprise’s project management definition and process, it will be tempting to start with software.

Or it might seem like a good idea to map out the process your company will follow when working on a project together.

And while project management software and processes are both important aspects of your project management definition and plan (more on them both in the next 2 sections), they should never come before the people on your team.

That’s why good project management starts with people.

In fact, if you did nothing else but work on making your teammates and coworkers happier, Oxford University estimates you’d see a 13% increase in productivity.

It turns out, people don’t necessarily need more money to be happy (or cookies either), but they really want honest and competent leaders as managers.

So before you start thinking a project management definition, app, or process will magically make everyone more productive, consider the human element. Take a look in the mirror, make changes in your teamwork and interpersonal communication and you’ll likely see an uptick in productivity.

Even with the best people, you’ll need patience and time

Even with the best people and regardless of your company’s project management definition, one thing will always prove true:

Good project management takes time.

Being a good project manager or helping a team manage their projects doesn’t just happen after signing up for one app or holding one team meeting.

One recent study shows that 65% of enterprises are not satisfied with the maturity of their current project management process. If you feel the same way, you’re not alone.

posted notes team

I’ve worked at (and run) various companies that jumped from software to software, hoping it would be the next silver bullet for their project management.

The truth is: the only way to excel at project management as an enterprise is to be focused, dedicated, forgiving and patient as all the members of your team do their best to become proficient in your project management process.

It will take time.

2. Project management should be enhanced by software

Once you’ve taken a hard look at yourself and your team, the next best thing you can do for your enterprise’s project management definition and process is to find the right tool for the process.

With literally hundreds of project management software choices on the market, this step can feel a bit overwhelming.

Of course, if you want to take your project management to the next level, we recommend you just choose to manage your projects. We may be a little biased, but we’ve also got data to back it up.

projects board

When we recently polled over 10,000 Monday customers, 84% of them told us that using actually made them happier [read: more productive] at work.

That’s probably partly because is so incredibly easy-to-use.

I’ve worked on teams where it literally takes longer to create a new task and assign it to a member of the team than it would have taken me to just do a task in the first place.

Here’s how to know if you’re headed in the right direction:

If your team is spending more time on the tool than on their projects, that’s a problem. If for every hour of work your team completes, they have to spend a half-hour tracking their work in a project management app, you’re fighting a losing battle.

It’s just one of many basic project management principles:

Manage the software; don’t let the software manage you.

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3. Good project management relies on a solid process 

If you’ve got the right people, with the right attitudes, and the right software, then it’s time to tackle your team’s project management processes.

A critical indicator of your enterprise’s project management definition and success is whether or not the system holds up under stress.

When there are a million things going on with deadlines looming and tasks swirling around you and your teammates’ heads, will things still get done efficiently and effectively?

Or will people plow forward under the pressure, skipping critical steps in your project management process?

That’s why, before things get hectic, you have to outline a project management process with your team.

Get extra clear on how each team member will know which tasks they’re assigned to, what their deadlines are, and what’s required of them.

Offer training on your project management software so everyone knows how to see their tasks, update their work, review tasks completed by others, approve tasks, and more.

If you can’t personally manage each project and give it the attention it deserves, you may want to consider assigning someone on your team as project management leader or even hiring a project management contractor exclusively to keep you and your team on track.

Whether you’re following a more traditional project management approach or an agile method, make sure your team knows which meetings are critical and when/how they’re expected to report on their work.

Flexibility is critical in project management

Despite all the hard work and preparation you will put in with your people, your software, and your process, there will be unforeseen issues, changes, and challenges. I can guarantee it.

Yes, successful project management starts with a plan, but once your plan is set in motion, don’t be afraid to make needed changes on the fly.

Remember, the project management definition and process aren’t sacred—they are a means to an end.

If they’re not working, ditch them.

Start small and focus on improvement

If you don’t have a solid project management definition or plan in your company, there’s no better time than the present to get started.

Start small and work your way up.

As you focus on the right people, the right software, and the right processes, you’ll get there and soon you and your team will be crushing your to-do list like never before.

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Preston Lee
Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers and entrepreneurs scale their business for over a decade.
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