Project Management For Small Businesses: A Guide

Whether you are already working on your project management or new to this for your small business, there is a lot to unpack here. 

It takes plenty of years to excel in the business’s project management arena, especially when you are doing it in-house. 

Within the budget, it can be more challenging. However, with the help of the right information, strategies, and tools, you can optimize your project management strategy. 

It can be either for your small business, freelance work, or any other form of entrepreneurship as well. 

Project management comes with only one goal- that is, to accomplish specific goals in a given time. 

Image Source: Kissflow 

If that’s something you have been struggling with, then you do need the project management right in place to bring better results. 

Remember, everything regarding project management is practical, hands-on, and pretty action-based knowledge.

So you can always draw your own parallels within given strategies and available resources with it. 

Before you get more confused, let’s get to what is project management methodology, how you find the right one, and much more. 

Table of Contents

How To Choose The Right Project Management Methodology

Project management is not about right or wrong but your specific needs. It starts with understanding what specific requirements you have.  

Choosing the right project management methodology is about recognizing what your company needs to derive the results. 

You need to look for questions like : 

  • What are your specific goals? 
  • How is your business structured? 
  • What are your expectations from your final deliverables? 
  • What is the size of your company? 
  • Do your clients or customers prefer a specific methodology? 
  • How much complexity does your project hold? 

What is Project Management Methodology? 

A project management methodology (PMM) is a set of practices, methods, and techniques that companies use to manage a project effectively. 

These methodologies boost the chances of your project meeting its intended goals. 

There are certainly different methodologies you can choose from depending on your goals. 

What you need to consider before selecting a particular project management methodology : 

  • You need to develop a process for assessing each available methodology to choose from to determine whether it fits your requirement.
  •  Different internal and external factors can affect the methodology you need to choose. 

What Factors Affecting The Selection Process For Methodology?

Image Source: Project Central 

Various factors affect the selection process for project management methodology. 

To make your decision, it is important you ask the following questions  : 

  • What is the structure of your company? 
  • What are the objectives of your company? 
  • How complex is your project? 
  • Do technologies, internal infrastructure, procedures, and technology support the project management methodology? 
  • What is the size of your project? 
  • How much cost is required for your project? 
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? 
  • Who are your primary customers? 
  • What are the opportunities and threats in your business?

The key factor in the selection of the right project management method is finding the right type of project or process that you need to manage. 

Here are the following factors that affect your choosing process for the methodology : 

  • Customer Involvement 
  • Project focus/ Specialization 
  • Allotted budget
  • Specialization of roles  
  • Scalability of project 
  • Setting up starting and ending dates 
  • The complexity of the projects 
  • Flexibility in timeline
  • Industry 
  • Resistance to change 

The Benefits Of Project Management For Your Business 

Avoid Overwhelming 

According to a survey conducted on more than 2,000 U.S. employees,  60% of respondents said that they feel stressed about their work for more than 3 days per week.

And apparently, one of the most dominating causes is a frazzled feeling where there is just too much work to do. 

Project Management gives you an accurate timeline and step-by-step work procedure to help you complete a lot of work in a given time. 

It helps manage the capacity of the people and provide reasonable workloads at a time and proceeds without exhaustion. 

There is a strategy that works behind the efficient and smooth working of the tasks and, eventually, the project.  

Boosts Collaboration Levels 

 Collaboration is an essential factor for the fruition or success of a project. 

One of the common reasons for the failure of projects is a lack of collaboration or a low level of collaboration. 

Simply put, team members or people don’t know what they are responsible for in the project. 

They also don’t comprehend their roles and how much they can or cannot depend on their team members, and what they can expect from others.

Then, there are all the confusions, latency, and miscommunication to hurdle the project.

Project Management includes a detailed laid-out plan including every particular specific role and task to complete on a particular deadline.

Every team member knows what they are expected to do and what they can expect from their team members.

 They communicate and collaborate together to complete the project with individual responsibilities. 

Increase Alignment 

Larger or smaller, the project’s goals might seem to be very clear, but it is not, especially when an organization or team is involved. 

Every unsaid word can be a doubt for the team members regarding the project. If goals are unclear, then the priorities and strategies will also be misrouted. 

In fact, it is one of the most common factors for the failures or underwhelming results of the project. 

It is when everyone is not giving their 100% or working in the right direction. 

Project management helps align the objective of the project for the team members. It brings everyone on the same page regarding clarity, focus, and same priorities. 

How To Pick Project Management Software? Step-by-Step Process

how to pick right project management software

Step 1: Research On The Collaboration & Communication Features 

The very first question you need to ask yourself is, “ Is this tool going to help your project manager and team members to work together efficiently? “

You must remember that getting a project management tool, app, or software is not a personal decision. 

It is for the whole team to use for communication and collaboration for the project. So it is very important you set your priorities straight for choosing the right tool.

Ensure the project management software or tool has high-end and versatile communication features. 

Image Source: GanttPRO blog

Pick something that fits the way your team communicates and make things work. It should be relevant and align with the current communication strategies at play. 

You can also involve your team members to help you make the decision. 

You can experiment with different types or levels of project management tools with them and see what works for them.

There are just multiple factors working here, like the size of your team, the scale of your projects, the nature of the project collaborations, communication style, etc. 

However, the idea is to make your communication easier, faster, simpler, and, more importantly, transparent. So choose the tool accordingly.   

Step 2:  Calculating And Justifying The Tool Cost 

One of the most important and concerning questions arises with an investment in the project management tool – 

Are the productivity benefits of the tool more than the time, money, and effort spent on it?

When you see for the short term, introducing a new project management tool in the workflow will also need a lot of adjustments, adaptations, time, and money.

However, it would be best to see whether it is the right solution for exponentially growing your projects.

You need to see it working long-term and making the system pay itself for the software cost.

The idea is to find the balance between what you are investing and what you get from the project management tool regarding time, money, and value. 

Step 3: Try More And More Alternatives 

A lot of project managers and businesses feel skeptical about buying a project management software company that won’t let them use the full software for a trial period. 

Choosing the right project management tool is quite like finding apartments. 

You always feel like hopping on the first great place you see but find the flaws as soon as you move in. 

Image Source: nTask

So, first of all, it is better to tread slowly and not get overexcited with the plethora of features demonstrated on the product pages. 

For starting, focus on just trying everything you can. Just go for the samples before you pay anything. 

Try working on the software with your team and see how practical it is in adding value to your system.

Avoid making the decision to buy the right one; instead, try more and more alternatives available in the market that are relevant to your business. 

Then, you can compare everything in one place with the relevance of your business and the experience of the trial period. 

Step 4: Defining Your Project Management Tool Needs 

Well, this could be the first! But to not make it very obvious but more important to focus on, it is listed to do as step four. 

With testing and trying other alternatives, considering the cost, and researching, you also need to look for your own requirements. 

Your requirements for the project management tool will help you buy the right tool for you. 

Let your specific requirements be the factor for choosing the right project management tool, as it will make more sense. 

Write down the list of problems you wind up with project management, such as  : 

  • Lack of one platform to connect all departments 
  • Lack of communication 
  • Too many email inboxes to handle 
  • Organizing team meetings is tricky 
  • There is no way to track the project’s progress
  • Missing deadlines 
  • The uneven workload on team members 
  • Confusion regarding work among team members

And so on, 

Your business might have only a few of them or some and even all as well. So while doing all other steps, filter your choices with the requirements you have. 

Your tool must have a solution to your existing problem. Otherwise, it would be just a waste of money. 

Step 5: Testing The Tool 

It is a brainer that before buying into such an investment, you always do testing. 

But here, it becomes more important, as you aren’t just buying but adapting a system to your business workforce. 

So, testing the tool isn’t just to see whether it is worth the investment but also how well it is for your type of business, how your team responds to it, and other factors. 

Most project management tools offer a free trial, so you can check all of them available. 

Even if there isn’t a free trial, you can always ask them for a trial; they would be happy to provide it. 

Image Source: Aurigo

You can get a small team from your business; they can be decision-makers or even good employees, along with a project manager. 

Provide them with the tool and allow them to test it out from their own working methods. 

See how different skill sets, work cultures, communication, and various functions of your business get acclimated with this new tool. 

You can even have a pilot project to work on as a test.  

Ensure you also check and test their customer service to see how they are quick and capable of resolving issues. 

Get feedback from your team, employees, project manager, and other members as well. 

See what this tool brings to the table. Make sure you can find out the following: 

  • Whether it makes project management more efficient? 
  • Does it affect the workflow of your business in a good way?
  • Is it effective in task management and time management? 
  • How well can your team communicate and collaborate on this platform? 
  • Is it easy to understand and use?
  • Does this make the work more fun and engaging? 

Just take all the positives and negatives about the tool. Analyze the negative and see what can be done about it and whether it is relevant to the big picture or not. 

Pro Tips For Project Management

Identifying The Requirements Of Your Project 

This is one of the earliest stages of project planning, where it is essential to identify the project requirements. 

It is a critical step to make your project successful. 

Identifying project requirements helps you allocate and secure the project resources that are important for successful project management. 

This also makes the next essential step effective and efficient: developing and implementing the plan. 

When you identify the project requirements, you can start assimilating the resources that are significant for the project’s success. 

Hiring the Right Project Manager And Team For Your Project 

The best way to ensure efficient project management in the team and in your organization is by hiring the right project manager. 

The project manager needs to know how to deal with different levels of professionals in the organization apart from knowing their work too. 

Finding the right project manager might take some time but it is certainly worth the effort. 

Also, any successful project management depends not just on the project manager but on the entire team. 

So focus on bringing productive and efficient team members who are balanced and in sync with each other and their manager.

Start With And End In Your Mind 

Every project has a starting and ending point making the objectives and initiations more obvious to the results. 

But it is observed as a retrospect. However, envisioning the end of the project or the result of the project helps you focus on the right direction more accurately. 

It is about understanding your finish line and finding the arc to move along on the dotted lines of success. 

This assures a distraction-free route for the projects to be fulfilled on their visioned destinations. 

It makes you and your team members remain focussed on what they want and what they must do for it. 

Understanding The Strengths and Weaknesses Of Your Team 

According to experts, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your professionals in the organization is important. 

It allows you to bring the best out of the team and optimize productivity towards greater efficiency. 

In fact, you also need to know who in the team requires the least supervision and who needs the most. 

Good project managers understand how multitasking can be a big productivity killer. 

It is important to identify the right employee for the task based on their specialization. 

Understanding Your Goal 

Managing a project along with your team members requires a strong grip on your objectives and goals. 

It is essential that you understand the mission with every single detail and all the different aspects of it. 

This is also because there will be exceptional situations in this journey that require a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the project.  

There will be situations in your way that will be ready to influence the direction of your project. 

You need to be thinking on your feet to act on bringing things back to the tracks. 

The decision you must take your way requires you to be foundationally strong regarding the project. 

Assign a priority order for the tasks along with guidelines 

The best way to minimize or reduce conflicts is to assign priority orders and task guidelines. 

The project manager needs to guide the team regarding the tasks, and there must be some tasks only to be worked upon after the delivery of the pre-requisite. 

It is important to communicate the management of time in the most efficient and productive way towards your time. 

The project manager also needs to keep track of the tasks on the basis of priority orders.

Avoid Perfectionism 

It is natural to strive for perfectionism in your projects when you are managing the project or task. 

However, perfectionism often comes with numerous unforeseen circumstances and negative influences on your project. 

The notion of bringing perfectionism to the projects can be overwhelming and distracting and make you procrastinate as well. 

It is better to forget about perfectionism and focus more on simply meeting the required goals for the project. 

If you get your project completed with all fulfilled tasks and meet the expectation of your stakeholders, it should be considered a success. 

Getting into every tiny detail of your project and being obsessed with the notion of perfection will not just kill productivity but also hamper the spirit of the work. 

Communication Is Indeed The Key

Collaboration and communication are the two most important parts of project management and, eventually, the success of the project. 

Between them, communication is indeed the key to an efficient team and high productivity. 

It is evidently important to run the project smoothly. You also need to maintain communication with stakeholders, clients, and team members or project managers. 

The aim here is to keep the communication lines always open and easy so that anyone can reach anyone in the team for quick interaction. 

It is also a communication issue to promote talking and interacting with the team without any hesitation. 

Ineffective communication is one of the prime reasons for the failure of projects. v

Tracking the Projects And Team Status 

The project manager needs to be vigilant and aware of what’s going on in the team.  

Tracking should be a consistent routine or practice to monitor the projects at the resource level. 

It is important to adopt technology in project management. The project manager needs to optimize the productivity of the team. 

The project manager also needs to provide regular one-on-one communication in the team. 

Managing Your Time Effectively 

Time management is an integral part of project management. 

You need to manage your time effectively to complete your project successfully and efficiently. 

First, focus on having a well-defined detailed project plan as it makes time management easier. 

You will know what specific tasks and goals you need to achieve by what particular time. So now you can aim to meet the requirements. 

Without planning and time management, you will spend more time on every project or even miss a lot of work.

Create a thorough time-based detailed roadmap of your project to ensure the completion of the tasks and project in a given time only. 

Communication with your team members and stakeholders also helps in time management. 

Managing The Risks

One of the most crucial aspects of project management is risk management. Equip yourself enough to be able to identify the potential risks coming the way of your project. 

It would be best if you had a risk response strategy and a very detailed laid-out plan for every risk possible for your project.

There must be a set of things to do or steps to implement when things are not going in your way or according to the plan.

You also need to be brave, creative, and out-of-box to bring solutions to counter these risks if or when they arise.   

Avoid Multitasking 

Multi-tasking may seem a unique skill to brag about, but it is not, especially in this case.

It is about doing several things at a time or a fraction of the time. Surely seems fancy, but sadly, it is not very practical or effective. 

A human brain isn’t wired to handle more than one or, at most, two complex tasks at one time. 

According to the research conducted by American Psychological Association, switching between tasks causes up to 40 percent loss in productivity. 

It also makes you lose focus and attention and decrease overall productivity as well. 

In fact, there are many strategies and tricks to avoid multi-tasking and complete your tasks as efficiently as possible. 

Make Sure Your Familiarize Yourself With Project Management Terms 

Project management can be sophisticated and complex when the professionals use their own language and key terms. 

Especially with the involvement of more project management tools and strategies, it is better to get familiarized with at least the key terms. 

Save yourself from the embarrassment of not knowing, and the risks of lack of communication are too much to handle. 

In fact, since you are learning about project management, you might have already come across some unknown terms popping up occasionally. 

Here are some key terms you should remember, often used in the early project management glossary. 


Dependencies are a project’s particular elements that are connected and more interdependent. 

It means one cannot happen or be completed without the other being done. There are different types of dependencies as well. 

You often encounter task dependencies where one task can only be fulfilled when another is done or simply in the sequence to be completed. 

Then, there are some resource dependencies as well where resources are tied together. 

Critical Path 

The critical path is the longest path you can take to complete product activities. 

So, it means if any more delays happen on the critical path, the risk of the whole project getting behind schedule arises. 

The project activities in the critical path are dependent on each other. 


Milestones are the different success points or progress deadlines you get toward your primary project competition. 

Organize Weekly Meetings 

Project managers need to set up short and regular weekly meetings. 

These regular meetings will allow team members to have some time to share what they worked on last week.

They can also share what they are looking forward to next week or what they are planning. 

These weekly team meetings can help the members resolve their problems with their projects as well. 

It also promotes bonding and teamwork between the employees and improves the project’s productivity and efficiency. 

More than that, team meetings make the members accountable and develop a sense of urgency to continue making progress every week. 

Keep Changing Things As You Proceed 

Managing the changes happening in the project or the progress on the way is essential to ensure the timely success of the projects. 

You need to keep analyzing what kind of impact the changes are bringing to the table. 

It is also necessary to assess these changes and their impact on the project based on time, cost, and efficiency. 

The changes might seem very small or minor, but continuously adapting and implementing it can add up to something really substantial. 

Don’t Fall In For Out-Of-Scope Requests 

One of the primary reasons for projects to be getting out of control is giving in to out-of-scope requests from clients. 

It is still important to spend a good amount of time laying the groundwork and defining the scope clearly to keep your projects on track. 

But that doesn’t mean you need to listen to all the out-of-scope demands or requests. 

Be clear and confident in sharing that you are keener to add these requests the phase 2 of the project with its own scope and budget. 

Set Specific Goals For Every Particular Team Member 

It is important to create milestones for your project in the planning stage only. The milestones help you keep track of your progress and theirs as well. 

Completing the milestone also gives a sense of accomplishment and further momentum to continue the good work. 

Ensure you give a specific set of goals for the milestone for every team member. 

But more than that, do celebrate the success of these milestones and your team members. 

It is also important to bring everyone together every once in a while and best at these success milestones and have fun. 

It keeps them excited about the project’s future and makes them more enthusiastic about it. 

However, for team members working virtually, this can be different. It can be simply sending a congratulatory email or best get together on video calls for a casual chat. 

Make Sure To Use A Project Management Software 

Experts, even though many businesses consider emails as a project management tool to fulfill the project. 

It is not very far from a good project management tool’s efficiency, features, and capability. 

Without any project management software or tool, it becomes extremely difficult for the team to function and facilitate project management efficiently. 

There are always different types of project management tools with different sophistication or complication levels to suit your needs. 

It is safe to assume that there is a perfect project management tool for every particular type of project or business. 

How To Streamline Project Management? 

Projects are supposed to be completed in a very detailed manner. And that’s what you tend to miss when you have a ticking clock over you. 

That’s why streamlining project management is what you need to do. It is a way to harness the order in all the chaos of multiple tasks, subtasks, and procedures to follow. 

Here are 12 steps to streamline project management : 

Different Ways To Streamline Your Project

ways streamline your project

Understanding The Project 

One of the very ways to streamline your project is to apprehend the project from all aspects. 

You can begin by searching and gathering information about your clients’ and stakeholders’ requirements and expectations. 

Once you really understand the expectations set from the project, it becomes clear to set more dedicated and focused goals. 

You also need to track these goals’ progress and the associated tasks at every step. 

Understanding the requirements is more important than you expect. It is integral for the success of the project. 

You would also know what are skills required to fulfill the tasks and what team to put together to facilitate the progress in the most efficient way possible. 

Make sure you never compromise on the quality of the project. 

Identifying And Defining Your Milestone

To really make your project management successful, it is evident that you pay attention to the efficiency and timely execution of the project.

It begins from the very stage of planning, where you need to allocate the right project manager for better execution. 

You must divide the project into a different life cycle that includes different stages of the project development. 

Various processes need to be included in the project management so you can identify and define the milestone.

You need to determine a particular milestone’s different requirements and challenges and assign various roles according to their respective expertise. 

Different milestones will also help you understand the progress rate of your project. So you also will be able to share it with your clients and stakeholders as well. 

Developing Communication With Your Team

Good communication between your team members, clients, and stakeholders also helps you streamline the project in the best way possible.

Any communication gap or lack of clarity in the decision-making or role assignment can lead to confusion.

The project manager also needs to be concerned with their team members’ opinions regarding the project and each other. 

The success of any project depends upon the communication of the team members as well. 

A project manager should always be accessible to the whole team for any issue they are having or concern they have regarding the project. 

Utilizing Project Management Tools 

Project management software or tools are an integral part of your project management strategy. 

They play a significant role in the process of streamlining your projects. 

Project management tools are platforms where team members and the project manager can interact with others, develop, manage, and track the progress of the projects. 

The tool is perfect for putting everyone on the same page. It also allows tracking the assigned work and individual contributions. 

Using project management tools, communication becomes smooth and quick, saving tons of time, money, and energy. 

Managing Risks And Project Evaluation 

Once your projects are up and running, there can be potential obstacles that can ruin the consistency or the progress of your projects. 

So it is necessary to detect, predict or determine the potential risks involved in your projects and find multiple solutions to tackle them even before it happens. 

More than that, the focus would be on preventing these potential obstacles and risks. 

The last and most important step in project management is evaluating and analyzing your project’s progress. 

You need to evaluate based on individual performance, then team performance and leadership evaluation of the project manager as well. 

Reviewing the project helps to understand its potential challenges and improve it to improve the project management strategy. 

Key Takeaways

  • Define clear project objectives and scope before starting the project.
  • Create a detailed project plan that includes timelines, milestones, and budgets.
  • Use project management tools and software to help manage and track progress.
  • Assign tasks to team members based on their strengths and availability.
  • Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members.
  • Monitor and adjust the project plan as needed to ensure the project stays on track.
  • Celebrate project milestones and successes to keep team members motivated and engaged.
  • Conduct a post-project review to identify improvement areas and learn from mistakes.
  • Continuously refine your project management processes and strategies to improve future projects.
  • Remember that project management is not just about completing tasks, but also about building relationships, fostering creativity, and achieving business objectives.


What is project management?

Project management is the process of planning, executing, and monitoring a project to achieve specific goals within a set timeline and budget.

Why is project management important for small businesses?

Project management helps small businesses to stay organized, manage resources efficiently, and achieve their goals on time and within budget.

It also helps to improve team communication and collaboration, which can lead to better outcomes.

What are some project management tools that small businesses can use?

There are many project management tools available for small businesses, including Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and These tools can help to manage tasks, schedules, budgets, and team collaboration.

How do I create a project plan?

To create a project plan, start by defining clear project objectives and scope. Then, create a timeline, identify milestones, and estimate costs. Assign tasks to team members and set deadlines.

Make sure to communicate the plan to all team members and adjust it as needed throughout the project.

How do I manage a project team?

To manage a project team, communicate regularly, delegate tasks based on team members’ strengths and availability, provide feedback and support, and encourage collaboration. Use project management tools to help manage tasks and monitor progress.

What should I do if a project goes off track?

If a project goes off track, identify the issue, communicate with the team, and adjust the project plan as needed. Consider additional resources or adjusting the timeline if necessary.

How do I measure project success?

Measure project success by comparing the actual outcome to the expected outcome, reviewing project performance against key performance indicators, and evaluating customer satisfaction. Use this information to improve future projects.

How can I continuously improve my project management skills?

Continuously improve your project management skills by attending training courses, reading books and articles, networking with other project managers, and seeking feedback from team members and stakeholders.

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