For years I have tried to spread the word that business growth is a standardized process. The basis of my findings is rooted in the works of Churchill and Lewis’ which I documented in my post The Search for Business Growth Continues.
The main premise is that a business matures through stages. There are a specific set of objectives to achieve in order to mature through each stage of development. Complete the objectives and your business will grow!
Formally trained as a program manager at the Defense System Management College (DSMC) I tend to look at achieving objectives from a project perspective. It was clear to me early in my management career that achieving business growth is just managing a series of specific projects. And, if Churchill and Lewis had already laid out the objectives it’s pretty simple to achieve business growth.
What is Project Management?
A project is defined as an objective with a defined start and end date. Sound familiar? Isn’t your business plan, if you have one, just a goal and set of objectives that you want to achieve for the year? It’s a project!!!
When I approached business management from this perspective, successful achieving business growth got pretty easy. Everything is already spelled out for you. You just need to apply the steps to your business:
- Determine what stage your company is at.
- Determine what resources you have to work with.
- Outline the tasks that need to be accomplished.
- Assign start and end dates to those tasks.
- Assign resources and responsibility for each task.
- Monitor that each task is done with in the specified timeline.
Sound familiar? It’s our SPARC cycle. We did the work for you by laying it out so you didn’t have to figure it all out yourself. It is project management 101 applied specifically to growing a business!
Learning Project Management As You Go
Now the reason we haven’t labeled it project management is because most small business owners aren’t looking for project management. They want to grow their business. But, at its core it’s just good project management.
If a business owner doesn’t have good project management skills they usually struggle to get there. So, the DE, Inc. approach teaches sound project management principles skills while you apply them to the work necessary to move your goal for business growth forward.
Extending Project Management to Portfolio Management
To further complicate matters, your business plan isn’t a single project. It is a combination of many smaller projects that must all fit together to achieve the overall business goal for the year. Program managers call this portfolio management. As a business owner you must become the program manager for your company!
Monitoring and managing all your projects as they move forward requires another set of skills to coordinate multiple projects at once. While not easy, it too is a skill that you must master if your business is ever to scale to the size necessary to achieve your ultimate vision.
Mastering Project Management to Grow Your Business
My purpose for making this correlation of project management to business growth is simple. It matters!
In a recent conversation with one of my associates, I made the correlation as we discussed how I approach business planning. He said, “Dino that is a critical point that people need to understand.”
I agreed with his assessment and searched for a reason why I hadn’t made the distinction before. I guess as I began transitioning into the executive office and working with CEO’s I thought that project management was more of a tactical discipline. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
If you go back to my posts title Understanding Strategy vs Tactics: A Key to Business Growth you will see the importance. At the highest levels an executive’s or business owner’s success or failure is based on their ability to put their strategies into action. That means completing projects!
So, project management is a skill set that you must begin to hone if you ever want real business success. In the coming weeks I will be exploring this topic further and provide you with a path toward developing the critical executive skill of project management for yourself and so that your company can thrive and grow.
In the meantime I ask your opinion. Do you think project management is a critical skill for business success? If so, why do you think so? If not, then why don’t you feel it is important?