Project Management Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Know

The project management skills are essential for an entrepreneur pursuing a business project.  It enlightens entrepreneur with required capabilities to plan, execute, monitor and control a business project. A business project is eventually involved in business and investment risks, therefore; applying a project management framework will help to mitigate risks involved and increase probability of success.

A project management is defined by PMI as ‘the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to meet the project requirements’. For early stage ventures, an entrepreneur is proactively involved in validating business concept and developing a unique product that wins the market. To do so, an entrepreneur is bound to learn project management skills that are helpful for creating and managing a business startup. 

In this article, I will highlight the basic skills of the project management that an entrepreneur should learn and apply to start a business.

Project management basics

  • Any project, like creating a startup, encompasses of five phases as initiation, planning, executing, monitoring & control and closing.
  • A project manager, who is assigned by the project’s sponsor,  is equipped with knowledge areas (capabilities) to manage a project. The knowledge areas are capabilities to manage a project including, scope of works, time, cost, quality, team, communication, stakeholders and procurements.
  • A project manager must be at least skillful on planning, leadership, interpersonal, influencing, team building & management, communication, negotiation and decision-making.
  • The success of a project manager depends on the knowledge and experience that a manager has been through.

Project management phases

The initiation phase

The following are the steps that will help an entrepreneur to initiate a project:

  • The outcomes of the project initiation phase are preparing a business case, developing a project charter and identifying stakeholders’ requirements.
  • A project idea begins with preparing a business case that shows justifications of the new project and how to realize it. Justifications are strong evidences to support accepting the project. The business case should provide basic information on the marketing, technical, financials and implementation plan for the new project.
  • In developing a project charter, the project is basically defined and a project manager is assigned.  To define a project, four factors must be clearly identified, which are the scope of the project, time required to deliver the project, the cost required and assigning a project manager. Actually, the project charter is acting as the birth certificate for creating a new project.
  • After creating the project charter, a project manager will identify the stakeholders and understand their requirements. These information will be important to develop the scope of work for the project. The scope of work for a project is basically defining the objectives, deliverables, timelines, budget, assumptions and project boundaries.
  • Similarly, an entrepreneur will need to prepare a pre-feasibility study evidencing viability of a business concept prior to initiating the business project.  This can be done through defining the business scope (what and how to do it) allocating initial resources and understanding stakeholders such as potential customers.
  • The key skills for the initiation phase are communication and researching.
  • An entrepreneur needs to learn research and communication skills prior to defining a new business concept. defining a new business concept will include defining and validating a problem, conducting a problem-solution fit and product-market fit.

The planning phase

The following are the steps that will help an entrepreneur to plan a project:

  • A project plan must describe the scope of work, time schedule for deliverables and the project, cost and fund estimates, quality plan, teams plan, communication plan, risks plan and externals (i.e. procurements).
  • The project plan shows the assumptions and constraints of how to achieve the project objectives.
  • The key inputs to prepare a project plan are informative project charter, qualified project manager and understanding stakeholders’ requirements.
  • Skills required to develop a project plan are planning, leadership, interpersonal, influencing, team building & management, communication, negotiation and decision-making.
  • Similarly, an entrepreneur will need to learn basic skills to articulate a project plan. These skills enable an entrepreneur to plan actions and allocate resources. Entrepreneur will prepare a project plan to innovate a business concept and develop a compelling product that a large group of customers will buy.  A project plan can also be used to grow a business.

The execution phase

The following are the steps that will help an entrepreneur to execute a plan of a project:

  • To execute a plan for a project, a project manager will do quality assurance (or auditing), manage teams, communicate with stakeholders and administrate the project procurements.
  • A project manager will mostly practice two set of skills, which are communication and team management. These skills are essential for an entrepreneur to assure quality outcomes of execution, managing team and stakeholders.
  • Execution phase is highly depending on the talented team and leadership capabilities of the project manager.
  • Similarly, an entrepreneur will need to learn skills and duties for executing a project. These skills enable an entrepreneur to execute actions and achieve business deliverables. Business deliverables are communicating with stakeholders (i.e. potential customers and team), assigning duties to team, interviewing customers, collecting and validating data.

The monitoring and controlling phase

The following are the steps that will help an entrepreneur to monitor and control a project:

  • To monitor a project, a project manager will monitor the progress made on scope of work, time, cost and risks. To control a project, a project manager will evaluate results achieved in comparison to the target ones.
  • A project manager will monitor and control the results as through, collecting & evaluating performance data and making decision to realign negative deviations.
  • To monitor and control a project, a project manager will practice key skills such as, communication, data collection & analysis and making decisions to align activities toward targets.
  • Similarly, an entrepreneur while validating a business concept and product, he will be bound to lead teams, collect information from customers, analysing data and making decisions to approve assumptions or pivot.  

Call for Action:

You please feel free to feed me back with your comments and suggestions. Should you need a training or mentorship or advising assistance on your startup business, You please contact us.  For more details, you visit our website http://www.growenterprise.co.uk.

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Prepared by Munther Al Dawood

Enterprise Development Services

www.growenterprise.co.uk

maldawood@growenterprise.co.uk

Reading, UK

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