Stay on Schedule and Budget

With limited resources, going over budget or missing deadlines can be disastrous for a small business. PM methodologies like defining deliverables, creating realistic timelines, and tracking progress help keep projects on track.

Example: By defining deliverables and creating a timeline, Jessica's marketing agency was able to complete a website redesign for a local restaurant on budget and before their grand re-opening - securing more projects from happy clients.

Increase Control

When you're stretched thin, one delayed or derailed project can throw your whole operation into chaos. Project management gives you control through contingency planning and actively monitoring/adjusting as needed. 

Example: When their production artist went on emergency medical leave, Sam's print shop had a contingency plan in place. They were able to reschedule non-urgent jobs and bring in a temp to avoid losing critical revenue.

Boost Success Rates

Did you know the top cause of project failure is poor upfront planning? Even simple PM practices like writing a basic plan raise your chances of delivering what was promised.

Example: After failing to properly scope out a basement renovation, Mike's construction crew implemented basic planning that captured all requirements upfront. This avoided costly missed expectations with their next clients. 


In a small team, it's easy for responsibilities to get fuzzy. PM requires clearly defining roles and deliverables so there's no confusion over who owns what.

Example: By clearly assigning the website build to Jane and content deployment to Bob, Amanda's digital agency avoided costly overlap and gaps between workstreams on a tight client timeline.

Continuous Improvement

Documenting what went right/wrong provides insights to refine your processes for better results next time. You can't improve what you don't measure. 

Example: After reviewing insights from their latest software release, the startup identified testing bottlenecks. They've now implemented enhanced QA practices to improve quality moving forward.

Project management isn’t rocket science, but without it no rocket would ever get off the ground. It’s the art of getting things done efficiently and effectively.

While the benefits are clear, you may be wondering how to actually get started with project management as a small business. The good news is you don't need an advanced degree or exhaustive certification to begin leveraging PM methodologies.

The Center for Project Innovation offers a free, online, self-paced PM course, with certification available upon completion. This is a great way to learn the best practices of PM, rather than a specific single methodology.

While crucial, traditional project management can seem overly complex and cumbersome for a small business. The key is finding the right tools and approach to streamline PM without getting bogged down.


There are lots of templated project management tools you can find on the Internet. Concept canvases, risk registers, change requests, project review templates, and more can be simple, straightforward ways to boost productivity and ensure accountability. You can find all of these and more in the Center for Project Innovation’s free resources library.

PM Software

In addition to PM documentation, there is nowadays a lot of low cost PM software that can help streamline your workflow and boost productivity. From task management apps like Trello and Asana to time-tracking tools like Toggl, these tools can be invaluable for small businesses.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to project management for small businesses. The key is taking basic principles like planning, delegating responsibilities, setting milestones and regularly reviewing status - then tailoring the specific practices to your team's needs.

For example, you may start with an extremely lightweight documentation process like jotting down tasks and owners in a shareable document. Or adopting Scrum's short "sprint" cycles with daily standups to frequently re-prioritize and communicate progress. 

The right blend of techniques matched to your unique working style and project requirements can optimize your lean team's productivity and results.

While project management isn't complicated, it does require upfront effort and an investment of time - a precious commodity for strapped small businesses. But the benefits of increased efficiency, client satisfaction and overall business agility make it well worth embracing PM fundamentals.

A little planning, documentation and structured execution go a long way toward consistently delivering on your commitments with limited resources. By taking a streamlined approach tailored to your small team's needs, you can unlock the power of PM practices without unnecessary red tape.

For nimble firms seeking a sustainable competitive edge, mastering the basics of project management is a must.


The Small Business Case for Project Management

Levelling Up Your PM Game

Streamlining PM for Small Teams

Tailoring PM to Your Needs

‘Investing’ in Project Management

Embracing AI for Project Risk Management

Project Management for Freelancers and Solopreneur....

Learn more

Talk to us about professional certification and higher qualifications in project management with the Center for Project Innovation.