It’s an exciting time to be running or working in a digital small business in the UK. With rapidly expanding opportunities in app development, AI, VR, AR, learning technologies, and the Internet of Things, the UK had almost 200,000 digital enterprises in 2014, with 90% of those having fewer than 5 employees. It’s clear then, that there are great conditions and talent in place for starting and scaling successful digital businesses here, and lots of incentives and funding available to help start-ups. The real challenge for small digital businesses is keeping up with the pace of change and innovation, scaling quickly when necessary, and staying competitive in such a fast-moving sector.
How can your business deal with these challenges? As a small digital operation, it may be that you have started out managing projects yourself or overseeing a very small team. As you take on larger projects, you might need to spend time and energy on developing a more structured business approach and better systems. You might need to consider devoting energy and resources to expanding your workforce, and setting up a consequent HR function – or diverting some of your time into managing business development and operations rather than performing a purely technical and creative role. All of these issues can be problematic for small digital businesses trying to keep ahead of a fast-moving market.
A great way of dealing with this is to use contract project management support or advice as your business gets to grips with expansion. From setting up efficient systems to keeping your projects running smoothly when you need to devote time to other areas of the business, contract PM support is an ideal way to keep things on track if you are not quite ready to scale or are not yet in a position to hire more full-time permanent staff. Going down this route can be hugely beneficial for your business - but if you haven’t done it before, how can you ensure you are getting the most out of your digital project manager?
Here are our top tips for integrating a digital project manager (DPM) into your company set-up and ensuring that the experience is efficient, productive - and ultimately – great for business!
Get everything the DPM will need set up prior to the start day to make sure they can hit the ground running: for example, email and computer systems logins, laptop provision, staff introductions, risk and HR documentation (your contract PM provider will be able to advise you on what exactly is required).
Brief the DPM fully at the start, ensuring they know exactly what you want them to do and don’t want them to do. If someone is handing over to them, ensure they have produced a written handover document, and that they present this to the DPM face to face.
Ensure the rest of the team know exactly what the DPM is there to do (and what is not in their remit). Make the team comfortable that the DPM is there to add value to the work and improve the project process for the business.
Introduce the new DPM to all the key people in the team. The handover document should make clear what roles these people have on the project.
If they are to be client facing, ensure you introduce the DPM to the client, explaining fully the scope of their responsibilities. Assure the client that this is bringing value-adding expertise to the project.
Ensure you agree how, and how often you want updates from your DPM.
Make time early on for lots of questions from your DPM. They are adept at hitting the ground running but will want to make sure they are fully equipped with all the necessary information to get going at the start. You know your business inside out so will be in the best position to help them at this initial stage.
Make time to take part in the regular review process as organised by the DPM.
Trust their expertise in the digital and project management sectors. You have hired them to make your life easier so make use of their extensive knowledge and experience. They can give you the full support and peace of mind you need to grow your digital business successfully. It’s a great opportunity - good luck!
Project Management On Demand supplies skilled Project Management professionals to digital businesses when they are needed most. Working remotely or in-house, our PMs look after your key deliverables, mitigate issues, and keep your critical path on-track, and your clients happy. For more information on our services, visit www.projectmanagementod.co.uk/our-services