What are we going to see in this article?
- What is an internal project?
- 1 - Define a Goal and Monitor the Impact
- 2 - Complete Scope and Schedule
- 3 - Define a project manager
- 4 - Allocate from competencies
- 5 - Monitor costs, including man-hours
- 6 - Hold follow-up meetings
A project is a set of activities that a person or team accomplishes to remedy a problem or improve a process. The difference from a project to a service is that, generally, the service is tabulated while the project is thought for the specific situation in question.
Projects have a personalized scope, schedule, cost structure, human resources, among other factors. It is practically impossible to carry out two equal projects, even if their objectives are very similar.
It is very common to connect the term "project management"To consulting companies, in which we would deal with external projects, that is, from the company to an external customer. This is due to the professionalism with which these companies plan their projects. Because the client is external, there is no room for error.
In contrast, internal projects, in which the client is internal (of the company itself), are touched without much professionalism due to lack of planning. Often the owner of the company does not even believe that he is initiating an internal project when requesting something.
Phrases such as "let's implement a financial system" or "we need to hire two people for the sales team" set the start of internal projects. Projects like these seem to be inexpensive, but they are not. In addition to being able to consume financial costs (travel, tools, outsourcers, etc.), they consume their staff's hours, which need to stop focusing on other activities. This implicit cost is often the biggest and goes unnoticed.
The point is that to achieve efficiency in internal projects, they need to be planned with the same complexity that consulting firms plan their external projects.
Below we list 6 tips to revolutionize the management of your internal projects.
In some internal projects, the goal is somewhat obvious, as in the example given above: "We need to hire two people for the sales force." If you plan a project to hire 2 business analysts, for example, success is having contracted to the end of the project, the failure is to fail in this.
But there are also projects that do not have obvious goals, such as:
- improve the sales cycle
- implement supplier assessment methodology
- reduce average service time
- reduce interest costs on financing
- improve accounts payable efficiency
While not being obvious, if a manager is willing to highlight a team to play the above projects, it is natural to presume that there is an expectation of outcome. This needs to be quantified. Here are examples of goals for the above projects:
- reduce the average trading time in 5 days
- to have 100% of purchase orders made with well-qualified suppliers
- reduce average call time in 10 seconds
- reduce by 20% interest costs
- reduce payment delays for 0 (zero)
From there you assess whether the proposed goals can be achieved and how. To identify problems for improvement, we recommend that you use a Business Diagnostics Worksheet.
The second tip to further improve your internal project management is to set up a complete scope and timeline. Scope is the structure of what we call the "deliverables" of the projects: reports, spreadsheets, etc. The question you should ask yourself when defining the scope is "What are the products that I want to be delivered throughout the project?"
The schedule is the breakdown of the scope into the work packages. In these you will divide the scope into steps and define the duration of each and the amount of hours required (at least one expectation) for the realization. Also, in this part you need to define which milestones define the beginning of a step. Many steps can occur together, others are dependent.
Use a Project Management Worksheet to set up your schedule.
It is also necessary to choose a person to manage the project. The functions of the manager are:
- set the schedule
- allocate human resources
- plan and monitor costs
- start the tasks
- charge and complete the tasks
- to review deliverables
- report to internal customers and directors
- respond to the project and make scope changes, if necessary
In very small companies, it is natural for the internal customer or the owner of the company to accumulate project management. For best practice, we do not recommend it. The gains of professionalism and productivity in the creation of the figure of the Project Manager are very interesting.
This will be the person who will communicate with the different arms of the company and will organize and prioritize the projects, in addition to fulfilling the above activities.
A widespread mistake in managing internal projects is to deliver 100% to the responsible area in the company without taking advantage of the synergy that different members would bring to the project team. For example, you decide that you will improve the sales process, pass the project on to the sales manager, and put the sales team members in the sales force.
However, there is a stage in which they will need to make a more elaborate spreadsheet and the most qualified excel in the company is in the financial. Would not it be fair to negotiate this person's participation in the project by increasing productivity, increasing the holistic view of company members and promoting interaction?
Every project generates financial costs: travel, materials, equipment, systems, meetings, lunches, outsourced, etc. These costs need to be budgeted along with the steps and monitored after the start of the project. After the end of the project, the company can do a lessons learned activity and assess whether project benefits outweigh the costs and prevent errors in future projects.
In the case of internal projects, there is also the opportunity cost, which is implicit in it. When you start an internal project, you are allocating hours for your team in it. This team is failing to do other things to focus on the project. This is a cost of opportunity.
If you want to do an exercise that shows you the total cost of your project, calculate the cost per hour of each employee and multiply by the hours each one has allocated to the project. For example, let's say you used the following members in the project:
- Commercial Manager - salary R $ 6.000 - 160 hours worked per month - man-hour: R $ 37,50
- Business Analyst - salary R $ 3.000 - 160 hours worked per month - man-hour: R $ 18,75
- Financial Analyst - salary R $ 3.500 - 160 hours worked per month - man-hour: R $ 21,88
If each used 20 hours in the project, the final calculation is:
37,50 x 20 + 18,75 x 20 + 21,88 x 20 = 750,00 + 375,00 + 437,50 = R $ 1.562,50.
Added to the financial costs of your project, you will find exactly how much it cost for your company to do this project. In fact, this is an activity that can be done before the project starts, in an attempt to understand whether the benefits will offset the costs and allocations.
Last but not least, do follow-up meetings. What would they be? Weekly meetings where you can understand the current situation of each project of the company. If the company is large, try to meet with the managers. If it is small, choose one person from each project to participate and report.
Define possible scope changes at these meetings and outline plans to meet deadlines and costs.