Project Management Systems and SMEs – A Quick Guide

Not long ago, a small specialist-consultancy asked for my help in setting up an effective project management. They were quite busy, managing multiple projects with multiple partners at same time. They wanted to have more structure very quickly at lowest cost possible.

How did they achieve it all? Here I share this tested approach that can help you get there too.

First, be clear about why you need a management system

The most common driver is new staff. Managing new team members will push you in delegating tasks, seeking for tangible results, and ultimately, will require to work outside your own head.

Second, think about timing

Is it worth to buy a full-service project management when you need to manage the work of, well, only you?

I say not really. You can find ways and process to make easier your routine without a heavy investment. For instance, labels and calendar can be helpful for making your emails box manageable and visual at same time. I’ve established a good ‘Getting things done’ system in my Gmail using these tools:

Example of GTD at my Gmail

Example of GTD at my Gmail


Third, be aware of your personal approach to control and manage workload

Maybe do you prefer a simple and visual approach, without complex reports and charts? So, Trello would be a good call.

Trello's example

Trello’s example

Or are you a control-freak? No worries if the answer is yes. It just means that a more customised system (like Podio)  that will give you full autonomy to change templates and create your own flow will suit you best.

Podio's calendar feature example

Podio’s calendar feature example

Finally, how much can you invest? Think time not only money!

Yes, a system will help you making processes easier and less time consuming. But don’t expect everything will be done for you, especially at basic or free level of service.

You need to budget in your time in setting up and making sure the tool is set up for your needs. After that, be aware that your daily or weekly routine will be affected as you’ll need to perform additional task(s) only for making sure the system is up-to-date.

Finding the right tool

You don’t need to look much to find dozens of project management systems. A quick web-search will bring a lot of information and features, even tables and tables comparing the many alternatives.

Having thought about the four questions will make the process easier now. You will have a better idea of the main set of criteria and features an ‘ideal’ system should have.

Quick comparative guide – 6 suitable tools for SMEs

I’ve researched and assessed a range of project management systems that can fit SMEs – both in terms of features and prices. Click on the link:

Selected Project Management Systems Review

Do you need help in translating all this data into what will really work for you and your company? Please get in touch, I’ll be please to share more and help you through this process.

Contact me


About the author: nprieto