Any African small business owner will tell you that they need to be a jack of all trades, from juggling responsibilities to shifting roles. They need to know where all the money is that's moving through the business and ensure that everything is operating at maximum efficiency. Often, it can be difficult to do more with less, so it’s no surprise that more and more African small business owners opt for project management tools in order to build a more efficient, profitable and competitive business.
What Sort of Management Features do Small Businesses in Africa Look For?
The definition of project management tools differs hugely. No two companies are the same when it comes to project management needs; it depends on many factors such as the projects that they are working on, their project management style, and their employees. However, the bottom line for wanting to use a project management tool is the same for most businesses, including:
● Improved team morale
● Better collaboration
● Increased customer satisfaction
● Better quality of products
Why Agile Project Management?
What is Agile project management? It is an approach to managing projects and working to improve workflow and end-product quality. You can find out more about it and how it works at Kanbanize, a site filled with resources about Kanban and Agile. There are several reasons why entrepreneurs in Africa are opting for agile project management, including:
● More organized workplace: Small businesses use agile project management tools in order to better improve their efficiency and accuracy. Proper project management allows them to maintain a central workspace that avoids issues such as inconsistent communication and misplaced documents. It also eliminates the guesswork from projects by allowing teams to better communicate and collaborate, sharing responsibilities and progress updates.
● Better collaboration: Today, with more and more small businesses in Africa relying on working with remote teams, contract workers and freelancers, it has become even more essential for workers to collaborate and manage work better with their co-workers. This means that there is a need for project management tools that everybody can access and use regardless of their physical location.
● Outgrowing of old methods: A large number of small business owners in Africa are using manual methods to track things. This is because traditional project management tends to lack the agility and flexibility necessary for smaller projects. Entrepreneurs are beginning to realize that they need to use something more sophisticated than spreadsheets and email to keep track of the project process. Agile project management is an ideal solution to provide flexibility along with increases visibility across multiple employees and remote workers.
Differences Between Traditional and Agile Project Management Methods:
Traditional Project Management:
This focuses on tools and processes with limited changes throughout the process. It requires comprehensive documentation and the emphasis is on contract negotiation, strictly following any tasks delineated in the contract. When traditional project management solutions are in place, companies follow and work the plan until the end.
Agile Project Management:
On the contrary, this kind of project management places more emphasis on team communication and interaction. Developing the product is the main priority, and it’s obvious that such solutions are flexible and responsive to change. The importance of the end-user is emphasized and daily communication is encouraged in order to improve project team collaboration.
Adopting Agile Project Management:
In order to adopt an agile project management solution, small business owners need to take an iterative approach to introduce and implement the framework. They must first become familiar with the framework before launching the system. And, they need to make sure that the organization is ready; identifying and evaluating various organization forces that can either support or delay the company’s transition to agile project management.
Business owners should first determine:
● Whether and how much their organization values innovation and creativity over stability
● The ability of teams to make independent decisions related to the project without consulting end-users
● The ability of the team to understand and embrace the various approaches to measuring and documenting progress
● The ability of the team in allocating dedicated and full-time resources to a project
Agile approaches are an ideal solution for small businesses that value innovation, which is why they are becoming more popular among African small business owners and entrepreneurs. The focus is placed on the end result rather than on standard project management procedures. In order to adopt these frameworks successfully, companies should ensure that their employees are best prepared to make independent decisions, collaborate and work as part of a team.
If you run a small business and are considering using agile project management solutions, the decision to adopt them will depend mainly on your requirements. If you are looking for a solution that enhances product quality and allows external stakeholders to stay up to date about the process, agile is an ideal option for you.
There are many reasons why agile project management is boosting entrepreneurs in Africa, from better team collaboration to more organized workspaces and better communication around the project progress between individuals and teams.