The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

How to speed up operations and deliveries.

This is Laura Lee Rose, a business and efficiency coach that specializes in professional development, time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.  In my Professional Development Toolkit package , I go into professional development and real-world IT topics in detail. If you are interested in more training in these areas, get signed up
Today’s question came from a reporter working with small business owners.
With clients expecting orders to be turned around faster than in the past, how can a small business speed up their operations?
Anything that repeats can be optimized and automated.   One recommendation to speed up operations,  is to give discounts to entice the client to do most of the work for you.   For instance, if your business is to design and create ads for a free local business directory magazine – then if  the client provides you with  the ad verbiage and graphics (such that all you have to do is publish), they get a discount.
The best way to get clients to easily adhere to certain standards and format, is to create some type of application for them to use.  Using the same ‘free local business directory magazine’ example, a website application page can be created for internal staff as well as clients. This webpage application would increase the number of resources (both staff and clients) that you can distribute the work without lowering the quality.  Increasing the number of people that can do the work will speed up your operations.
For this example:
1) Provide a customer designer website page that allows clients to create their own promotional material.
2) Provide various templates that 80% of their clients can use as their promotional design foundation.
3) Provide basic design options (example upload logos, adding text, preview ability etc).
4) Provide a video tutorial to show how people can create their own materials.
5) The more the client does on their own, the bigger the discount they get.
You still send clients their resulting ad for final approval before publishing. And if they need more of  your help to finalize it – you can decide to limit it to 20 minutes (for example) without additional charge.
For the 20% of customers that the promotional website does not work for, you charge for your time, graphic expertise, editing, etc. But you have cut your time and effort by 80% and all your clients get a faster result.
If you do not want to provide an automated design website — still use the concept. If the client provides you with the ad and graphics (such that all you have to do is publish), they get a discount.
Bottom line: To speed up operations, put in some mechanism to allow for more hands to actually do the work for you.  This might include:  automation, streamlining, optimization, providing tutorials,  data/format validation or even outsourcing.
What steps or things can you optimize, delegate and automate in your area?
If you need assistance in pinpointing these areas, setup a project-specific coaching session with me
In my Professional Toolkit, I provide worksheet, templates and guidance on how to accomplish these things.  For more information on how to get this toolkit, please contact: on the Wire, Inc.
6420 E. Broadway, Suite A300
Tucson, AZ 85710
520-760-2400 or (877) 853-9158


About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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