Projects and Small Businesses have a great deal in common yet the skills required to successfully run both are very rarely considered. Any small business will have a business plan, some more detailed than others but each including objectives that are time-bound and resources, including people, that have to be considered for the life of the business. It’s no different for a project.
Just like businesses, projects can see changes in their objectives as their environment evolves and they endeavour to modify what they are doing to better fit in with it. Just like businesses, projects may come to a grinding halt if what they are doing is no longer needed – the costs involved and the time and effort in closing down a project must never be underestimated, they can form a project in their own right.
So if the mechanics and fundamentals of running a small business and a project are similar are the leadership issues similar too? I would argue that they are. Leading a small business involves recruiting, developing, maintaining and retaining suitably talented individuals and refreshing that talent pool as and when required. Project Leadership is exactly the same with the same challenges and issues as are encountered by business leaders.
In fact, I’ve seen many project teams that are far bigger than many small businesses and it’s dealing with those challenges around project leadership (not project management) that take up so much time and energy for those in the leadership positions. They may have the title Project Manager, Project Director or something similar but the reality is that if they don’t recognize that their leadership of their projects is what matters then they will continue to experience significant issues of delay, cost over-runs and under-performing teams.
So could a successful small business leader transition into leading a project of similar scale? I would say so.