What do you mean by Operational Infrastructure?
Operations refers to all of the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes functions needed to support your mission and keep your workplace running. Your Operations Infrastructure is made up of the people, plans, and processes in place that allow your workplace to function. It includes developing and managing systems for functions such as:
- Organizing and record keeping strategies
- Knowledge management
- Schedule and deadline management
- Business development (grants and proposals)
- Communication systems
- Contract and client management
- Workspace planning and logistics
- HR and personnel matters
- Program and project management
- Budgeting and financial activities
- Workflow and collaboration
For more about why you should care about operations and infrastructure, check out this video!
Why should I care about operations?
Thinking through how you want your workplace to run and setting the plans and processes for the way to do it ensures that all work, whether on the operations or program sides, is done in a way that is consistent, thorough, timely, and of high quality every time, no matter who does it. If your small business or nonprofit has more than 1 person, you know how important it is to make sure you are all on the same page!
This is especially important for managing growth within your workplace. Often growth comes from increasing demand on the program side – more people or efforts are needed to fulfill the activities central to your mission. Without building or modifying the operations infrastructure to accommodate the growth, you increase the risk of diminished product quality, misunderstandings, rework, and oversights, many of which are avoidable. Successful growth requires a proactive approach to operation management.
How are you different from other consultants?
First, I consider myself more of a collaborator than a consultant. You know your business and mission better than anyone, including the ins and outs of how it operates. My job is to provide a fresh set of eyes or new tools and techniques that could facilitate a better way of doing the work you are already doing.
Second, I believe that most workplace operations obstacles can be overcome by making small changes rather than imposing a whole new system. When possible, I build on what is already in place and working, and recommend actions that meet the specific needs and criteria for each client and project. Solutions might be as simple as implementing use of a checklist for an existing process or as complicated as conducting a customized training on project management skills.
I work for a small organization that provides services, not products. How is Project Management relevant to me?
Many people think the field of project management only applies to large, costly, tangible projects in fields like construction, manufacturing, and IT. While the field of project management research is based in those fields, the basic principles of projects management can be applied to any type of work. These principles simply provide a systematic framework and techniques to use in the planning and execution of any task. Project management skills include critical functions of every workplace and job, such as:
- Schedule development
- Workload and time management
- Resource allocation
- Scope definition and control
- Budgeting and cost control
- Quality assurance
- Risk management
- Personnel supervision and training
- Client and stakeholder relationships
What does it mean that you are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)?
Developed and issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the PMP is recognized internationally, across industries, as certification of competence to perform in the role of a project manager, leading and directing projects and teams. I received my PMP certification in 2012 after demonstrating years of experience leading project teams, completing a training program, and passing the standardized exam. The rigorous curriculum breaks down the principles and practices for all stages of a project (from initiation through closing), and provides processes and tool to use to manage all essential project components (such as scope, schedule, budget, human resources, quality, communication, and risk).
I’m interested in learning more about your services and whether they could help my workplace, but I don’t have a clear sense of what we need. What should I do?
Contact me to set up a free 30-minute initial call. This will give me a chance to learn about your work, your challenges, and what you think could be better. This call is also a good chance for you to get a sense of my approach.
At the end of the call, if you think I might be a good fit to help you, I will put together a brief proposal that includes the approach, timeline, and budget for addressing your key challenge(s). If you like the proposal and want to work together, I’ll draw up the agreement and we can get started!