Projects and project management in SMEs make a significant contribution to the economy. SMEs represent a significant proportion of the private sector economy in most European countries, and on average SMEs spend one-third of their turnover on projects. Thus, projects in SMEs represent a high proportion of the private sector economy in Europe.

It is important that this money should be well spent.

From the analysis of the use of projects, project management and project tools, the SME 1.0 Project concluded that:

  • SMEs do require “lite” versions of project management;
  • simplified tool sets easier to use than the more traditional versions designed for medium-sized or large projects;
  • different versions of these tools for medium, small and micro projects.

The Project also identified that for all firms the important success factors are client consultation; planning, monitoring and control; and resource allocation. In firms, from the service industry, senior management support and risk management are also important.

This is of interest to researchers, trainers and consultants challenged with the development of “lite” versions of project management for SMEs. Different versions may also be required for different industries.

This conclusion will also be of interest to practitioners, since it may confirm what they already know, that they should be selective with respect to the level of project management required, dependent on the size of their projects and the industry they come from.

The results form the basis of suggested SME 1.0 research, to develop a “lite” version of project management capable of specialisation.

The following lecture notes focus on the main elements of project management from an SME’s project manager’s point of view.