I run a small I.T. consultancy. We need to create a formal management structure for our projects, which are always small (one day up to a few weeks in duration). We don't need a full-time project manager, nor do we need a full-blown PMBOK methodology as might befit larger projects. What we need is a solid structure that someone can follow a couple hours a day to keep things on track and stay in communication with our clients throughout. I'm considering hiring a project management consultant to help design our workflow. Since project management is not my personal strength, I'm not sure where to start. What do you suggest?
From my project management training, I always remember that the most important tool a project manager has is the checklist. So, a standard checklist of daily tasks for a project would be an excellent tool for things that do not vary from project to project - such as sending status reports to clients, following up with staff, etc.
The other very important deliverable is the Work Breakdown Structure. This is the list of tasks, with estimated effort, resource assignments, dates and dependencies, that make up the project. The document should be shared with all team members and the project manager uses it to watch for variances from the plan.
With checklists and Work Breakdown Structures, you should be able to keep things on track.