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?
If your needs are not too too complex, it may be possible to use a CRM type software to integrate project management with customer service in a single database.
Many CRM solutions include some form of automated workflow that can take care of the standardization process that you are after. You would be able to create a rule that once X happens, Action A takes place. For example, if a step is complete, then the system automatically sends an email to the client about it, etc...
With projects lasting between 1 day and a few weeks, I assume the projects are different enough, where you may want to automate at a high level only. Each type of project may have its own template or workflow.