How Project Management Can Save Your Startup
Startups are constantly exploring new growth opportunities, and with that growth comes new projects that are essential to take business to the next level. This is particularly true for startups with seed money or other funding as they need to capitalize on that investment immediately if not sooner!
Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.” These are shared principles with any efficient project manager, so why not begin utilizing the new performance enhancements of the modern era – project management software.
Startups will particularly benefit from project management because smaller teams need to dedicate their limited resources to running the business. During the early stages, a startup is much more concerned with its ability to manage day-to-day operations while having a solid, reliable team in place to build the product and get it in front of customers.
It’s important to understand the difference between project management and product management. Project management is the facilitation and implementation of a set of goals, while product management pertains to the decision-making and development of an actual product. Some of the biggest failures stem from blending the two.
Here are a few ways project management can help your startup:
Managing Complex Projects
Startup founders pride themselves on their entrepreneurialism, taking on most projects in-house. But as the company grows, external support is inevitable and a real necessity. If a startup allows internal changes to happen without any management, there’s bound to be struggle. Project management provides the necessary structure and helps the startup adapt to change.
During a typcial process, the project manager creates an action plan, and the company is able to provide feedback throughout the duration having comfort in knowing that their input will improve the company. The project manager, the product team, and the company all work in harmony towards one common goal.
Project management is essential for managing complexity and ensuring that progress is happening. This includes major projects like website redesigns, company growth, crowdfunding campaigns, and app development. These large-scale projects often have longer durations, higher costs, and require a more specialized manner of precision. If a startup is made up of 15 people and just received the funding to onboard another 50, how would they go about hiring? Several variables need to be considered. Will new employees be brought in evenly over the next six months? What skills should each employee have? What qualities do you seek? How do you proceed with training?
This is where project management shines. One way a project manager achieves results is by assigning smaller, concentrated tasks to individual team members. This lessens the burden and reduces the risk of burnout and fatigue. The software helps keep you organized and on point.
Good communication and clearly-defined goals is essential for company growth.
Typically, various online tools keep the project organized and systematically flowing. Communication is a key component of the project management process, and it’s important to monitor progress during each stage, and communicate that progress to the team. Here are a few popular communication tools, useful for in-house purposes as well as project management. These tools will teach founders how to streamline communication on a startup team:
Slack: If you are not already committed to another communication tool, this is the tool for you. In fact, over the past few years, the app has successfully taken over the inter-communication space, with remarkable design and slick features users love. Integrations with other project management tools like Jira are easy, and file uploads and links appear in-line. Conversations are searchable and unique features, like the ability to create a Google Hangout within a chat room, are very useful and intuitive.
HipChat: Another impressive option. Hipchat is a product of Atlassian, who also owns Jira. It offers one-on-one messaging as well as separate “rooms” to house different teams. HipChat’s API allows users to build and automate tasks from within the application.
Campfire: Campfire provides password-protected chat rooms, useful for confidential projects. Customizable add-ons and make it simple to make this tool truly representative of your startup.
Project Management Tools
Early organization can you save you time, energy, and money. One of the primary goals of a project manager is to organize a project’s tasks in the most streamlined and efficient manner possible. This means defining project goals, concepts, and approaches.
Managing emails, documents, and multiple to-do lists can get tricky very quickly. Project managers are constantly looking for better ways to handle the massive workload.
For the same reason, startup founders often ask, what is the best project management tool available? and what’s the most important feature in project management tools? Fortunately, most project management teams have experience using web-based programs to keep communication open, and have since developed a list of favorable options depending on the size of the team or scope of the project at hand. Here are a few of the frequently used programs:
ClickUp: ClickUp is a fast-growing project management application that efficiently bridges simple design and complex functionality. It comes equipped with useful management features (agile board view, task statuses, activity timeline) and offers a slew of customizable tools geared towards businesses seeking a solution they can mold to fit the business itself. Read more.
Basecamp: Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools. Its simple interface makes it easy to collaborate and communicate with your client and team. It allows you to create multip set-up discussions and projects, manage files, write to-do lists, organize dates, schedule, and create and share documents. In fact, 35 of the Fortune 50 companies use Basecamp in some capacity. Read more.
Jira: Jira is targeted specifically towards software development is perfect for startups seeking a solution for how to manage developers in a startup and how to track time developers spend on tasks. Jira works well for large technological projects, like a web or mobile app. The program makes it easy to raise issues, track bugs, see which tasks are outstanding, and what’s taking up the most time. Read more.
Asana: Asana manages day-to-day business and tasks and is perfect for working on projects with remote teams or freelancers. All actionable tasks, including those in Google Drive and Dropbox, are kept in one centralized place. Read more.
There are several other viable options to choose from. Aha works well for startups who haven’t gotten off the ground yet; Podio is geared towards managing complex projects; and Wrike helps users work smarter by keeping track of resources to ensure you aren’t going over schedule or budget. How a project management team uses each tool demonstrates how to keep a startup team organized long after project completion.
It’s extremely hard to predict how long tasks will take or how hard they will be, but by being systematic and disciplined, you can reduce the waste that occurs and prepare for the challenges or delays that happen during a project
Before a project goes underway, the project manager should communicate the goal and ensure that there is a great deal of support and agreement with the end product. This ensures that all risks, resources, and benefits are communicated and evaluated before officially beginning.
During these early stages, a proposed schedule and budget are laid out. One of the scariest issues a startup can encounter is a surprise — and not the good kind. An effective project manager can adjust various expectations on the fly and transform long delays into victories. By identifying potential issues, the chances of failure during any part of the project dwindles. If any unexpected risks do arise or if goals change, the project manager will reflect those changes in the budget or scheduling.
Better management processes help manage scope more effectively. Increased planning leads to less unpredictability. The better the plan, the higher the chances of meeting your estimated goal and schedule.