Startup Project Management 101: Communication
Definitions Cure Decision Errors
Knowing terminology as it is used in your industry is crucial to communicating with your team. It is important to ensure your team is on the same page when using new lingo. Let’s take the term Done. No doubt, you are thinking that everyone knows what Done means! Do they?
When you say a process is Done, does it mean that the company is no longer involved in the process, temporarily finished with the continued production, or that the particular section of production is merely passing their part onto the next sector of production?
Every term related to a project on the table or in progress needs to be clearly defined so that all teams in all departments including the person at the top of the chain knows precisely what is next to follow.
Scrum Cycle for Communication
The Scrum cycle includes a daily meeting that lasts no more than 15 minutes to announce the goals of each member of the team for that day. The Sprint technique, which is a measurement of progress for a specific goal over a one-month time period, allows for predetermined progress reports of that goal.
Every enterprise needs the ability to make decisions based on accurate information received from various levels and departments within its structure. This is easily provided by choosing the right project management software. Startups have to be especially keen in the ability to alter their production course when external influences affect the desired end-product.
For example: if your product is using a specific material and the government passes a law against using that material for the safety of the public, every member of the organization needs to be informed immediately and decisions need to be made within hours – not days – about stopping production in mid-stream or replacing the material with something else.
Get Regular Feedback
When team leaders, managers, and CEOs are asked, “how often do you get regular feedback from your entry-level employees?” The answer is “rarely” or “never.” It is also true that the majority of emloyees do not provide adequate communication to their managers. The cycle must be broken.
Using Scrum tactics of “plan on Monday, review on Friday” ensures that non-emergency but still essential information about the project at hand is being shared up and down the line. The cycle that Scrum develops provides you with all kinds of opportunities to get feedback from your project team, your customers and your market. Feedback generates learning, and learning generates better quality and production.
When teams and leaders get feedback on a regular and scheduled basis, the problems that arise can be corrected. The project has to be re-evaluated before thousands of dollars are lost chasing Pikachu to a dead end.
Goal Setting and Achievements
As Scrum provides the framework for setting bite-sized goals, Kanban – another program that is used by startups and multinational corporations – focuses on goal achievement rather than progress.
Implementing techniques of Kanban development for startups prevents you from taking on more than what is attainable in a given timeframe. Because startups exist in an environment of uncertainty, the Kanban method is especially useful.
The premise of Kanban is to deliver a product by a hard and fast deadline. The trick is that the “deadline” never moves, never gets pushed back, and doesn’t care if you are ready or not.
The deadline is THE DEADLINE.
When the time arrives, you present and review what has been achieved. It might be garbage but at least it’s something. And, something can be fixed. You can then make decisions, offer critiques, make changes and provide feedback.
While this may seem on the surface to be a brutal method of achieving goals, it creates a formula for success. Learning to set attainable goals that can be achieved within a specific time period prevents startups from promising delivery that cannot be realized and focuses the team’s attention on production rather than the end product. The primary goal of every startup is to start up and Kanban prevents the natural inclination to procrastinate.
It doesn’t matter what industry or endeavor is involved, project management software for startups allows your company to focus on what needs to be accomplished right now instead of darting off in a bunch of different directions that ultimately wastes time that you don’t have, drains money that you cannot afford to give away and serves no productive purpose.