3 Ways Start-ups Can Embrace Project Management

Keeping your projects organized and being able to communicate with your co-founders/team members is the key to success in a rapidly growing startup. But often founders and early employees feel the demands of ‘getting things done’ are more pressing than documenting and managing what needs to get done. When that happens, things are run based on the tyranny of the urgent. Often times, key things towards long-term success slip by or go unnoticed and unattended.

That said, project management does not have to be a cumbersome task. In fact, adding the documentation step to your goals and subsequent projects can and should be liberating. Below are five simple ways that even the newest start-up can embrace and benefit from project management principles.

  1. Project Management Tools: In today’s online world, there are a plethora of online, low cost (or even free) project management tools. My tool of choice is Asana. There are paid a free versions of this tool. I use Asana because it allows my team to create and organize tasks for work we plan to do and communicating without sending an email. Using a tool like this also ensures we can keep track electronically of new tasks and ideas that come to mind as we work. Ensuring nothing gets lost in a notebook or left behind. A few other options include:
    • Smartsheet: Smartsheet is most useful for people who need or prefer to use some form of spreadsheet. The other advantage of Smartsheet is that anyone who is familiar with spreadsheet based tools like Excel will be instantly familiar and comfortable with the interface.
    • Basecamp: Basecamp has been around for over 15 years and has helped many a successful start-up stay organized and on-task. That said, I feel it lacks some of the features of Asana and other new comers. Still worth a bit of exploration as you evaluate the best system for you.
    • Evernote: Many people swear by this Evernote as a tool for personal project management.
  2. Embrace Lean Project Management: The great thing about a new company or product is that it can be anything you want it to be. The worst thing about a new product or company is that it can be anything you want it to be. That leads to scope creep. It is critical for young start-ups to identify their Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is the smallest number of features or services that need to be developed in order to push your product or service to your early adopters. Be ware of people saying, “It’s just a little thing, it won’t take much!” Dedicating resources to developing an extra feature beyond the MVP  takes time, manpower, and money away. And could make you part of the failed start-up statistic.
  3. Collaboration: Following solid project management principles facilitates collaboration. What is the purpose of our product? What are the goals of our team? What is our position in the market place? Leadership should have clear answers to these questions or the team is going to be confused. Using a cloud based project management tool allows your team to collaborate remotely.

Following project management principles keeps you and your team focused on the important things. Gives you a structure and method for evaluating performance. And gives you the tools you need to ensure that things get done on time and on target.