The Startup Boogie

Hiya PM bloggers.  Looking for some oppinions, wild or fabulous experiences and words of wisdon.  Doing the startup boogie myself and as we all know this poses some different challenges than the typical corporate beaurocratic mud.  What was your experience? 

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2 thoughts on “The Startup Boogie”

  1. I was involved with a startup a few years back. It was a great experience.

    The key difference I experienced was having to wear so many hats. The walls between departmental functions had not yet been formed, and it was a great way to get experience about other functions that are all a part of running a business.

    As far as project management, I’ll offer some advise that I wish someone would have told me back then. You need to find a happy medium between documentation-rich approaches and being flexible enough to make changes quickly.

    I would create categories of projects depending on their size/length/complexity/importance and figure out how you are going to manage those categories. I use 4 categories now based on a corporate structure, but I used to use 3 levels. The were simply small, medium, and large.

    It’s important to have a consistent approach whether you are in a startup or an established firm. Just customize your approaches based on the environment you are in, and the type of projects you will do.

    Josh Nankivel
    http://www.PMStudent.com

  2. I went from my first job at a defense contractor to new head of an engineering dept in a startup… and gleefully threw out all the ‘paperwork’ PM stuff we had had to do….. and then slowly added back items I found I needed.

    This ‘adding back in’ approach worked well for me because each time I added something, it was because I could see why I needed it – every management technique or piece of paper had a defined value add. And of course I created our version custom for what would work best for our small environment and included only the info that applied for us.

    I’d say, what do you need to: scope the project; plan; communicate about goals and commitments; track progress on what matters… and determine what’s the most direct, least time-consuming and easy way to do each. And discuss it all pragmatically with the others ‘doing the dance’. I’ve seen start-ups where the best idea of how to track progress together (without making everyone crazy or resentful) came from one of the individual engineers.

    It’s all the same in terms of the big rocks – scope and business goals; milestones; what cross-functional people need to be involved; how do we tell where we are? But the paper instantiation can be lighter and more informal. Whatever works! Just don’t go to zero!

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