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Project Management for Startup Teams
As your business scales from a small, founding team to a growing team with more complex requirements, you’ll find that your ad-hoc spreadsheets or multiple ways of keeping track of projects won’t grow with you.
- To handle growth, you’ll need:
- A leader to create the processes
- A process that everyone follows
- Software to manage the processes within a project
- Ongoing refinements to the process
1) Leading projects
As a leader of larger-scale projects, you’ll need to be able to make clear project goals, chart the progress towards those goals, be open with communication and ensure the whole project stays on track. For everyday tasks, your main role will be ensuring that all meetings & discussions can easily be converted into actionable goals that are completed by specific team members.
2) Creating processes
One of the characteristics of a growing, sellable business is a set of repeatable processes. There are many assets that make up a business and a set of documented business processes will become valuable IP if you ever want to sell your business in the future.
- Creating a set of repeatable processes is useful for:
- training new staff
- lowering key person IP risk
- refining processes over time
- doing QA of your process
Process documents are commonly set up inside a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), within a company knowledge base or within Business Process Management / Project Management software. The advantages of using software to run your business processes, compared to static documents, are that they are easier to audit, alter and to keep top-of-mind for staff members.
3) Software to manage projects
There are many moving parts when handling a project and the shortfalls of using spreadsheets or online documents means that business often look for alternative, more robust methods of keeping all staff on the same page.
- Software for managing projects can be split into:
- task management software
- project management software
- business process management software
- resource planning software
- accounting software
Choosing the right software can be difficult and involves scoping out your business requirements with your team and then using software rating sites (like Capterra, G2Crowd, Product Hunt, Software for Projects) & recommendations from colleagues to narrow down your search. Criteria for selection may include core features, pricing, permissions, integrations and mobile access.
- Some popular selections in terms of project management tools for startups include:
- Asana – a well-designed task management tool that runs checklists, split out into departments so your whole team can work on multiple checklists. One of the easiest for getting your team onboard and up-to-speed.
- Trello – the most popular project management tool for people who prefer the Kanban layout for their projects. Similar to using Post-It notes on a whiteboard, Trello has almost unlimited uses and have it’s own selection of apps, called Power-Ups, to extend the functionality.
- Sunsama – for people who live in their calendar, Sunsama provides a unique way to plan your tasks around your meetings and daily schedule.
- Roadmap – if you’re looking for a project management tool that also incorporates resource planning elements so you can adjust schedules and optimise time, you’ll find Roadmap is a beautiful way to plan your day.
- Basecamp – designed to bring clarity to daily projects and tasks, Basecamp incorporates to-do lists, calendar features, meeting notes, chat, team check-ins and a Dropbox-style file storage option all in the one place.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search and have run through some software demos, you’ll be ready to test the project management software on a small project to ensure it’s the best fit for your team. From here, your team will be able to visualise their day-to-day workflow within the system so everyone knows what tasks they have to complete, when they’re due and what’s next.
4) Ongoing refinements to the process
When your team has been trained in using your project management software and has input your key processes, you’ll be ready to run your first project with the goal being to refine the process over time. Look for the areas where team members get stuck, where there are bottlenecks that slow down a project or where communication or reporting is lacking.
By refining your process over time, you’ll be able to better manage the growth within your business to handle scale.
As adopters of “best of breed” technologies to streamline projects, Fullstack is well-placed to give you advice on the best practices when implementing projects. Get in touch with one of our account managers today to discuss your unique business needs.
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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech companies, agencies and entrepreneurs.