If you run a startup and don’t have some sort of project management implemented, I have one question for you — why not?
Project management can make or break any business, regardless of size—speaking of size, I’ll quickly define, for explanation sake, what we mean by ‘startup’…
Startups are newly emerged, fast-growing businesses that aim to meet marketplace demands by developing innovative products, services, or platforms. They are known for their flat organizational structures, intimate teams, and alternative working environments. Another thing startups also are known for is their fail rate. It’s reported that more than 50% of startups fail within the first four years of operation — scary huh? Well, this is where project management can help.
OK, where was I? Oh yes…
The reason your startup needs project management
Project management plays an imperative role in the success of any business. Despite being smaller in size compared to their traditional business counterparts, startups still require effective project management. There is a misconception that startups, due to their laid-back and spontaneous work culture, don’t really need project management to succeed, and I can assure you that it is exactly that, a misconception.
Without project management in place, there is a lot of room for error. Sure, startups are known for taking risks, but when it comes to the planning and execution of a project, it is a risk that you shouldn’t even consider taking. The success of a startup relies heavily on delivering value to the stakeholders, and this includes not exceeding budget, keeping within time frames, and ensuring that everyone on board is on the same page. How can your team ensure that any of this won’t happen without some sort of system in place to keep track of it all?
Now, let’s rewind to my question at the beginning of this post. I realize that the answer to this is highly likely to be cost associated. I am aware that smaller businesses have limited resources and don’t have the kind of money that bigger businesses have to fork out on fancy, highly skilled project managers. But what startups lack in resources, they make up for in resourcefulness. There are innovative ways to organize projects, and meet client expectations without breaking the bank. And one of the best ways is none other than online project management software.
The benefits of going digital
Project management software is one of the many perks we get to enjoy by living in this digital world. There is an abundance of software available on the market to cater for just about any startup (psst… like Zenkit), many of which will include cool features that enhance collaboration, and keep everybody on track. Other benefits they come with include:
Project planning convenience
An upgrade from the old pen and paper method, using online software means you can create your schedule, maintain the budget, allocate takes, and communicate with your team conveniently all in the one place. With mobile app versions also available, it means you can keep track of the activities happening at any time.
Keeping everybody in the loop
Online project management tools can boost team collaboration and communication. With file sharing options, and comments and chat features, your colleagues will be able to keep up-to-date with each other, and notify anyone immediately should anything urgent arise. The software is also great for keeping stakeholders updated with a quick overview on how the project is delivering.
When it comes to working in a startup, everybody is multi-tasking. Limited resources mean that team members may find themselves picking up something extra, even if it doesn’t really have anything to do with their job scope (think invoicing, mailing, that kind of stuff), but these menial tasks are just as important as the bigger ones to keep the ball rolling. Project management software will help you prioritize to ensure a task doesn’t fall on the wayside, and that deadlines are still met. Features such to-do lists, calendars, and notifications will keep you in check.
Sticking to the offbeat culture
Startups thrive on their non-hierarchical company structure, and using a digital project management method means that doesn’t have to change. Although someone does have to delegates tasks, create the schedule, allocate time frames and such, after the initial planning, the software takes their place. There is no “leader” per se, and the flat organizational structure can stay exactly the way it is. Another way it keeps the status quo is the accessibility it offers. This means that employees are not stuck in the office, and can work just about anywhere (anywhere with an internet connection, that is).
While technology cannot replace the experience and skillset a veteran project manager can provide, it is an effective — and affordable–alternative. Remember, what works for one startup, may not necessarily work for another. Whatever it is you decide on, just ensure that you do, because with a project management system in place, your startup is just that bit closer to succeeding.
When it comes to the success of startups, there is still so much to learn. Are you a part of a team that has found success in a small business? If so, do share, we’d love to hear your experience.
Dinnie & the Zenkit team