8 Reasons Why Startups Need Project Management
Starting a business is one of the most exciting, frightening and difficult things
to do. There are so many moving parts with so many decisions to be made. As a business
gets off the ground, there are even more decisions and more people come into those
An entrepreneur can quickly become distracted by all the decisions to be made and lose
sight of the big picture. Delivering product quality and customer value can sometimes
In today’s volatile business climate, expert
for startups can be
extremely valuable. Startups need the solid guidance that can come from getting their
keen insight. Here are eight ways they can utilize these skills:
Everything successful in a startup begins with a magnetic vision to engage the team
to get and keep the energy level high through hard work of getting a company off the
ground. Effective project management always starts with vision and goal setting. Why
is a vision critical to a startup?
Facilitates economic growth
Promotes a sense of purpose
Gives a direction to the business
Defines both long- and short-term goals
Provides focus and organization for the team
Specific Goal Creation
If a company doesn’t have the “why” for its business, it’s in trouble for the start.
Defining goals can be a painful process for those who haven’t done it before. Project
managers to the rescue! Not only can quality project management in startups assist in
working through the challenges and difficulties in establishing the goals, it can keep
the focus on positive outcomes only. And it will help to keep the hard work, financial
impact and setbacks to a minimum.
Efficient Use of Resources
Resources in this definition covers a lot of areas: cash, people, time, equipment,
buildings, etc. All of these can be in short supply and precious commodities to a
startup. One of the goals in project management is to use each of these resources
in the most efficient way possible. It’s not just finding the best deal on office
space or figuring out when it’s financially feasible to hire another employee. A
great project manager also is able to go a step further and analyze how these
resources interact. Knowing how one resource impacts the others and which of these
moves would most benefit the organization at that particular time.
One of the key roles for project managers is gathering and interpreting data. They
are doing this constantly. So when the time comes for important decisions, they are
ready to provide the information needed to make the best, most informed choice. To
help with decisions like:
Is the product on track for the launch date? If not, why?
Is the project on budget or do we have a cash flow problem?
Which aspect of the product line is most likely to have the desired business outcomes?
What are the tradeoffs in time and money to make the change?
How does making a change in one area impact all the others?
Improve the Organization’s Scalability
If a company is just two partners starting out, they may not need a project manager
just yet. Two individuals can keep communication going pretty clearly and can make
decisions easily enough. But once things start to ramp up in dollars and staff, the
decision trees and processes will have to be more defined. That doesn’t mean a bunch
of new paperwork and meetings. That’s because of the effective work of a project manager.
Being able to clearly identify the objectives of new processes and procedures and then
setting specific steps for how the processes are to be conducted keeps the growing business
efficient and effective. As the business continues to scale up, the process can more easily
One of the biggest issues new businesses face is getting taken seriously in a competitive
market. Showing that a company has the “street cred” to compete with more established
organizations is a large part of growing business and making sales. One way to help that
is to have data that supports your assertions when you meet with clients. This is where
a project manager can be one of your best assets. Compiled and analyzed data by a qualified
project manager will give the confidence to know you’re speaking from knowledge.
Managing Unrealistic Expectations
Every entrepreneur wants their new business to be the next big thing. That can sometimes
lead them to make bad decisions that lead them in the wrong direction. Unrealistic goals,
targets and deadlines can cripple progress but they can also harm company morale and motivation.
This is where the project manager can save a company. Creating a project charter and a project
plan will clearly outline the scope and goals which have been designed to be achievable with
team buy in. Everyone is on the same page and progress can be made effectively.
Minimize Undocumented Changes
Change is gonna come, right? The key to success is how you manage that change. Making
change work for your business and not falling victim to it begins with documentation.
Well-documented process and project changes and outlined new methods keep everyone in
the organization on the same page. What documenting changes looks like for a company
will be unique to each one but just make sure it is clear and consistent.