Startup Lessons: Project Management (21-23)

For the past 6 months I had the opportunity to be a Project Manager at Ubiqua. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far…

On Building & Sustaining Momentum

“Momentum refers to the ‘the impetus gained by a moving object’. When achieved, Sustained Momentum makes progress an unstoppable force.” – NBTC 2015

 

  1. Identify a Client Champion.

A Client Champion is essentially your biggest ally. He’s your teammate, your spokesman, your trouble shooter, and when needed your biggest advocate. Keeping progress going and on schedule can often be achieved with the help of a client champion.

 

Early on identify Who on the client side will be in charge of your project’s success. Understand the incentives for them to do “great work”. Get to know them and build a personal relationship with them, such that you two develop trust and honesty. Your champion will be the person you can always count on for help. They won’t be afraid get their hands dirty in order to help you out and get shit done. Remember to appreciate and recognize your Champions contributions in order to keep them motivated and dedicated to your project’s success.

 

  1. Leverage the Decision Maker (DM).

Don’t lose sight of how helpful a DM can be in pushing the project forward. The DM has ‘special powers’ that no one else has. They have the ability to approve budgets and unforeseen expenses that may be necessary to your project. They have the ability to “make things a priority” when you’re facing commitment issues with your team. Finally, your DM has the authority and interest to discuss growth opportunities with you and your team, giving you insights into other problems that you and your team can solve.

 

Meet periodically (quarterly) with your DM and keep them in the loop throughout the project’s milestones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need. Remember, they’ve hired you to solve one of their main problems. This means that they have a vested interested in helping you succeed.

 

  1. Celebrate Small Wins. Visualize Success.

In order to maintain momentum, you’ll need to constantly feed the motivations of your team members. Projects have high’s and low’s and an extended slump can bring your project to a hold.

 

The first thing you can do is to break down milestones into small enough chunks so that you can celebrate small wins. The process of constantly achieving progress is great for helping your team to maintain a positive attitude.

 

The second thing you can do is to help your team Visualize Success. When things do get tough, help your team see “the light at the end of the tunnel”. Remind them of the end goal everyone is working for and how this end goal will help make everyone’s lives and jobs better. Having a clear end in mind can also help team members feel empowered while solving their own problems.


Celebrating small wins and keeping the end in mind are examples of techniques that can help you re-energize your team throughout the emotional stages of your project.


That’s it for this time. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Cheers till next time!

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