Startup Lessons: Project Management (24-28)

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 Managing The Bigger Picture

“If you just focus on the smallest details, you never get the big picture right.” – Leroy Hood

 

  1. First Impressions Matter.

First impressions matter. A LOT. The first time meeting your client team defines their impression (and expectations) of you. The first few weeks of a project’s launch gives people an idea of your capabilities as a PM.

 

Make sure to start on the right foot, showcasing competency and professionalism to all of the project’s stakeholders. Over-prepare for the first kick-off meeting. Have potential timelines ready and make sure to clarify the expectations of everyone on the team. You gotta look and play the part of Team Captain. If people do not believe in your ability to lead them to success, they won’t be motivated to follow you throughout the project.

 

  1. You are more than a PM.

Remember that you as a PM represent more than just the work to be done. You represent your team and your organization at large. You represent the value that was promised to your customers and to your users.

 

When interacting with your client team, communicate often the end goal of the project. An example is “remember guys, we’re working so that none of you have to ever enter this data manually again”. This will help your client team relate you to a vision of a future state, and support you in achieving it.

 

When you interact with new users they must see you as their ‘Champion’. Once again, communicate often how your product/service is aimed to make their lives better. They must believe that this new project will improve their lives and solve their problems. Understand that they need to trust you in delivering this value and expect them to hold you accountable.

 

  1. Win New Users at “HELLO”.

It’s incredibly important to make sure that your end users are content and excited to use your new tool / system at the product launch. (In our case, we implement order management software for wholesaler salesmen). Winning new users at “hello” is achieved in the first couple interactions with them. This includes user onboarding and the first few weeks of tech support / customer service.

 

Have a strategy in place to “WOW” new users and get them excited to use your new system. How your users perceive you will influence how they will perceive your company and your team throughout their “user lifetime”. Happy users have longer lifetimes, which is vital for sustaining your company’s growth.

 

  1. Project Management & Customer Service

At Ubiqua, we learned that a great onboarding process is fundamental to minimizing the need for future technical support. We also learned that involving Customer Service early on in the onboarding process provided our Service team with insights as to the needs and problems of our end users, ultimately improving their ability to provide a useful and effective customer service. They were able to clarify the technical support process to our new  users and address concerns such as “what should I do..” or “who should I call when I have a problem?”. Involving our Customer Service early on the project allowed our CS Team to be key contributors to the project’s long-term success.

 

  1. Project Management & Growth

Understand the role that Project Management play within your company’s Bigger Picture. Marketing generates, qualifies and prospects leads. Sales pitches, proposes and turns leads into clients. Software Engineering and Product Development adapt our products to meet the needs of our new clients users. The final step in the process is when potential users become active (paying) users. Every department does what is necessary for a new client and its users to become active paying users. You as a PM are responsible for seeing the project through to completion.

 

You own the operations phase; implementation, user onboarding, and customer support. You’re in charge of keeping operations smooth and running effectively. The quicker you implement a new client, the faster you convert them into cash flow. Without a well-structured PM process, new clients can take months to implement; affecting both your cash flow and long-term customer retention. So when viewing your role as PM, see yourself as an engine of growth. Understand that your role is to turn visions into reality. And at the end of the day, remember to be proud of what you and your team achieve.


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

Cheers till next time!

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