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Project management skills in startups

    • 22 posts
    January 5, 2007 5:46 AM EST
    I agree with CraigL in that single owners probably don`t go through the whole PM lifecycle although use elements of PM skills including setting timelines and goals.

    I think it really depends on the project/initiative and the size of the team. One project that I am currently working on, PM is a must due to the complexity of the application and the size of the team. It includes a project manager, business analyst, web developer, back end developers and a tester. Obviously project management is critical to our success as we have dependancies to one another in development and delivering the final product. The project plan is also used to present to the stakeholders (senior management team) to ensure that we are delivering on time and budget.

    On my side business, there are only 2 of us that basically do everything so we where multiple hats. PM is still important and used but scaled down significantly.

    Brandon Eng, Owner, Lead Studios

    Play sports? Find other Toronto players @

    • 56 posts
    January 5, 2007 5:15 AM EST

    Hello Draven,

    Like you I have a background in Project Management and I find it extremely useful in the running of my business.  There are various aspects of my business that require extreme attention to detail.  I have noticed that as my PM skills improved over the years, the better my ability to plan the pieces of my business.  The PM skills “forced” me to analyze my business with more detail.

    It isn’t like those pieces or details would not have been dealt with, however, I now find it almost part of my new business nature to think of the more minute details.  It definitely makes things easier when it comes time to launch new initiatives.  I don’t use a formal methodology or plan out Gantt charts for any of my “projects”, but having the know how is great.

    With that being said, maybe I don’t need MS Project to plan out the family dinner.  After all we know who the “steak” holders are!

    Daniel the Denim Doctor

    • 6 posts
    January 5, 2007 12:25 PM EST

    Hi Draven,

    Initially as a student of PM I wanted to apply PM to all things.  Once I learned that PM is just a methodology, I eased-out on Gantt’ing and concentrated on enhancing the paradigm instead – Post-it notes are more then sufficient tools in many cases.

    If by certification you mean to achieve the PMP certification, I suggest you visit  There are many tools that can help you through the certification process.


    Jon Bianco, PMP

    “Adapting paradigms between people and projects.”™

    Jon Bianco
    Adaptive Paradigm, Inc.

    • 11 posts
    January 4, 2007 5:40 PM EST
    Today my feed for showed up with an article about entrepreneurship and some of the benefits of project management.  I`m going to school for project management and use it daily in my work, and I thought it would be interesting for the community to comment on your use of project management skills in your own businesses.  I`d personally like to hear about anything where either the business model involves project management, or is just used as a part of running the business.  Thanks!


    • 11 posts
    January 5, 2007 11:54 AM EST
    The reason I wanted to start this conversation is because as my expertise of project management techniques has grown, I`ve been able to use that knowledge to get more out of many aspects of my life.  Kind of like what ujeans posted about the PM skills "forcing" more attention on the process/details.  I haven`t started a company (yet) though, and would love to see some examples from the community where entrepreneurs really feel that project management has helped them in starting or growing a business.

    For instance, in studying for certifications, I`m prone to write up a quick plan on exactly what I`m going to study when, in order to be prepared by the exam date.  I`m talking about a 10 minute process where I`m certainly not managing this thing like a complex project, just using the concepts to better estimate, plan, and control what I`m doing.  I`m finding my project management skill set is helping me focus and stay on track, as well as prioritize better and identify where my time is best spent.

    Another benefit, I just document better.  Writing a goal down with specific due dates and methods for achieving it as in a project plan (or business plan?) makes the goal real.  Zig Ziglar says, "If you aim at nothing, you`ll hit it every time."  One thing project management concepts (and a business plan) gives you is a concrete goal to aim at., along with tools to plan and control execution.

    When I`m ready to start my first business, I can definitely see myself using project management methods, whether it`s to get a product to market as quickly as possible, an execution plan for my marketing strategy, etc.

    Thank you to everyone for your contributions to this post!
    Draven2007-1-6 13:26:6


    • 11 posts
    January 6, 2007 1:14 AM EST
    Thanks for your comments Richard.  I agree that everyone is a PM to some degree in their daily lives.  Just to clarify, I don`t use Gantt charts much, only on large format projects.  Just a list of tasks and when I`m going to have them done by is sufficient for most things.  The name of the site I referred to initially just happens to be called 

    I will say this though, I HATE POST-IT NOTES!  I`d rather take 10 seconds and type it into a task list or calendar item.  The clutter and maintenance aspects are too numerous for me to mention.  Plus I only want to see what I`m working on right now, and not be distracted that yellow beast glaring at me.  You`ve inspired a post today on my blog, The PM Student about how I feel about multi-tasking.

    I`d like to dig a little deeper here, and articulate a modified question that`s been fleshed out through everyone`s great feedback thus far.  I`d like to see if anyone has examples of a huge change they made in their business with a single `project`, either through growth or process improvement.  In those instances, what skills were most helpful and necessary in retrospect?  Was it communications, organization, time management, analytics, etc?  All of these and more are part of a good project manager`s inventory of skills, but of course different aspects are going to be more important in a solo-preneur environment versus a company of 50 people, and depending on the industry, and service or product orientation.

    Thanks everyone!
    Draven2007-1-6 13:35:51


    • 11 posts
    January 9, 2007 9:52 AM EST
    Please don`t let the thread be dead!  Say it aint so!  Please post and keep it kicking!

    I`d like to see if anyone has examples of a huge change they made in their business with a single `project`, either through growth or process improvement.  In those instances, what skills were most helpful and necessary in retrospect?  Was it communications, organization, time management, analytics, etc?



    • 343 posts
    January 5, 2007 4:35 PM EST


    I`m impressed. Not only with the subject matter of this post, but by the actual writing in your comments. You have done your homework. You are well-schooled and you are using the knowledge you have learned.

    I am not a "schooled" project manager although I have been through some formal training. I know about and have used Gantt charts. However, I am posting to 1) Commend you on this thought process and your comments and 2) to make some observations on the topic.

    I think all of us are Project Managers to some degree. It just happens based on how the brain works. The brain is your own PC. It is methodical and PM is methodical business. All of us may not know about Gantt Charts and many probably have no idea what we are talking about ... and that is OK. I do feel that life is one project after another and we DO Project Manage life to the best of our ability. And ... if all of us would attempt to learn to perform PM better, our lives - both personally and professional - would be better, smoother, and less complicated ... Plan the work, work the plan.

    Draven, your last comments hit the nail on the head. Your examples about studying and goal setting all fall into the category of PM, in my humble opinion. Some may disagree, but I`m with you.

    I have been a fanatic about planning projects all of my life. Whether it is painting the master bedroom and bath (which my wife and I did over the holiday week) or planning a meeting with a client. Or planning a project after a meeting with a client. PM comes into play in my business everyday and I feel PM is an important tool for any small business. Yes, I use 3M Post-It Notes, too. But that ain`t project management, IMHO.

    Draven ... great subject - welcome and I hope to see more posts from you in the near future.

    Have a great weekend!


    keycon2007-1-5 22:38:38

    Richard Arnold · Key Concept Writers · Business Communication: The "Key" To Success· Law of Attraction Blog · Life Ain`t Brain Surgery Blog