Startup companies are all unique in their own ways. They are at different stages of their business cycle. In the concept phase/ seeding stage or may have just moved out of the concept phase into the Growth phase or between. Some entrepreneurs are bootstrapped and are wary of spending their money on the team. While they try to grow and scale, compete with other markets, the pressure is on. And it hits heavily.
And well, in this stage and state of the startup, they may not see the real value in having a Project Manager. Because the Project Manager does not do any real development work. And added to that, they mix up the duties of a Product Manager’s work. More than 90% of the startup companies use Agile/Scrum Model or one form of Agile.
You as a Project Manager will experience the ambiguity, eagerness, push and unrealistic expectations from the owner of the company. You have to just stay calm, do what are you are supposed to do, set the expectations and move on as you are experienced and are very well aware of what your duties are as a PM/Scrum Master.
Here are some pointers that will benefit the Project Manager working for a startup company or a small company that is still establishing teams, processes, and roles.
- Create a process that will bring value and benefit to the team and the company. Propose and advocate and emphasize the value of having a process. Ensure it is implemented as you will have push back on this.
- You may have to work with ambiguous or no scope. Just navigate your way up to defining and getting the agreement on the scope definition.
- Get the average velocity of the team.
- Understand the MVP(Minimum Viable Product). Stories/features/flow as this should be your first release to the customer.
- Prepare a release plan or a road map. This will evolve and improve over time based on the inputs from the engineering. Be aware that there could be a case where there are no inputs from the team. Start with defining the goals or vision for the company.
On one side, you are an adept Project Manager, on the other side, you feel like you are stuck. This may lead to questioning your competence. Don’t let that take over you.
Do your best steadily and build the process and the team. Don’t underestimate the value you bring although the founders may not be able to see it yet.
You will gradually develop a mutual relationship and learn from the challenges and risks of the business by working in a startup. You will certainly learn to multitask, navigate through chaos and uncertainty, build resilience working for a startup.
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