Managing a project can prove to be a complex and harrowing experience filled with unhappy clients, feuding colleagues, pissed-off bosses, and overworked minions – we mean, employees. Everyone’s got their own work flow and management style, which often calls for creative problem-solving and an efficient project management ninja. But in a start-up setting, a project manager may not provide the most powerful value, at least when you’re first gaining momentum.
At Butter Me Up, everyone generally assumes all types of roles at some point in time or the other, putting all our skills to good, effective use. This means we’ve got to have a strong but flexible game plan and always hit the ground running, which is why we’ve figured out the most productive ways to strategise, perform, and achieve. These are some of them.
1. Play to Your Team’s Strengths
We’ve got our music and sports writer, our culture and humanities writer, and our lifestyle writer, among others. When we pitch or close on a client, we know exactly which specialist will handle their file. Because we play to everyone’s strengths, we’re able to deliver a seamless customer experience and the best possible final product, while meeting all our deadlines.
2. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
Sometimes, even the best of plans just don’t work out. Perhaps that’s because they weren’t the best just yet. To truly create the biggest, baddest strategy, you’ve got to be able to design something dynamic that can adapt and respond to changing situations. Often, clients will redirect their visions, goals, or timelines, and your team shouldn’t bear the brunt of those modifications. Have alternatives and easy reboot routes at the ready to get the most out of your project management plan.
3. Clear Communication
There’s one rule at BMU that no one is ever allowed to forget: Never. Go. MIA. Even if it’s one of those Sundays you partied too hard to get out of bed the next morning or a well-deserved vacation where you promised yourself you wouldn’t check the group chat but inevitably do anyway, we know the immense importance of always having clear and collaborative lines of communication (between each other and with our clients) through formal and informal platforms, like email, WhatsApp, our project management software, and carrier pigeon. Okay, that last one may not be true, but we like to keep our options open. As long as expectations are explicitly communicated and everyone understands them with precision, projects are generally smooth sailing.
4. Technology is Your Friend
Use every tool you have access to. There are lots of project management programs that are free, collaborative, app-based, and work on the cloud, giving you the ability to manage your team no matter where you are. We know there’s nothing like a handwritten to-do list, but always have a digitised copy of your team’s daily activities to keep a track of your productivity and efficiency. If there’s a task that you spent three hours on instead of the predicted one hour, having a record of this will help you reconstruct your projects and develop your strategy.
5. Always Keep Learning
After every project, we evaluate what went well, what could’ve gone better, and how we can learn from the experience. Then, we take these points and apply them to our active projects, improving our project management skills. Each client gives us something new to take back and helps our start-up grow, which is the key to any successful project management strategy.