Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Startups – building for growth and success, and getting past ad hoc to do that

Posted in book recommendations, startups by Timothy Platt on October 26, 2009

In a way I am picking up on one of the first two postings I added to this blog when I first went active with it on September 14, 2009. Then I wrote of structure, and here I am going to focus more specifically on the dynamics of this and process.

I love working with startups and at the same time I feel intense frustration with them and sometimes at the same time. This is more a frustration issue – operationally reinventing the wheel every time something new has to be done and in ways that preclude benchmarking or effective post hoc reviews or due diligence – or really learning from your ongoing experience.

If you want your startup to succeed you have to move past this newborn stage as quickly as possible and one very important way to do that is to organize and deal with your goals and priorities as projects and portfolios of projects.

It is possible to do this very formally with the approaches and methodology that you would learn through a professional project management certification program as you would go through with the Project Management Institute. But it is probably not necessary to take as formal an approach as that unless this type of training and certification would specifically support your new business’ core mission and priorities. If you are planning on offering business process improvement services, for example, this might be important to achieve and you might need Six Sigma or other formal certifications as well. Whether you go through a formal program or not, it is important to learn some of the language and even more of the specific skills in project management so you are actually doing it.

PMI is only one resource for books and other materials you can use on your own to learn the basics of effective project management. One book I would recommend from them is:

• Adams, John R et al. (1997). Principles of Project Management. Project Management Institute.

Looking up at my personal professional library I see several more specialized texts on managing web projects, change management projects and portfolios, risk management in projects and portfolios and so on, but this is a good starting point.

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