On Thursday 20/1/2011 I did a 2 hour workshop on how agile project management can benefit startups, formed through open events like Jelly. The most important aspects of agile for startups are summarized below:
Define the startup idea in terms of a story
- Everyone understands it and everyone can contribute
Expand the story into scenarios leading to user roles and finally to user actions (use cases)
- A user action is the minimum granule that is understandable by all the team
- A user action can be given as the spec to the designer/developer to produce service/product
- User actions can develop into the test cases
Plan & assign tasks, monitor progress, present results / deliverables regularly & iterate
- Regulate meetings / deliverables using the agile methodologies (but not only…)
- If needed use standard PM techniques, depending on the nature of your startup project
Startup team should contain people with different roles, complementary to each other
- Every team member is the leader in her function
- Any team member can audit & question everyone in the team about their job, verify the commitment of others, if you see a problem shout!
Always have a common, up to date, top level master plan, defining who does what, when & why
- If a startup is to succeed, at least all the internal tasks have to execute 100%. If any task fails, the whole venture is in jeopardy.
- If something goes wrong, be flexible to undertake someone else’s job, although you may be not 100% capable, you know the project.
Quickly identify your personal exit (or not) strategy, depending on current circumstances. This will help you, the team & the startup.