Ready, Steady, Go: Project Management for Startups

March 2, 2016 by The FlexPro Group

Take a moment to remember the excitement of a game-changing idea.  A new proposal for the office, a home improvement design for your personal life, or the establishment of a plan for a long-term goal.  The thrill of potential for positive change is nearly as infectious and intense as the achievement itself.

For most of the working world, there isn’t much at stake for each “big idea”.  Maybe the project at home gets pushed until warmer weather or a project team stays the course on its current timeline. But what happens when the grand plan is funded by external sources and the final product can impact quality of life?

When it comes to the Life Sciences sector, enthusiasm and eagerness need to take a back seat to a well-developed game plan.

Imagining yourself in the shoes of a decision-maker heading a successful startup company is a light and enjoyable exercise.  The typical daydream, however, often skips the arduous task of generating a functioning business from the ‘eureka moment’.  Glossing over any of the meticulous planning in the real world can spell disaster for even the most promising of concepts.

Fuel for innovation can strike anyone, but it often requires a refined business sense to produce a tangible result.  The increasing need for preparation, oversight, and execution has given rise to the practice of project management for small companies.

If passion drives the desire to improve products and services, effective management from start to finish is what truly makes it a reality.  This week, we consider all the advantages project management support can bring to a budding enterprise.

Constructing the Plan

When attempting to correctly forecast timing and resource needs, past experience is certainly a benefit.  Stakeholders will look toward key dates and deliverables to measure progress, intensifying the need for an accurate schedule and list of means needed to remain on plan.  Estimating total costs, personnel requirements, and time allotments for approvals all fall into the wheelhouse of a project manager.  Before any venture is launched, a detailed road map should be set to guide the way.

Managing external partners

It is virtually impossible to succeed on a long-term endeavor in the field of life sciences without colleagues of any sort.  With or without project management experience, an individual is often best including experts across a spectrum of functional areas in a long march toward project completion.  As team members are added, communication to external partners is a crucial skill that may span a wide geographical area.  The “band”, no matter how large or diverse within a project, needs a leader or director.  A seasoned PM is frequently the most effective option.

Clearing Critical Hurdles

When the timeline is set, dates in bold likely indicate important deliverables that are essential to the success of the entire operation.  Mandatory filings with government agencies, documentation, and published reporting are all examples of items on which the future of the project can hinge.  Furthermore, project management experience lends itself to understanding how filings can impact the overall timeline and managing changing expectations.  Ensuring the successful clearance of major dates on the calendar can make the difference when moving toward the finish line.

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