Web Summits, Innovation and Gantt Charts!

As the Web Summit rocks into town again, for the last time in the foreseeable future, it brings along with it the annual excitement and hyperbole about innovation, pivoting, running lean and so on.  It can be easy to think that project management has no place in the worlds of the Web Summit and start-ups.  But you might be surprised. 

Sure, creativity, agility and innovation all need a certain degree of freedom from management and control; the creative and ideation processes require a level of chaos, a degree of ambiguity and a pinch of luck.  Not terms you would typically associate with project management. 

 Yes, project management is about structure, change, risk, control, consistency, budgets, plans and schedules.  However, these terms are not necessarily the enemy of innovation.  I would argue that they are its champion, especially in the commercial context.

Once the creative process gives birth to the innovative idea/concept, project management has an important part to play in facilitating the development of the idea/concept into something real and tangible and for a commercial enterprise; something that can be delivered to customers in the most effective and efficient way possible. 

 Moving from the creative to the commercial, those same project management terms (structure, change, risk, control, consistency, budgets, plans and schedules) all take on new relevance, importance and value. 

A lot of different talents are required in the start-up organisation – project management is a key one.  If you are running a start-up or if you are considering investing in a start-up, along with the other check-list items to consider, consider the level of project management capability available. If it’s not appropriate then get the project management talent on-board.  

So while attendees at the Web Summit take the party to the pubs and clubs of Dublin and celebrate the VCs, the coders, the entrepreneurs, let’s not forget the project managers who can make it all a reality.

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