Project Management — Successful vs Happy Closure

For seed-funded Tech Startups, outsourcing is common, especially if you want to bootstrap. Freelancers and IT companies from developing nations have a great history of building amazing ideas from scratch. This picture has a flip side too i.e. many startups fail. I believe selecting the right offshore team is tricky and would like to share some best practices for this area in a separate story, soon.

I have been part of an IT services company in Pakistan, that specializes in enabling startups, for almost a decade. A good amount of time, huh :)

I spent few years of my service in Project Manager and Account Manager roles. Thanks to a bit of diversity in my career, I was able to close MOST of the projects HAPPILY. Few of them were NOT HAPPY but SUCCESSFUL and a couple of them were Neither happy Nor successful — sadly :(

I know you are wondering about what’s the difference between Happy and Successful closures? I coined the term HAPPY CLOSURE while working as a Project/Account Manager and I’ll explain it from a PM/AM perspective. Here’s the answer:

Typically, for a services company, your PRODUCT is a PROJECT. This is the key difference between perspectives of a client and vendor, a startup and its technology partner.

For a seed-funded startup that partners with you to build their MVP:

  • A successful launch of the MVP, happy client, appreciation, potentially a good review, and a promise to keep in touch, marks a successful project closure.
  • And, all of the above PLUS getting a few paid customers to bootstrap the startup or getting the startup funded with a team-building contract for you defines a HAPPY Project Closure.

See! it's a win-win situation for all stakeholders. Your client, company, team, and end-users — all set to gain something.

How to achieve that? Do we have a recipe to reach this state easily?

Well — — There’s No Silver Bullet— — but in essence, to convert a project into a product or a one-time business into a revenue stream, SACRIFICE is the key. You need to invest time, money, and effort in your relationships, team, and product.

Via trial and error, I have listed down a few Dos and Don’ts, for a Project Manager / Account Manager, that I would like to share with you in the second part of this story.

Please have a look at the second part of this story.

Remember, we want HAPPY CLOSURES for all our projects.



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Sharjeel Nisar

Poet, Dreamer, Founder, Educator, Software Engineer, Project Manager & Trainer