The term “Entrepreneurship” was coined around 1920s. But “Life” to Entrepreneurship was added very recently by many of prominent Entrepreneurs (Bill Gates, Narayan Murthy, Dhirubai Ambani, Steve Jobs.. to name few), who chased their dream and made it big. Of late demand for Innovators increased exponentially, which has directly contributed to Economic Growth of the country.
It was from 1950, Project Management practices started evolving. In 1969, Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed and since then PMI has involved in guiding Project Managers.
Now time has come to collaborate and integrate both Entrepreneurship and Project Management practices and leverage upon them for increasing the success rate of projects. This in turn will increase the ROI for the organization and price reduction of product.
Entrepreneurship and Project Management
Every genius idea needs to be backed with proper management and every management needs to have a thought process that leads to success. If best practices of both Entrepreneurship and Project Management are applied in right sense and in right time. There will be no second thought that Venture or Project not being successful.
Psychological factors are also most important for successfully Organization. Bringing in Entrepreneurship in the Organization culture and backed up with Project Management process will add great value to the business. Entrepreneurship provides a sense of ownership and Project Management will be driving force.
Mindset of Entrepreneur and Project Manager:
|Mindset of Entrepreneur
||Mindset of Project Manager
|Perceiving and Living the Idea, Nuturing it.
||Initiate’s, Plan’s, Executes, Monitor and control and closes Project.
|Generating Value customer and other stakeholders.
||Delivers the Project On time, with Quality and Budget.
|Predicting new trend in Business and early adapting to change.
||Predicting new technology and ensuring readiness for change.
||Balancing Project constraints.
Now, let’s see the common characteristics of Entrepreneur and whether Project Manager needs them?
|Entrepreneur Common Characteristics
||Do you think Project Manager should have any?
|Idea or Vision
||Yes, Shared vision of Organization.
||Yes, Making his Organization Successful
|Dedication and Commitment
||Yes, to work, to Project and to Organization
||Yes, to enhance Team Motivation, Improve Morale , Performance and solve complex problem.
|Adaptive to changes
||Yes, Being ready to new challenges.
||Yes, To get the desired results
||Yes, To win trust of team and Management
||Anticipation to new things, technology, customer or User behavior.
||Anticipate for RISK and Being ready for it through constant RISK assessment.
Let’s see some common characteristics for Project Manager and whether is it good idea for Entrepreneurs to adapt them?
||Do Entrepreneurs need to adapt?
||Without Vision, .It’s like Football game without goal Post.
|Well Organized or Planned
||Yes, Planning is MUST for every Organization.
|Execution and Control
||Execution of Idea and creating Product out of it, needs good control & tracking of activities.
||To efficiently communicate Idea, Vision with all the stakeholders to get their buy-in.
||To get along and Work together.
||Know your customer better and know what they want.
||Identify stakeholders issues and concerns in timely manner and act upon them.
|Balancing Project Constraints
||Balancing COST, TIME, RISK, QUALITY, SCOPE, STAKEHOLDERS.
||Being Composed in Crisis and so team does not feel the pressure.
||Complex Problems need analytical and Creativity skills.
||In Business you need to delegate task to succeed.
As we have seen both the characteristics complement each other. Let’s go ahead and see challenges and substantiate with case studies.
This is the era of Entrepreneurs. Across the world, each year billions of individual start something on their own. In India alone around 1000+ startups are started every year. Around 25% of startups fail in the first year itself . As you are in business for few more years, ideally success rate should increase. But that is not the case, more than 50-55% failure rate is observed even after 4 years of startup. Many prominent analysts have analyzed challenges for Entrepreneurs .
Similarly around 60% of projects fail in an established organization. Out of 60% of failure reasons, second major reasons for failure of startup companies are due to Management issues, which is around 37%.
||Project Management Challenges
||Failure to meet Organization Goal and Vision.
|a. Lack of Vision
||a. Project objectives are misaligned with the overall business goals
|b. Lack of Planning
||b. Failure to understand the big picture.
|c. Mismanagement of resources (example: Cost, Human resources, Hierarchy structure..etc )
||c. Lack of Coordination
|Lack of Innovation.
||Lack of Requirements and Scope definition
|a. No Product differentiation.
||a. Clarity on understanding requirements and Scope.
|Adaptability and Retention of customers
||Stakeholder Management Issues
|a. Unable to cater to change in customer expectations.
||a. Failure to understand end user perspective.
|b. Failure to identify to new customers
||b. Failure to identify or engage the stakeholders
|Persistence, Passion, Performance and Profitability to be successful.
||Managing and Controlling Project Constraints (Scope, Cost, Quality, Time, Risk, Resources and Stakeholders )
|Business Expansion through Nurturing Lead
||Improving Efficiency and Productivity applying right process improvements.
Challenges faced by both Entrepreneur and Project Manager are very much similar. But some challenges are very specific to Entrepreneurship which involves conveying Idea to convincing buy-in for investment, Recruiting right people, Product differentiation to Market analysis and Sales to Profitability.
TWO faces same coin.
Entrepreneur and Project Manager Skills should go hand in hand for any Organization or Project to be successful.
- Entrepreneur’s/Organization VISION have to be translated into Project Goals. Its responsibility of Project Manager to achieve Project Goal by managing all the constraints. In-fact even Project Managers need to have a metrics to monitor and track the Project to meet the Project Goal.
- Project Manager’s roles and responsibility is very similar to Entrepreneurial process (Feasibility Study, Planning, Managing Resources and executing plan). Process are very similar for both starting a new venture or a Project.
- Entrepreneurs and Project Manager need to rightly manage the constraints (Scope, Time, Cost, Risk, Quality, Resources).
- Strategic decisions matter for both; should be driven by perceptions and resources.
- Both need to focus on Exploring new opportunities for Growth.
- Projectized Organization, provide more responsibility to Project Managers. In this Organization Project Managers can exhibit more Entrepreneurs skills, where they can be more Innovators, RISK takers, proactive with new business ideas & opportunities and persuade all stakeholders to invest on the project.
- Entrepreneurial activities and Project Management process are related.
Case Studies 1
Entrepreneur with efficient management skills was able to steer his venture to new heights. .
Vizury established in 2008, with clear vision to bring brands closer to online markets. Vizury Products engage customers end users to obtain the right product in their ecommerce website and there by maximizing the return of investment for the customers.
Critical Success Factors
A success factor of Vizury is how an idea is converted into Product with the help of Project Management and Entrepreneur skills. Below are the skills exhibited by Vizury team and that led them to success path.
- Clear Vision “We will help marketer’s secure customers-for-life using personalized marketing solutions across channels.”
- Right Strategy, in focusing on different customers, domain (E-commerce, Automotive, travel, hospitality, healthcare…) and regions (India, China, Japan, Australia).
- Persistent and Desire to go about obvious to make customer successful.
- Right minded people (Founder & Co-Founder) working in tandem for success.
- Able to find right investors at right time.
Project Management Skills
- Synchronous Project Goal with Organization Vision (E-commerce site (www.jabong.com) receives large volume of traffic on their e-commerce site, but didn’t convert to sales)
- Requirement Analysis involving Customer and End users, Collect Information about the end user behavior, Product availability, Insights end user preference and Product category.
- Schedule Management, Identifying Critical Path and knowing Lead and Lag for each activity.
- Stakeholder Management – Project Kick off with all the stakeholder to get buy in, Know your customer, their Business, their Market share, Targeted Audience.
- Efficient Scope Management by Providing Customized Solutions, with minimal development. Improving customer experience and cost effective solution.
- Efficient People Management – Recruiting right minded people to execute the vision and Being Transformational Leader to guide and drive to success.
- Maximizing ROI – Solutions that Maximizing ROI for customers and on time delivery.
- Efficient communicator, so that team is aware of Vision and they work towards it.
Case Studies 2
A Project Manager by profession, who was able to apply his Project Management skills to be an successful Entrepreneur.
Amruth Dairy Farms
It’s a successful Journey of Project Manager from corporate World to dairy Farming. He leveraged upon the Project Management skills that he acquired during his years of experience as Project Manager in IT world to make his dairy farm successful. As on today the company’s annual turnover is 10 Million Indian rupees with 1500 liters of milk produced each day. Company’s turnover is also contributed by other incomes from Bio-Gas generation, Organic Fertilizers and growing own animal feed.
Critical Success Factors
A success factor for any Amruth dairy farms depends on how well Project Management and Entrepreneur skills are exhibited by the team responsible for delivery. Below are the skills exhibited by Entrepreneur Santhosh D Singh and drove it to success.
- Vision to start dairy farming, conceptualizing it and driving it to success.
- Defining elaborate Business Model (Key Partners, Activities, Value proposition, Key resources, Customer relationship, Channels, Customer Segments, Revenue Generation and Cost Structure.)
- Acquiring Knowledge about Agriculture Sector and Farming through professional training
- Starting slow and keeping eye on revenue generation.
- Risk Taking (Moving from Corporate World to Dairy Farming).
- Project Management to share same Shared Vision.
- Apply Project Management Skills.
Project Management Skills
o Efficient Planning and Scheduling activities.
o Monitoring and Control of Project Constraints.
o Improving Production Efficiency, Converting Bio-gas from Waste, Organic fertilizers from waste, to name a few.
o Exploring new ways to reduce the cost by Automated Cow Milking System and scale up cattle heads to leverage on system and resources to maximize the ROI.
o Applying JIT Inventory Management system to reduce the cost.
Integrated Entrepreneurial Project Management
Entrepreneur journey is not easy as it seems to be. It full of thorns before rose petals is reached. It requires lot of courage to take Entrepreneurial journey and be successful. Organization can be successfully, if it does not lose it’s his way during execution of idea. Project Management will add the value here and can bring back organization to right path.
- Perceive and live the idea.
- Nurture the Idea through Brainstorming, exposing to real world scenarios and believing in the idea.
- Create Business Model – This helps in transforming idea into Business Model.
- Find a Mentor to guide through the Entrepreneur journey.
- Identify the Market opportunity and dry run your value proposition.
- Do opportunity Analysis- Estimating market size for the product and obtaining early feedback from customers.
- Find a co-founder (who can be part of your journey) and Investors (internal or Venture capitalist) who believe in you.
- Recruit right minded people, who can do the job for you.
- Choose and Apply right kind of Project Management methodologies, tools and technique to steer it to success.
- Connect with customer and be sure to get regular feedback to sense the pulse.
- Never shy away from exploring new things and be early adapter to changes.
For any project or venture to be successful, both Entrepreneur’s and Project Management need to work in tandem. As we seen in Introduction section of this paper, nearly 25% of startup organization fails to take off in the first year. This can be attributed to poor Entrepreneur skills. Venture that fail even after 4-5 years of its inception is due to lack of Project Management.
To conclude, Entrepreneur and Project Management need to go hand in hand. Project Success can only be attributed when both skills are exhibited very well. So going forward Entrepreneurial Project Management is new mantra for being more successful