3) Consider midstream revenue sources.
Mr. Bapu convinced his suppliers that their up-front investment of time would
pay off later—and it has. But by the time he needed partners to begin manufacturing components en masse, he had cash in hand via Kickstarter. This agile
notion of using revenue earned midstream in order to fund the next phase of a
project is gaining momentum among project managers of all stripes, according
to Nick Hadjinicolaou, PMP, PgMP, director of the Global Project Management
program, Torrens University, Adelaide, Australia. “Methodologies are starting
to take shape where you’re getting out there and getting some returns and sales
of a product, and then once you get that first revenue, you can reinvest to fund
the next phase,” Mr. Hadjinicolaou says.
For manufacturers such as Gramovox, an injection of cash often comes in
the form of a large pre-order from an anchor client or else a collection of small
orders made possible through crowdfunding.
4) Customize the project management approach.
Cash-strapped project managers at very small organizations can sometimes
feel overwhelmed by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
(PMBOK® Guide), Mr. Hadjinicolaou says.
Yet startups and not-for-profits can apply the principles of strong project
management—defining a project’s scope, budget and schedule, understanding
stakeholders and risk factors—without employing everything they see in the
“It’s about fit for purpose, and taking the bits out of the standard that you
need to make it work,” Mr. Hadjinicolaou says. “At a minimum, you need to be
clear about the scope, even if it’s just a one-page brief defining the essentials and
establishing some basic controls.”
5) Tell the project’s story.
Mr. Bapu didn’t have much money in Gramovox’s early days, but he did have
something else of value: a compelling story. The first part of his narrative
focused on the speaker system he wanted to build: “We showed people a time
machine that would allow people to stream nostalgia,” he says.
The second part of Mr. Bapu’s story aimed to get prospective partners to
believe he could develop a successful product out of his idea. “You have to have
a vision, and you have to believe in it and champion it with everyone you work
with,” Mr. Bapu says. “If you have no money, that might be all you have at your
disposal. But if you’re able to communicate the
vision effectively, people will rally behind you.”
Some of his success stems from communicating that vision for the product to partners.
“They were sold on the story,” Mr. Bapu
says, “so that that they almost felt that if they
were to change too much it would ruin the
narrative. That’s the power of developing a
crystallized vision and communicating it so it
“At a minimum, you need
to be clear about the scope,
even if it’s just a one-page
brief defining the essentials
and establishing some basic
—Nick Hadjinicolaou, PMP, PgMP, Torrens University,
“If you’re able to
people will rally