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Project Management: Focusing on Unimportant Cheat Sheet by

Signs Your Startup Is Focused on Stuff That Doesn’t Matter
management     what     not     project     focus     important     wrong     unimportant


Startups are sexy. With a Facebook movie, an HBO show, and a sitting president musing about his possible future career as a VC, there’s no denying it.

That’s both good and bad news. It’s good because growing attention is putting entrep­ren­eurship on the radar of more and more smart people and convincing garage tinkerers and dorm room hustlers to give their dreams a shot. It’s bad news (among other reasons) because it also attracts some people who are more interested in the image of the industry than the actual work of building a business.

Signs of Wrong Focus

1. Meeting mania. Meeting make you feel important, but they’re also usually a massive waste of time, cautions Turnbull.
2. Overhi­ring. “The bigger your team is, the more serious your company feels,” notes Turnbull, but do you really need a marketing manager, a writer, a designer and a junior marketer to send out one weekly email?
3. Worshi­pping vanity benchm­arks. “Number of employees is not a metric to measure success by,” insists Turnbull.
4. Spending a lot of time networ­king. “Netwo­rking feels like work… But what other work are you trading off to do it?”
5. Sponsoring confer­enc­es. Unless you have the pocketbook of someone like Salesf­orce, this is probably a bad idea.
6. Oversp­ending on swag. Yup, that cool office­/fancy swag/nice business card makes your people feel good and impresses outsiders, “but this is another thing that many startups do before they can actually afford it,” warns Turnbull.
7. Constant meetings with founders and mentors. Like networ­king, constant meetups with others in the startup scene can be addictive… and destru­ctive if you end up spending more time talking to other founders than you do to your customers.

Project Failure

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