How to stay organized in a startup

Posted on July 11, 2011 by

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Staying organized can make or break you at a larger organization and it turns out to be the same case in a startup, but for different reasons.

When you are one of many employees information recall and speed can give the perception of brilliance.  If your boss sends out an email or asks for a piece of info and you are typically the one answering his questions your value-add is present each time and grows over time.

In a startup organization it is less about impressing someone, but rather pushing people forward.  There are many ways to stay organized, but at a startup the best seem to incorporate a social aspect.  You learn quickly what others on your team react best to.  For instance, recently Boomer and myself defined our minimum viable product and wanted to share it with the entire team.  We sent out an email so everyone was on the same page, but at our next meeting it was repeatedly asked what our minimum viable product looked like.  This came to us as a shock since the email was sent a few days before and we thought everyone was on the same page.  Turns out just because you send out an email doesn’t mean people will read it.  In this day and age people receive so many emails per day that they begin to tune them all out.

Tools to keep your team organized,

  • Bitbucket.org (Great if you are working with programmers because it  is not only a free open sourced code repository but it also has built in wiki, bug and enhancement tracking modules. These are great features to keep the programmers/developers on task and up to date with everything development related).
  • google docs (Great for working side by side with someone)
  • daily-to-do list on paper (Old School)
  • Dropbox.com (Easy way to make sure everyone has access to all the important folders and files).
  • Excel (Keep a record of all passwords and accounts you create so nobody starts doubling up)
  • Appropriately named folders and files
  • When you finish a project organize old versions and maybe even delete them and just save the final product

I know some of this sounds intuitive but there are many companies that don’t do it and end up relying on one individual to recall all of their information.  What happens if they leave or are sick?

~Hammer Time

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