By Konstantina Maltezou, PMP
Is there an interest for project management in the Startup ecosystem in Greece? Are there any specific methodologies applied by the startups which are in fact projects in action? These I had the honor to discuss with Alexandra Choli, Founding Partner at Metavallon.vc. ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandracholi).
Metavallon is a venture capital firm investing in early stage technology startups by providing financing and hands-on development support through their pre-seed and seed stage investments phase. Recently the fund succeded the biggest tech deal in Greece with the acquisition of Think Silicon by Applied Materials. Alexandra along with Myrto Papathanou (the other Metavallon partner) was just included in the 40 UNDER 40 list as the most successful and distinct young innovators in Greece.
Alexandra is a person with a strong knowledge of the Startup environment in Greece and globally. So we had the pleasure to have a brief friendly talk regarding project management and Startups.
Startups in Greece usually don’t have project management on their minds. How could they really, since they don’t have the time or the resources for their essential business to start with? But what a better place to start? Alexandra has observed that due to necessity (time, cost, resources, quality of the outcome) they tend to reinvent parts of methodology (like making their own KANBAN boards or doing sprints as part of their development only by applying what they have time to apply and think as efficient). A lot of them use, most of time without realizing, parts of agile methodologies, especially in the product development phase. And there is also the birth of Lean Startup methodology that is building the process on certain parts of project management.
Alexandra has noted that actually more successful companies are the ones that have people with the leadership and strategic thinking skills and handle project and people like project managers. They have an overview of all aspects and prioritize necessary actions. That can be considered to prove the shift of the importance of project management from more technical methodology skills to the PMI Talent Triangle of Technical, Leadership and Stategic and Business management skills.
Also, obvious as it is, Startups are running on little resources especially regarding human resource support, focusing on technical technology skills, and the last thing they can afford is to hire a Project Manager.
However, as per Fister Gale, S. (2018, A Leg Up: Resource-Strapped Startups Lack Project Management Chops, So Business Incubators Are Lending A Hand. PM Network, 32(4), 32–41.) business leaders often have no clue of the actual value of project management. So startup incubators or accelerators can assist by integrating project management training and guidance.
Alexandra strongly believes that project management coaching is essential to Startups but in Greece there is still a lot of room for a better collaboration and best practice sharing that will mutually benefit the startup ecosystem and the project management community.
We would like to thank Alexandra for her time and we look forward to initiatives that will bring our worlds closer.