I need your advice folks!
I know the question may be quite trivial but I haven't found any related to my situation answers. And I don't know where to start

We have new start-up company, that has grown in to 10-15 ppl too quickly, that we even hadn't time to structurise it properly.
To cut long story short I would be grateful if local experienced people would give me some advice on PM methodologies and tools e.g Waterfall or Agile(Scrum)? and what would be the best way of company structure? Perhaps there are some books or other resources where I would be able to learn about the subject?

Our workflow is:
Most of the time we have small projects e.g Facebook campaigns, small to medium websites and social brand development plus some small video production. Most of this projects should to last no longer than 3-4 days(in perfect world, but that's the goal of company), but in the end of the day lasts much much more longer, because of clients delays(specifications & content) and lack of proper management.
Director still keep trying to run the company in some flat organisation style, stating that he wants to be close to our team and be involved in any aspects of any project development. And I love it! But instead in reality he stretches him self so much (by doing PM, AM and Sales and general CEO stuff) that we always wait for briefs, scope of works and content from client. As result delays and unhappy clients.

We got some person to do Project Management(she is also Copywriter). But she is not professional PM.
So as more experienced and tech person in IT I'd like to help to set it all up and make sure it all works!


To help better manage staff, delegate responsibilities and distribute work load we come up with a new company structure:

CEO/Creative Director (Also AM)
Account Manager, Project Manager(Scrum Master + Copywriter)
Marketing Manager, Senior/Lead Tech/Web Developer, Senior Graphic designer
Campaign Manager, 3 x Graphic designer, Web Developer, Junior Web Developer(the guy who just know how to install and set up wordpress and bit of CSS)

And subsequently create some fixed teams -
Team 1 (1 Designer + 1 Wordpress Master)
Team 2 (1 Designer + 1 Web Developer)
Team 3 (1 Designer + 1 Campaign Manager)

What do you think?

I like fixed teams(with an option for employee to move from one to another) because I think employe will better know in and outs of job nature. But once they get border say to design only facebook pages they can move to web design team

But I am still reflecting on cons and pros of flexed and fixed teams.
The main con for me of flexed teams is employee has to handle more multitask work and be able to design well as facebook pages, as web design and as to do a branding (logos, flayers, labels etc). With junior employees that's would be difficult.

PM Methods:
I believe the most progressive and modern method of managing projects now is Agile(Scrum). It was meant for small projects and small teams(5-10 ppl). Gives ability to deliver features quickly. But unfortunately I am not a scrum coach and can not be sure that it will work well for such smaller teams.
Perhaps there are out there some other special tailored methods for our case?


Currently we're using Podio. It's great software. But too huge and broad seems for us! People especially designers find it too complex. I plan to try PivotalTracker. It looks simple and seems has everything we would need I also have heard good feedbacks about Atlassian Jira. But in my opinion it is too complex as well for our small team. Only what we need is a list of tasks to do assigned for each employee and nicely track the process, with charts and progress bars etc. The management needs to see the work progress.
Perhaps there are better solutions for our case?

That is it!
Apology if it was too long to explain. But I wanted to give as much as possible info to give you an idea of the situation. I presume our case is not unique. And perhaps some experienced PM would be figure it out in a snap of fingers.

Looking forward to hearing you feedback folks.

Kind regards,

4 Answers 4


My answers below are based on the assumption that you are all located in the same office space.

I think that using a software solution for your project management may be overkill, and may actually be getting in your way as you start out.

I'd suggest sitting down with your CEO and PM for an hour and decide on what exactly makes sense for you to be tracking on these projects. Do you just need to know who is working on each one, what state they are in, and when they need to be done? Do you need to track the pieces of each project as they go through different stages? What is it that is usful for the team to be able to see at a glance? Yes, there are a multitude of things that can be tracked, but you need to decide what makes sense for your organization.

I'd also suggest looking into kanban. In particular, look at how the software industry has adapted it. It is a very useful way of radiating information as well as acting as a visual control. It also has the benefit that it leads to the team taking ownership of the process and looking for ways to improve it.

  • That's what I was going to do in a couple days to sit down with PM. But first I'd wanted to come up first with some ideas and plan. All this PM stuff comes more from me only. The management understands the problem too slow. So I have to try to minimise the complexity of the things for them and propose some quick and productive solution. But you are right. perhaps tracking everything may be overkill. I will need to reflect on that more
    – Alex Reds
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 14:34
  • Oh and yes we are all located in the same office. However in some future we may extend and will get another office around the corner
    – Alex Reds
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 14:37

Rule of thumb: methodologies and tools fits to your needs, not the other way round.

Having said that, you need to assess:

  • The problems you are facing now
  • The procedures you have in place you believe could be improved
  • What you believe is working fine and you want to keep

This information can be discussed informally with everyone (and eventually, someone will need to balance everyone's opinions). Alternatively, you can also add what you want to have in the near future.

Now, knowing what's already in place (where you are today) and where you want to be (answering the above questions) you need to define how to get there. I'll focus on the points you mentioned to keep on topic.

Management methodology: Expecting a yes/no answer is risky. You'll need to check what are the possibilities and assess the pros and cons. The environment you mentioned is likely to be likely to work on Scrum (with a more interactive process) than Waterfall (more rigid). But your team needs to pick the decision (and don't regret in case some 'methodology tests' didn't work as expect). There's a very good discussion HERE that you'll need to see the other way round.

Management Tools: Again, having the questions above clear, will be easier to assess what you need. But the tool is only a mean to reach one objective... don't rely your success on a tool. It's only a support. If the tool(s) you're using are ok, stick with it. Don't add problems where there's none.


Scrum will work for your organization

The right way to get started is to send a couple of people to a good ScrumMaster/Product Owner training. If you choose good communicators/opinion leaders for this first round of training, they can come back and spread the message and help establish the process on the right footing. If you have the budget, you might also want to get an experienced consultant to come in and do some coaching sessions.

  • Love this idea! I'll definitely think about it! Thank you Ashok
    – Alex Reds
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 16:00

One of your biggest constraints seems to be the CEO's desire to be involved at every level. This can get in the way of any workflow or methodology. Here are a few ideas on how you can help address that. Engage with your CEO to start to envision a structure for a scalable organization as well as ask him what specific type of reports he'd like to see that would give him comfort that he still knows everything that's going on and that would allow him to intercede in time, when needed.

  • Thanks Mark. It's definitely like that! And I can't blame him for that! I would want the same as well in his place. He is quite smart guy. but the company has grown so quick that he seems lost something.
    – Alex Reds
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 16:10
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I will defo do that with him! That's why I'm still believe that some task and progress tracking system will help us, even if I completely agree with Kyle, that there is should be a good middle to avoid overtracking. Perhaps PivotalTracking + www.burndown-charts.com is what we would need for any case.
    – Alex Reds
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 16:13

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