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Write It Down

I have this penchant for writing things down. Everything.  I have what a friend affectionately calls, "FOMS" Disease. FOMS stands for the "Fear Of Missing Something."  For startups (or really any size organization), you need to write things down.

Some things that you should codify are:

  • notes on important business meetings – email, cheap CRM software (aka Salesforce), or even an excel spreadsheet
  • Take notes after each staff meeting – write down the action items and the key decisions in the meeting;  forward them every week and keep track of your progress.  It is the no dicker sticker for the team.
  • Strategic planning sessions need notes and easy-to-follow plans out of them.  One slide should be able to some up your Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Tactics.
  • Remark your code and if you don’t have time to write specs, at least document UI specs
  • Keep a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) scorecard that is circulated to your management team, employees, and Board every week

I love the Bossidy book, Execution.  It was published 6 years ago and I find it extremely pertinent.  It is jam packed with no-nonsense blueprints for running a company.  I imagine Larry walking into a meeting like the dime store detective, Mike Hammer.  Noir-like and hard-nosed getting right to the facts.  He devoted a lot of time in the book about the importance of follow-up after meetings and constant attention to decisions that are made. 

To be honest, I use notepad as my planning tool and I use Excel for planning product launches.  I am what is called "old school."  There are certainly fancier tools that are no doubt more elegeant like 37things and LiquidPlanner.  As your company grows, you will develop management procedures and processes as you scale.  Setting an early culture of execution via deliberate attention to writing down decisions (and sticking with them), is a wonderful way to keep your fast mover advantage as a startup.


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