The Project Manager

You wouldn’t build a factory, skyscraper, road, bridge, or probably even a house without a foreman would you? There would just be too much going on, and someone who has done this before needs to organize all those people, plan out timelines, make sure deliveries are being made on time, check the overall quality of things, make adjustments if things get behind, and keep you informed so you can plan out the marketing, moving your people, getting other systems ready, etc. right? …. Right? …. RIGHT?!

SaaS is Complicated. So get someone to manage the details.

So if you want to be successful in this endeavor, don’t plan on building your SaaS without a Project Manager (PM). Don’t think of them as a cost center, think of this role as your primary money saving role. Without an effective PM, the wheels are going to come off before you even get out of the driveway. With an experienced PM leading your development team, your project can run so smoothly.

I really can’t stress enough the importance of a good PM. If your developers don’t know what they’re doing, a good PM will fire them and get new ones. If your project gets behind, a good PM will kick some butt and get it back on track. Really, with a good PM, projects don’t get behind. They will make sure that things are planned, that everyone knows what everyone else is doing, that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, that documentation is being kept, that people meet deadlines, and that you are informed throughout.

This is once again another reason why you need a team in SaaS development, not an individual. No one person can do it all.

My experience is that very often the things that make good project managers good are the same things that make them weak, and great project managers have overcome these weaknesses.

So what makes a PM good?

In my humble opinion, it is a heightened level of neuroticism.

I’m referring to the internal need of a person to have things just the way they feel they need to be to do a job and a lack of ability to be flexible from that standpoint, not the other aspects of neuroticism. What this means to the SaaS project is that the PM knows how things need to be done and what timelines need to be met, and have an internal need, higher than the average person, to keep things on track. They also cannot deal with things being out of place, disorganized, late, etc.

When this happens, they will work as much as it takes to get things in order, because they cannot deal with it being out of order.