By Rainer Berak
At Project A, we support our companies in key areas such as marketing, IT/product, BI, organizational building and others.
Beyond that, to get the maximum possible benefit out of our efforts and to ensure a high probability of success for our ventures in general, we also add a sufficient portion of “Venture Development”.
This is achieved by a team which is responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from project management to interim management, from providing the necessary structure all the way to the operational coverage of work functions.
Taking our inspiration from Ben Horowitz’s description of good and bad product managers, in the following we have laid out our view on what differentiates a good venture developer from a bad one.
Bad: Mostly concerned with the valuation and the investment in the last round.
Good: Knows which KPIs drive the success of a venture and knows where they stand.
Bad: Does his/her job in the best interest of the founder.
Good: Does his/her job in partnership with the founder and in the best interest of the venture.
Bad: Blindly follows the strategy and vision of the founder.
Good: Adds value by bringing in a fresh external view and challenges the status quo.
Bad: Treats every venture as a project for itself.
Good: Draws parallels to previous projects and establishes contact to other ventures.
Bad: Ends the support when the official assignment is over.
Good: Stays in touch with the venture’s team and cares about its current development.
Bad: Only focuses on his/her operational function.
Good: Is aware of key value drivers in all departments and encourages collaboration between teams.
Bad: Tolerates confusion and unstructured reality.
Good: Sorts out confusion and builds structures.
Bad: Does whatever the founder sees as a priority.
Good: Balances timeliness, risk and cost.
Bad: Manages against “as good as possible”.
Good: Decides objectives for timeliness, risk and cost, keeping in mind which one has priority and limits.
Bad: Has all planning in his/her head (or worse: trusts that the founder does).
Good: Guides the founder and the team in structuring their efforts and helps them to keep on track.
Bad: Changes the applied planning tool often and uses multiple plans in parallel.
Good: Anticipates complexity and finds a pragmatic way to use tools in the required way.
Bad: Is frustrated by things not going well.
Good: Expects that things won’t necessarily go well and changes them.
Bad: Draws a clear line concerning the limits of the role.
Good: Does whatever it takes, whether it be management tasks or operational legwork.
Bad: Puts full focus only on maximizing revenue tasks.
Good: Supports maximizing revenue, but keeps an eye on soft factors such as team development and satisfaction.
Bad: Develops the venture striving for exit.
Good: Develops the venture striving for value.