As you said, with bigger endeavours you indeed need a team. From what I have seen, the team starts forming with a somewhat regular pattern: (1) produce the simplest prototype, (2) hype your surrounding, (3) build the team, (4) make the product.
At first, the priority is put making a Minimum Viable Product. The MVP has the shortest and simplest requirement list. In our case, it can be:
- Only a few features
- Simple the build
- Simple the change
That basic prototype is going to be extra useful for the next few steps. This is going to be used to show your friends/colleagues and secure help.
Careful with people that are just hyped about everything but have to be taught everything. You cannot afford to lose momentum.
One should be careful with the assumption: “If I ask for help, then people will help”. It is partially true if the task is a simple task such as “help me move furniture”. But when the task is from a specific domain (such as a technical challenge), you have to hand pick your team. “Be specific in the selection” is what I’m saying.
After securing excellent people who are subject matter experts, that’s when things starts rolling pretty fast. That’s when you start seeing the project mature.
Your position as the project initiator becomes project manager. Your role is still to push the project forward, but now, you have to spend about half your time following up with people, setting the next objectives, re-iterating your vision and ensuring that the project moves forward.
Following up with people is probably the most important thing. Do it in person. Do ideally once a week. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a stand up meeting is good.
As a project manager, you have to handle your team efficiently. It is particularly important to set
- clear goals (what to do)
- clear instructions (how to do it)
- clear deadline (when to do it for)
This process is not easy. It does take tremendous amount of effort, but it gets better as you get to step 3-4.
So I came in as the treasurer. I designed improvements plans, made a budget and 3D models of what I wanted. Then I fought with the school and secured funding.
With these plans and money in hand, that’s when I was showing off to everybodyyyyyyy how awesome this project can be. And how useful this will be for everybody. Of course, many didn’t really believe in what I said. But a few stuck around and wanted to see this happen. So with a small core team of believer, it went from a ‘meh’ room became an awesome hanging out placeThis took tremendous amount of effort to pull it off. But it was needed to prove that the project had a future.
before -> after
From there, people started to see that I wasn’t bluffing. That is when I was able to hand pick the team I wanted: Vice-President, VP Social, VP Finance, VP Projects. These were the people that I knew could help me unlock the next stage.
Then we started to build the infrastructure and reinforce the foundation of the organisation. At that stage, all I was doing was management. The team liked to see objectives. Theobjectives were set fairly close to one another, so there was always a sense of reward for completing the goals. Thus, that is how you keep team moral high by showing that progress is being made.As we got more and more popular by showing off the infrastructure we had, people started to come and the team grew bigger.The first year, we only got “Most improved society”. Expected, we were still working on making it awesome. The next years, success! We got “Society of the Year” two years in a row, and got it again last year too.
Take baby steps. Tackle one objective at a time.