8 Qualities of a Practical Timeline in Startup Tech Companies
Timelines are important blueprints for startup tech companies, and these eight qualities are staples of the most effective ones.
Constructing timelines is a critical process for most startup tech companies. Whether an entrepreneur is trying to figure out a launch date for a new product or service or trying to figure out a long-term marketing plan, timelines help teams stay on point by consolidating and materializing goals.
Building a timeline is easy. But building a quality, agreeable timeline is much more difficult. You’ll need to appease everyone—the goal setters, the task managers, the investors, as well as the clients—and that means you’ll need to set an attractive goal with a reasonably scoped way to achieve it.
When building your timeline, make sure it features these eight qualities:
1. Clear. Everyone knows what the major milestones are and why they are where they are. A convoluted timeline is a certain disaster.
2. Consolidated. Every player involved in the timeline’s main goals should be able to, at a glance, determine their own pieces of the puzzle. This can be hard to do, especially in physical iterations, but it is very important.
3. Conservative. While your timeline should feature deadlines that motivate and push your team, they also need to be conservative. No single delay should compromise your work.
4. Contingent. Especially in long-term projects, it’s important to have contingency plans built into the main timeline—what happens if something goes wrong?
5. Precise. Try not to have ranges of dates. Ambiguity leads to confusion and too many people taking liberties. Make your dates and times as precise as possible throughout the entire timeline.
6. Visible. Don’t schedule these things in a meeting and then forget about it. Use a cloud sharing feature or simply draw it out on a whiteboard—if your timeline is visible to all, it will stay top-of-mind.
7. Accountable. Your timeline should hold all parties responsible for their share of the workload, one way or another.
8. Interactive. This quality is actually optional—but it can be a lot of fun! Use colors, tacks, or other marks to indicate your progress.
Remember, it takes research and teamwork to build a timeline that is both ambitious and reasonable. The goal is to maximize efficiency, not to push the deadline as much as possible.