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To-do lists

At some point yesterday, the number of tasks I needed to accomplish began exceeding my ability to remember them. Time for a list.

There are many types of to-do lists: personal, group and institutional. A personal list can be anything from pen and paper to an excellent software program like Things. Group task management solutions can be anything from a whiteboard to web-based project management or MS Project. I greatly prefer a group task management solution that can also increase institutional value.

Today, most companies are valued based on their intellectual property (IP). The more you as CEO can do to enhance the IP value of your startup the better. In addition to obvious examples like patents, copyrights and trademarks, IP can consist of your company’s business processes. In a large company with a mature business model, that process IP might take the form of complex business process management or automation systems (BPM). But BPM systems are expensive, generally intended for fully developed processes, and simply out of our league.


There is one system I can recommend that fulfills the need for a simple, group to-do list and can also be used to build corporate IP. That system is Basecamp. Basecamp is a web based project management system with the added capability of designing project templates that can be reused and improved over and over. The ability to create a reusable list for organizational tasks can form the core of a startup’s process IP. These reusable lists allow you to build, retain and grow institutional intelligence over time. While many organizations use Basecamp for project management, if you are not using each project as a means of creating and refining project templates you are missing the most important feature of Basecamp and your institutional intelligence is leaking away. These templates allow lessons learned to be passed along from project to project and to new employees as you expand departments or suffer inevitable staff turnover. Basecamp, or some similar templated task management solution, should be one of the first systems implemented in your startup.

When I was done I had a new Basecamp account with two projects and 31 open tasks.

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