At a small place, one cool thing is that individual positions can be tailored to the innate talents of the staff. A downside is that jobs that are built around an individual are not readily handed off to others. People have different skills, this is a good thing. It does interfere with interchangability, though.
It was interesting wrapping up my job for delivery to someone else. As I left my previous job, I parcelled the work I had been doing into a few pieces.
- Items handed off to new PM: project management, resource coordination, planning for new projects, client communications
- Items handed off to others in organization: communications with vendors on invoicing, receptionist, business analyst/information architect.
- Items put on hold for “persons unknown” – to be hired in or subcontracted out as needed: copywriting, seo
I had coped with a small staff by taking on several responsibilities myself. This strategy got things done in the short term (faster to do it myself than explain it sometimes, I was able to fill in gaps that I recognized).
Over the long run, however, I think that playing several roles it helped us stay smaller longer, that I actually delayed the piece I needed (bigger team). I also think that I interfered with myself playing any single role as well as I would have liked, multitasking is a myth.
I have every confidence that my replacement will do great things there. She’s a professional project manager, and a stronger one than I am. I think that as my old employer grows, and it is growing fast at the moment, more specialization and delegation will have to occur. And I know she will put that in place.
I don’t know if that means that I am suited to a more “entrepreneurial” than a “mature” phase company. I’m a generalist, a bridge person between specialists. I’m also wondering whether my versatility helps or hinders. Probably both.