Three years ago, when I first started at Angry Ventures, project management was a big challenge for me. Even though in my mind I used to know the next logical step for a project, it was difficult to learn how to balance each person’s best interest and background.
After a few projects, there is still a lot that I can improve. However, instead of seeing project management as a job, I decided to start seeing it as a skill that I would like to develop. One that required me to design processes, manage people’s expectations, and prioritise tasks.
The good thing of embracing that mindset was that, after a while, I figured that I quite like managing projects! In my work routine, I found myself reading about dynamics I could implement, and ways for involving people to create the best outcomes 1) for ourselves and 2) for the project.
But it wasn’t just my projects that changed. As an outcome-oriented person, I started understanding that processes can sometimes be more interesting than the result. Unlike outcomes, processes are insightful and can lead you anywhere depending on how you conduct them. And here’s where the creativity comes in, and the interesting part begins.
How did we come up with the Lasagna Framework?
The Lasagna Framework represents the way we see and manage things at Angry Ventures.
In our opinion, there is not a single thing that can’t be decomposed into simpler steps and processes. Imagine a Lasagna: the best way to find how it was done, is to identify its ingredients and the processes used to cook them. The same thing goes for any project, whose outcome is nothing more than the sum of a large number of simple steps.
Once we figure all the steps and processes, all we need to do is to turn them into tasks. When you create a task, you shouldn’t feel the need to have answers right away.
Going back to the Lasagna example: imagine you realise you need tomato sauce, but do not’ know how to make it. Then the task will be oriented to do something that will give you that answer. The way you do it is up to you: you can either just browse for a recipe on Google or do interviews with Michelin Star chefs.
Once you have all the tasks, it is time to organise them in a logical way and according to your timeline. It helps me thinking of it as if the project had stages or layers: if I want to use the tomato sauce on the second stage, then I’ll have to discover the recipe on the first stage and have time to cook it.
Ultimately, each project can be seen as one big Lasagna, that comes up together once you combine the different tasks. As in the recipe, there are strict processes that you need to follow to get to the expected outcome, but you can always rely on your experience to change the recipe and make it your own.
Fun fact: the framework was baptised when we looked to a whiteboard with tasks and layers, and somehow someone saw a Lasagna. Carlota had been eating the dish for a whole week, so that’s maybe where the inspiration comes.