This is what I have written and shared internally with other co-founders, when we were starting with qilo. Learning came from previous start-ups I was part off. Thought of sharing this with larger audience
1) Biggest learning is either start developing a product with long term vision to create and build a sustainable business out of it, OR do not start it.
2) Hiring a technical delivery team or technical partners for product development doesn’t work. It’s required to have in-house core team which is aligned to long term vision from day one.
3) Focus on sales motivates technical team that what is created has now paying customers. At a same time, good product motivates Sales guys that product is good. But Sales driven approach is far better than product focused approach. With this I mean, let’s start selling from day one or at least when design print of product is ready. Why to wait for the product to get finished and then start discovering actual customers?
4) To reduce conflicts, precise roles need to be defined. This doesn’t mean that people are NOT going to wear multiple hats initially.
In all these years , I have been part of many projects and deliveries. Most of them succeeded, few of them failed. But in most cases,it’s been rare that execution has finished on time or even in time. Off course, in addition to poor planning, changing business condition was also part of the problem. But let me put in bullets what are the exact reasons when projects got delayed or failed overall.
- Multiple managers for the team :-You always want to utilize most of their resources . But somewhere during this utilization, you stop thinking about how to organization teams for faster and better execution. Putting two managers means no one is responsible. Each of them will wait for other to perform.
- Not selecting team members carefully :- How many times managers evaluate people skills carefully before inducing them into team. Or worst, how many times manager provide adequate training to people before the execution starts.
- Team manager giving more importance to specific team member(s):- Manager might be primarily doing it because he/she want to play safe. But then not giving enough opportunity to everyone will demotivate other team member and will impact the team dynamics.
- Not focusing on building trust but execution from day one:- Execution will happen if you take care of softer part of team building. Building trust within team member will enable them to execution in a more collaborative way.They will discuss their problems with each other more freely by putting aside their insecurities.
- Not taking complex problem upfront :- Focusing on the easy part of problems leads to delay at the end when complex problem start getting more complex.
- Doing more meeting with team members with no specific agenda:- Managers love to stand in front of whiteboard and talk about things which are not specific and actionable. Stop doing that and stop getting status updates in meeting. You can use 10,000 tools out there for that. Decide agenda and stick to time limit of meeting.
- Team fails to execute because of manager:- I firmly believe in this. Projects or deliveries fail if you are not on top of your execution. It will fail if you are INTO the execution , but not ONTO the execution. It will fail if you keep working with people who are not performing even after giving number of chances. It will fail if you as leader don’t appreciate team members efforts or put yourself first as compare to your team.
Best of luck for your next execution!!!