As a startup founder, delays in your software development projects can be a major headache. Let's explore how your involvement can help the tech team move faster and more accurately.
Remember, technology and business should work hand in hand for your startup to thrive. As a founder, you are a critical component of your tech team and have the power to steer its direction.
Let's delve into how you, as a founder, can identify and rectify the causes of software development delays.
Clarifying Expected Outcome
One of the biggest mistakes founders make is telling the team what to do instead of communicating what they want to achieve.
You might think that sharing too much context overwhelms the team, but it's actually the opposite. It unlocks their potential.
The team needs to be able to assess their work based on the goal. Each implementation is the consequence of multiple decisions. If those decisions are based only on the output requirements, they can lead to overengineering or inaccuracy. You'll either end up deciding on every detail or they'll build something that works but doesn't solve the problem.
- Developers are unclear about the purpose of a feature.
- The need for a feature is communicated without providing context or rationale.
- Decisions cannot be made without your input, which leads to delays.
When communicating with your development team, focus on the outcomes on the business or product level, rather than just listing the features you need. By doing so, you can leverage the expertise of your team and ensure that they fully understand what they are supposed to deliver.
By setting clear goals, your team will be able to make decisions on the design and development level that will lead to the most optimal way of achieving the desired outcomes.
Consider adopting a hypothesis-based communication strategy. For example, say "If we build Z, we can expect Product Metric Y to increase by about 10%, contributing to our Business Goal X".
Implementing Timely Feedback Loops
Isolating a team for extended periods to develop a product is a recipe for failure. As a founder, your role is to ensure consistent feedback to keep the team on track. Depending on the startup stage, the team might be able to acquire feedback from users on their own, but very often that's not the case. In the early stages, it's the founder who provides domain knowledge to validate if what the team is building addresses the need.
- Weekly discussions with the team about deliverables are absent.
- You seem to be disconnected from the process.
- The team lacks the support of a domain expert.
A lack of feedback can cause the team to stray from the right path, leading to unnecessary rework and delays. As a founder, provide the tech team with regular feedback or enable their direct access to users. Ensure they validate their work weekly at different levels – concept, design, and solution. If there's a gap in validation, fill it with your domain knowledge.
Boosting Team Performance
Merely hiring a group of specialists does not guarantee a high-performing team. It is essential that the team understands the business constraints, such as the length of the runway and investor expectations. Most importantly, they must understand how their performance affects your plans.
- The team fails to recognize the urgency of their actions.
- Discussions about team performance are absent.
- You are uninformed about the team's challenges.
Initiate feedback sessions and performance metrics to monitor the team's progress. Participate in retrospective sessions to identify and discuss any issues. Some of the issues might be strictly related to how your organization is running or simply due to missing information, resources, or unclear expectations.
Provide feedback on what is happening on your side. Share what constraints you are dealing with, how your needs are changing, and what will happen if you do not deliver. This will help the team understand the situation you are dealing with together.
A well-organized team can identify its weak points, but your role is to provide clear feedback on how you feel about their performance.
Topics to discuss with the team:
- Are we meeting expectations?
- If not, why?
- What can we improve?
- Are we delivering on time and maintaining quality?
Consider having someone within the team who can lead and communicate honestly with you. Leadership may play a crucial role in sharing the context from both sides, and together, you might be able to effectively eliminate things that slow down the team's performance.
In summary, as a startup founder, you have a crucial role in addressing software development delays. By taking proactive actions, enhancing communication, providing regular feedback, and motivating your team, you can steer your project towards timely and successful completion.
At Appunite.com, we stand with founders like you, ready to provide expert guidance to help you transform your vision into a digital reality. Let's join hands to overcome software development delays and keep your startup on the fast track to success.