Whom you should hire?

This can be your ++ criteria when you interview a prospective team member.

Automation can be setting up a software who does recursive jobs or training another team member.Ā 

Start Small – WordPress & MVP

"Release your idea into the market. See how it is being adapted. Then take theĀ decision to invest time and energy inĀ building a complete system around your idea."

This is the suggestion I usually give to my clients, particularly to the boot-strapped start-ups. Starting small, only with the core features, and releasing to the audience as v1 is what is usually termed as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

Once an MVP is validated, clients can then focus on rebuilding the platform from scratch for the holistic vision of the idea keeping in mind for scalability,Ā  reliability and security.Ā 

WordPress fits best for MVP needs. Apart from the out-of-the-box features such as the various content types, WordPress is supported by robust e-commerce features with payment integrations, readily available themes, newsletter integrations,Ā  analytics tools to measure traffic and conversion rates, and smart forms solutions.

MVP also makes senses for a project with a huge scope. Slicing the project's scope into smaller chunks with iterative releases. The first release focus in this case always is to have core features out for the users.Ā Ā 

When MVPĀ  doesn't work -ļ»æ
Read – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/11/when-minimal-viable-product-doesnt-work.html

Demo is Worth a Thousand Updates

A regular ongoing project has multiple tasks/modules being executed on day-to-day basis. Client’s lifeĀ becomes really easy whenĀ they get regular updates about what’s going on. Predictability (more on that soon) of updates ensureĀ there is no anxious moment for them.

But at the same time, there should also beĀ a room for demos too. All the updates areĀ fine till client get curious what’s actually isĀ being built.

Let your clients know when they could expect demos of the ongoing work.Ā Weekly, bi-weekly or maybe have aĀ QA site whereĀ latest codes are pushed at end of the day. Let your client see what’s being worked upon.

IĀ usually roadmap a project with demos in mind. For example, what is the smallest feature set that my project teams can show in two weeks, then in 4 weeks and so on.Ā The initial demos can be just the bare-bone of the requirement, something really raw.

For agile projects, demo anyways is scheduled at the end of each sprint and here having a QA site works best.

Don’t Hire for Skills..

You read it right, don’t hire for skills. But hire forĀ attitude, attitude to succeed.Ā People with achiever attitude will find their own way.

The excerpt below isĀ my go-to mantra while hiring new members to my team:

Great companies donā€™t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and youā€™ll be stuck with whoeverā€™s left.

To be or Not to Be?

A very important question that every company should ask itself before delving into something.

How do you answer ‘Should We Do This’?

Create a 8 slides presentation in 45 minutes about this new venture. Assume that this presentationĀ will be for a potential investor.Ā I am very sure that by the time you will reach slide #4, you will get to know your answer.

Why 45 minutes? Because if you can’t gather your thoughts in 45 minutes, you willĀ not be able to do it even in 45Ā hours.

When Is the right time to release your product?

Today

The biggest question I faced while working with a product I amĀ leading. There was always a doubt, whether customers will like this product or not? Should I get more testing done? Should I revisit any business logics? When should I target to release? The answer I finally got was very simple – Right Now.

I recall lines from thisĀ article by Matt

Ā if youā€™re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.

Just ship your product and let customer give you feedbacks. I am getting some amazing feedbacks from the product I released a week ago. SomeĀ of the feedbacks areĀ shaping up the product in amazing ways, plus the great inputs thatĀ are helping my team to update the documentations and manuals.

If your product is one of a kind and you think its unique, just roll out the 1.0 at the soonest and get your Being First advantage.

Image Credits:Ā http://www.marcpina.com/

Management Lessons learned from Liverpool’s Performance

Season 2014-15 started with a mixed bag of expectations for Brendan Rodgers’ men. Some were hopeful to see more of the style of play that took Liverpool close to BPL silverware last season. But many didn’t count them in for new season’s title challenge as BR’s ‘Death by Football’ style was expected to take a hit after Luis Suarez left to join the Catalans.

First three games of the season started with some promise but cracks started to appear after Tottenham away win. Daniel Sturridge got a knock in this match and that made him available for next few months.Ā  This meant Reds lost both the strikers, who collectively scored around half of the 101 goals last season.

The low

After seeing the low of loosing 3-1 to Crystal Palace by throwing away one goal lead, LFC has come a long way. The signings are gelling well, clean sheets are getting frequent and the ‘marquee signing ‘ Balotelli is showing his commitment to Anfield.

Takeaways

As I see, the first half of the season presented some very important managerial lessons, particularly for senior management while working with second line of command.

1. Do not build team around a star

Instead build a team of performers with high predictability.

LFC’s last season was all about Suarez. His commitment and skills single-handedly tore down the opponents. BR gauged this before the season started and switched to 4-4-2 diamond formation, which suited Suarez’ playing style. Rest of the squad was trained to get maximum out of the diamond. This strategy gave BR great results, but as I thought, only till Suarez stayed.

Life after Suarez is classic example of the downside of building team around a star. None of the formations; 4-4-2 diamond,4-4-3 , 4-3-2-1; gave any results as team lacked the deft finish touches of the genius.

As an entrepreneur, if you have a business plan built around a star developer/analyst/designer than you should have a backup who can fill-in those shoes when needed.

2. Take chances

Seeing an exit from Champion’s league without registering a single win, fans wanted the obvious from the club owners FSG – sack Brendan Rodgers. But FSG chose to stick with Brendan keeping faith in his abilities. The trade paid off and LFC are now the only team that remains unbeaten in 2015.

3. Let managers PICK their teams and strategies

FSG gave BR a free hand to choose new players. Most of the those signings didn’t go well with the Football pundits. Seven months gone and what we see nowĀ  is a team that is working as a unit, giving outstanding results. You know that when the genius Jose Mourinho admits that Chelsea had a tough game in his post match interviews.

4. Choose managers who take accountability

Through out the rough patch, BR looked like a person who took responsibility of the bad results. These are the types of people who takes that extra mile to get good results from their teams. They never pass the buck.

5. Choose Motivators

Choose people who can motivate their teams even when things doesn’t goes fine. Even an highly skilled army can loose a battle if their commander lacks motivational skills.

BR did criticize his player when they didn’t perform well but he stood for them, even after loosing. After every loss, I saw a manager who was more determined to get things right and make his squad work harder in trainings.

Just like LFC, your teams might not be performing as expected but the only way to change that around is to take steps to change that around. Identify the people who can do that for you.

Image Credits: This is Anfield