Recently one of our consultants had an awesome opportunity to work with a start-up organisation, and lived to tell the tale! Having had some time to reflect, he’s shared some insight around how to survive and add value in this increasingly common work environment –
- First of all, starting out the right way and ensuring that customer experience is embedded in everything that you do. Ensuring delivery to Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – which means balancing customer experience and getting go-forward for investors. Being mindful that once a customer has had a negative experience, it is very hard to get them back again.
- In a start-up there (hopefully) is constant and often rapid growth, this drives loads of change – with staff roles being heavily impacted. Facilitation of team members where their roles are changing is a big part of the job. Roles begin to change from a ‘sleeves rolled up’ mentality, to having more structure, hierarchy and governance. As these changes occur everyone is learning what their role really means. It helps to remember that people will go through periods where they feel lost, or are questioning themselves and how they fit within the company and what they are both giving and receiving from the company – so good facilitation is important!
- Understanding that everything is evolving and that is “normal” is paramount. This covers the concepts of what defines MVP, the customer base and personas – and also to remember that core company processes are also impacted by this evolution. Processes will be constantly changing. However, ensuring that there are many small, effective, repeatable processes and activities in place amidst the chaos will make a bit difference. Vitally, one of those processes needs to be to include the positive learning from the failures.
- Within Start-ups, everyone is taking on activities they wouldn’t otherwise do, and a BA is much the same. Non-BA activities will crop up, outside the traditional BA box, so attitude is key. Roll your sleeves up and pitch in, being precious has no place here. The ability to grasp big picture – dreams and visions helps and along with breaking down seemingly huge or impossible activities into small achievable chunks with visible value. Design Thinking can be very useful here.
- Follow SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) with every activity. Remind the team constantly. This helps achieve and balance the constant business drivers and requirements to achieve their proposition with the capability and necessary foundation and longer term thinking with IT.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Then communicate more. Be confident to raise, question, escalate and mitigate Risks before they become Issues. And finally, constantly questioning ‘Why?’. Why are we doing this? Do we need to? Is this SMART?
Working as a BA in a start-up is whirlwind, you’ll learn lots and have a hell of a time. What are your experiences?