Start-Up Operations…What Works

While I was sitting back and enjoying a cup of coffee , I thought to reflect back on some of the exciting things that I have done in my previous roles…objective was to try and come up with common elements running across these experiences that enabled me to deliver successfully.


Generally I have worked for start-up operations under flexible governance structure. Somewhere in between tried hands on two failed start-up concepts…one was a rock solid product but lacked marketing whilst other was a services idea , which lacked commitment of time from partners ( including me ) , anyway some of the other successful things which I did were in domain of start-up operations where I made strategy win with execution…

Broad themes of my start-up operations experience were / are linked to ( many more to come 🙂 ) :

  • Working on product architecture to take windows based software to web
  • Setting up IT services for a leading online company’s customer care software
  • Taking back control of new product development unit
  • Reviving a dead product roadmap and executing development strategy
  • Moving into new markets

My idea is not to get into specifics what I did in these but bring out what worked:

  • Be quick to list your customers ( internal / external ). Creating a business flow and pegging customers are various points , will allow you to identify your goals.
  • Create team structures relevant to that goal. Hiring and structuring a team is very important aspect of making a start-up operations successful.
  • Hire smart and few people to start with. Early in game you don’t know how things will pan out. Go for candidates that can adapt to change and multitask. Keep the team lean so that agility is not lost , even if the unit has to stretch in early days.
  • Goals will keep changing , but solve for it by reducing their time horizon. Start with weekly , moving to monthly , quarterly as things pan out. Keep it very closely knit with business goals and then pan it out as a balance between personal / business goals for individuals.
  • Focus is very important. At all times maintain focus at your level as well at team’s level. There will be distractions but , focus will allow one to beat the distractions and keep marching in forward direction.
  • Continuously Build – Measure – Learn , to allow for quick changes in system , people and process.

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