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Building Startup Operations

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2022 has arrived and we are starting a new season, number 8 since our start in January 2020. It is always exciting to begin a new season and a new year at the same time. If I could leave you with one thought about this series - it is taozen. EPISODE 1: HOW MUST YOU THINK TO BUILD THE OPERATIONAL FUNCTIONS OF A STARTUP BUSINESS Today's show is using the concept of MVO to introduce what is really required to build a startup - constant experimentation to test assumptions, build quick and test ideas to get it right. Minimize the risk for the first offer by reducing the initial development investment while providing just the core features needed to make the sale. ​The challenge with the first offer is the number of critical assumptions that must be made and how those can be tested or minimized. Building the MVO is never a finished product or service, it is a process to build right enough the first time and improve from there. Identifying the bare minimum features and functionality to engage the target market that is upgraded with each successive upgrade.

Location:

United States

Description:

2022 has arrived and we are starting a new season, number 8 since our start in January 2020. It is always exciting to begin a new season and a new year at the same time. If I could leave you with one thought about this series - it is taozen. EPISODE 1: HOW MUST YOU THINK TO BUILD THE OPERATIONAL FUNCTIONS OF A STARTUP BUSINESS Today's show is using the concept of MVO to introduce what is really required to build a startup - constant experimentation to test assumptions, build quick and test ideas to get it right. Minimize the risk for the first offer by reducing the initial development investment while providing just the core features needed to make the sale. ​The challenge with the first offer is the number of critical assumptions that must be made and how those can be tested or minimized. Building the MVO is never a finished product or service, it is a process to build right enough the first time and improve from there. Identifying the bare minimum features and functionality to engage the target market that is upgraded with each successive upgrade.

Language:

English


Episodes

S8 E48 BUILDING YOUR FOREVER CORE - WHETHER A ZERO OR A BILLION IN REVENUE

8/4/2023
EPISODE 48: BUILDING YOUR FOREVER CORE - WHETHER A ZERO OR A BILLION IN REVENUE Now that you have enough quality information on the aspiration or problem, the next step is to build a prototype that is minimal in its offer (MVOffer) but complete enough for the customer to use. In many ways this step can be viewed as the opposite of R&D (Research and Development) - D&R - Development and Research. Most companies as they mature develop a R&D process for the developing improvements or something new. We are advocating this is the first process to develop and is the inverse - D&R - Development & Research. Topics: Your Core Process - Agilean Never Build On Spec, Find A Partner Managing The Mess Using Teams What If You Could Put Your Feet Up On The Desk During The Workday? ​"The World Of Business At Your Finger Tips"

Duration:00:12:59

S8 E47 CLOSING THE CHASM BETWEEN THE PLAN AND REALITY

8/4/2023
EPISODE 47: CLOSING THE CHASM BETWEEN THE PLAN AND REALITY This is consulting in its purest form - knowing the questions to ask. Our experience is answers are easier than questions and when engaging in this type of experimental design to prove the business idea there are 3 distinct stages in the process. Although initially only the first two matter. Once you have a winning offer, the last stage takes you from a tested prototype to a repeatable and a 'manufacturable' offer. The first chasm problem is reality - what are the market conditions that will determine the offer and its price point. Topics: Turning The Plan Into Reality Draw A Picture Of The Competitive Landscape How Do Customers Make Buying Decisions

Duration:00:12:59

S8 E46 A STARTUP IS NOT A BUSINESS, IT IS AN EXPERIMENT

8/4/2023
EPISODE 46: A STARTUP IS NOT A BUSINESS, IT IS AN EXPERIMENT Since all startups are really experiments and not businesses. Therefore your goal is the keep everything simple and easy to test: limited variables, simple processes, quick production & testing, easily improved. Understand what you are testing. This might seem over simplistic but it gets at the first problem - are you a solution looking for a problem (finding the right customer) or building the right offer for a specific customer (the customer is known)? Topics: ALL STOP - A Startup Is Not A Business, It Is An Experiment! What Must You Know Before Starting The Startup What To Build and When to Build It? (Right Customer or nature of the Offer) One More Thing Before You Start - How Are The Best of The Best Doing It

Duration:00:12:58

S8 E45 HOW MUST YOU THINK TO BUILD THE OPERATIONAL FUNCTIONS OF A STARTUP BUSINESS

8/4/2023
EPISODE 45: HOW MUST YOU THINK TO BUILD THE OPERATIONAL FUNCTIONS OF A STARTUP BUSINESS Let's start with risk. The simple act of creating a new business that is going to do something different than the competition. You are looking to create value at an acceptable price point that will make your offer standout while delivering a profit. When we look at that equation from an internal perspective our vision is based on a confidence in the model. However, when you look at it externally - how arrogant. Unless your idea and model is truly unique and untested, which by the way is at least slightly delusional, why do you believe in the greatness hasn't already been tested and discarded? So let's start with minimizing risk until you have sufficient real-time data to have real confidence in your idea and model; and that starts with the offer and processes. Minimize the risk for the first offer by reducing the initial development investment while providing just the core features needed to make the sale. ​The challenge with the first offer is the number of critical assumptions that must be made and how those can be tested or minimized. Building the MVO is never a finished product or service, it is a process to build right enough the first time and improve from there. Identifying the bare minimum features and functionality to engage the target market that is upgraded with each successive upgrade. Topics: What Is The Minimum You Must Build to Make the First Sale - MVOffer? Given the product or service, what is the MVOrganization?

Duration:00:13:00

SCRUMS & SPRINTS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 44: SCRUMS & SPRINTS This will give you an opportunity to develop the 'muscle' memory and SOP's for not only in the prototype stage but for the entire process. Remember this is going to be your methodology for the development of every new product and service from this point forward. Topics: The Define Sprint The Explore or Update Sprint The Validate Sprint The Iterate Sprint

Duration:00:12:54

ROAD MAP THE PROCESS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 43: ROAD MAP THE PROCESS Now you need to build a detailed road map of each step in the process. This is also a repeatable process and time to practice. Focus on the 3 Scrum Phases. ​ Topics: Exploration Scrum Testing Scrum Development Scrum

Duration:00:12:54

CHARTER THE TEAM with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 42: CHARTER THE TEAM The team charter for the project should reflect what will actually occur when moving to the beta stage (2.0). This is a repeatable process and you need the practice to make it error proof. Topics: Define what success looks like Assign roles Determine which problem and decision making tools you will use Gain agreement on how conflict will be resolved

Duration:00:12:54

MINIMIZE THE MVO with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 41: MINIMIZE THE MVO We will start by acknowledging you cannot build the entire offer in this 1.0 or Alpha version. Given your first Matrix - The Customer / Design Requirements - what can you build that is core to the offer and can be tested internally? Topics: Select the core customer requirements that represent the total offer you can test Select the design requirements that represent the total offer you must build

Duration:00:12:58

MANAGEMENT CONTROLS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 40: MANAGEMENT CONTROLS ​Given the Agilean process, it provides the manager/leader with 6 options for controlling the process and end result of the project. We will discuss how to use each effectively to raise the probabilities of a successful first offer. Topics: Control of Inputs: select only customers that fit your brand and skill sets, QFD (Requirements, Design, and Offer Characteristics Matrices). Control of Throughput: Project and Sprint processes Control of Output: Offer Characteristics Direct Supervision: SCRUM Master or Owner/Facilitator on Timeboxing and accountability. Cultural Boundaries: reduce variation by creating a set of behavioral boundaries. Standardization of Skills: technical competence, industry competence, teamwork competence.

Duration:00:12:53

THE 3 SCRUMS & 4 SPRINTS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 39: THE 3 SCRUMS & 4 SPRINTS A SCRUM: it is a project management process that relies on incremental improvements and is based on 1 to 4 week sprints. The Sprints are short-term, time boxed to accomplish a segment of work. The output of a Sprint provides the basis of the next Sprint; each is an incremental accomplishment to reach an end result. Topics: SCRUM 1: Exploration - goal is to go from problems (opportunities) to solutions. Define: create user story Explore: identify all of the root causes / drivers Validate: test root cause / drivers to select highest probability solutions Iterate: test each solution to isolate the 1 SCRUM 2: Testing - goal is to develop the right solution right. Explore: research market leaders, best in class providers for a building a first version; process or offer. Update - upgrade solution from SCRUM 1 and build first process or offer. Validate - use it internally (1.0 or alpha version) to determine if (1) produces expected results, (2) how user friendly is consumption. Iterate - based on 1.0 test, upgrade the process or offer SCRUM 3: Development - goal is generate new business Explore: prepare client test (2.0 or beta version), control the controllables Update: with install team, fix issues as it arises to meet results and use expectations. Validate: review the client results and compare against storyboard - adjust as necessary. Iterate: prepare the release offer (version 3.0)

Duration:00:12:53

PROJECT GOALS & OBJECTIVES with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPSIODE 38: PROJECT GOALS & OBJECTIVES We have used this analogy in previous shows but still applies - go slow early to go fast later. We have collaboratively created the purpose and ground rules for group functioning. Now is the time to shift the focus to the details of the project. Topics: Goals are the customer's, objectives are the team's - what is the big picture (goal) then break it into required activities (objectives). Requirements Matrix Design Matrix Offer Characteristics Matrix Avoid details until the latest possible moment - focus on estimating time and topics. Based on the topics break everything down into the smallest pieces possible - the Sprints. Create a Road Map of how the project will evolve over time - what question/problem/issue is each Sprint solving. Sprint Planning based on the Agile Cycle - include resource requirements.

Duration:00:12:53

SETTING UP THE PROJECT TEAM with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 37: SETTING UP THE PROJECT TEAM For the most part this is standard 101 for creating temporary project teams working on a specific issue. The goal is to perform a brain transplant of everything you know and the importance of the project. ​ Groups can become either a gaggle of individuals or synergy producing team and most of that lies on your shoulders. Here is a process we have used for years to increase the probability of having a high performing team. Topics: ​Vision for the New Offer Reason for the Team How this Team Supports the Business 3 Key Results the Team Must Accomplish Team Member Roles Rules for Problem Solving & Decision Making Rules for Dealing with Conflict Time Demands for Team Members Principles of Agile Projects and Sprints

Duration:00:12:50

THE AGILE PRODUCTION PLAN with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 36: THE AGILE PRODUCTION PLAN OK, this seems to have taken forever but understand one of the dynamics of building world-class products and services - you must go slow early to go fast later. In Show 4 we covered the key questions to start build the prototype. Let's take that a little deeper. Topics: What Is The Design? ​Build a model of the initial process How Are You Going to Test It? ​Do a walk through, imagine what happens at each step and record the initial brainstorm What Must You Learn to Build It Right? ​Based on the walk through and brainstorming - make 3 lists: based on facts, where are you certain (no assumptions); based on a few assumptions - where do you have reasonably certain; what don't you know This is list is where the Design Phase and the Development meet. Next Show: The Agilean Design, Development, and Production Processes

Duration:00:12:56

FINALIZING OFFER CHARACTERISTICS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 35: FINALIZING OFFER CHARACTERISTICS We are almost done with the design phase, at least for customer requirements. Once we have a final prioritized list, it is time for your team to go to work and build a prototype. Topics: Fourth Executive Meeting Share results from focus group and finalize the weighted design characteristics Request that members of the focus be available to help during production to ensure we are building what we promised

Duration:00:12:58

RUNNING FOCUS GROUPS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 34: RUNNING FOCUS GROUPS In the previous episode you have achieved much - found a partner for the offer, gained their insights into what they would buy if it was available at the right price point, and help in the production phase of the project. The Focus Group's role in the beginning is to validate the requirements for results and user-friendliness by talking to the people doing the work. ​We will come back this later as the prototype is being built. The Agilean Process requires the Focus Group to test the prototype as it is being built. Topics: Group members - marketing, sales, production, distribution, service Create a group charter for working together Have each person (1) discuss their role in the company, and (2) their role with the new offer Share the requirements list and have them prioritize the items in 2 lists: (1) results, (2) user-friendliness Solicit for requirements missing from the list, add, and re-rank Review the final list and gain agreement

Duration:00:12:57

HOLDING EXECUTIVE SESSIONS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 33: HOLDING EXECUTIVE SESSIONS There is allot here to unpack, so I am going to move quickly. The goal is to validate everything done to date and this is the end of the Research and the beginning of Design Phase. Topics: Selecting the right customer - A review Part of a fast growing industry and/or market Unsatisfied or neutral about the current offer purchased Willing to help design a solution for them? First Meeting Share the big picture - who you are, what you are trying to accomplish as a company - create a desire to be affiliated Focus on the offer - why this offer, what you have researched and learned to date - surprise and intrigue with your understanding Overview: Physical characteristics, What does the Offer Do, What additional Value does it provide Schedule Second Meeting - allow the customer to share and discuss internally and create a second meeting to capture their requirements ​Second Meeting ​Restate the objective for the meeting - what new offer are you building to solve which customer problem Work with the group to fine tune the offer's goal - what problem will it solve Inquire about the positives and negatives of the offer currently being purchased Create a list of customer needs; ensure you capture both what it must do (results) and what will make it user-friendly Request volunteers to help in the design and build process Schedule third meeting for gaining closure on the list Third Meeting Prior - clean the list and rework into your design process Share your list for agreement Solicit participants for Focus Groups

Duration:00:12:54

VALIDATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN P/S CHARACTERISTICS & DESIGN REQUIREMENTS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 32: VALIDATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN P/S CHARACTERISTICS & DESIGN REQUIREMENTS The last test is sharing the relationship between what the customer wants and how to build it. Here is an opportunity to build some street cred as a quality company, regardless whether you are building a product or service. Topics: Executive Meetings with 'decision makers' - multiple customers Focus Groups between 'buyers & users' and designers - 1 customer Next Show: Creating a list of testing variables part 2

Duration:00:12:55

VALIDATE DESIGN REQUIREMENTS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 31: VALIDATE DESIGN REQUIREMENTS The second test is the out layer and an internal activity. Before we start building it answers the key question - is it manufacturable for the targeted price point. Topics:​ Process Design Material Environment Compliance/Testing

Duration:00:12:57

VALIDATE PRODUCT (SERVICE) CHARACTERISTICS with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 30: VALIDATE PRODUCT (SERVICE) CHARACTERISTICS We are going to use the same approach for two of the three segments. You have two individuals/groups working - the boss and the design team. The owner's job is to interact with their peers to gain feedback on the 3 areas of concern - usability, performance, and connection with the offer. You can also venture into pricing by establishing what is the maximum you can charge. The design team works with prospective customers to validate all of the functionality and features you intend to build. Topics: Executive Meetings with 'decision makers' - multiple customers Focus Groups between 'buyers & users' and designers - 1 customer

Duration:00:12:56

COMPONENT TESTING & ALL UP with William Eastman

3/25/2022
EPISODE 29: COMPONENT TESTING & ALL UP This is an external testing methodology and starts with the mindset of 'All Up'. It is termed from the space program that a rocket with over million parts can only be tested during flight since it is not reusable. That puts maximum pressure on testing the component pieces along the way. If the components work, you are assuming the final assembly will work. The second issue is when testing the components, there is enough functionality that a solid conclusion can be drawn. Topics: Usability Performance (Results) Emotional Connection

Duration:00:12:55