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Startup Engineering for Non-Technical Founders

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Startup Engineering for Non-Technical Founders

  1. 1. STARTUP ENGINEERING GROWTH HACKING ASIA
  2. 2. 2 STARTUP ENGINEERING Outsourcing vs Building a Team Not always a case of black and white, what are the pros and cons and more importantly, how do you know when to pick one over the other. Choosing your Technology Stack What programming language and framework do you build your product on, and where do you deploy it to. Managing your Product How to make use of readily available tools to make things easier for your team. PUTTING SOMETHING ON THE MARKET
  3. 3. 3 ON HIRING AND OUTSOURCING STARTUPS HAVE SUCCEEDED (AND FAILED) WITH BOTH HIRING AND OUTSOURCING Hire your team once you’ve achieved product market fit and raised enough capital to build the team right. HIRE WHEN READY FIND OUT WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU Pay for quality, or pay anyway. Find outsourcing partners that can provide additional value, not just an extra pair of hands. PAY FOR QUALITY Early stage startups face great difficulties building a team. It’s easier to outsource it, unless a co- founder can built it. OUTSOURCE EARLY
  4. 4. 4 OUTSOURCING VS HIRING “It’s expensive to work with cheap people” http://www.codelitt.com/blog/how-to-handle-client-comparing-hourly-to-cheap-overseas-development/
  5. 5. 5 EARLY STAGE STARTUPS You Have No Bargaining Power Good hires have tonnes of opportunities. You will be forced to settle. Gets expensive if you are offering equity. Experience Managing a Product Team Assuming you cobble together a team, made up of freelancers and friends, your challenge now is to make all this somehow work. It’s Not Your Main Focus Founders have many responsibilities; hiring a team and managing it to build a product can take away a lot from customer development, fundraising, etc. AND HUMAN RESOURCES
  6. 6. 6 BUILDING A TEAM You Have Traction, People Want to Join Cool product bro! You have product market fit, hire away! No major pivots at this point. You’ve Hired Your CTO, Right? Your first developer needs to be top dog, otherwise other good developers will not join. You’re Ready to Go All In Building a tech team is a long term commitment. Retention can be a problem if developers are not sufficiently engaged. Do you have a good runway, and an exciting roadmap?
  7. 7. 7 OUTSOURCE! Choosing Between Cheap & Expensive Don’t take prices at face value. Cheap software development comes at a very high cost! Fixed bid vs Time & Materials Fixed bid doesn’t always mean lower risk, chances are, it increases it. Dedicated vs Shared Team Are the developers you work with burdened with several projects at a time?
  8. 8. 8 HIRING YOUR CTO Technically competent and a leader It’s important to hire a CTO that can lead and coach the team. Great developers don’t want to work in a team where they are not able to grow. No technical knowledge, get help How do you ensure the quality of CTO, when you don’t come from a technical background? Find a friend, or hire someone who has been there, done that. Is he or she future proof? CTOs need to be able to wear multiple hats. At an early stage, they are expected to build product, and to scale out the engineering team at a later stage. Vest their equity accordingly.
  9. 9. 9 TECH STACKS CHOICE OF TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T MATTER There’s no shame in building things the ‘wrong way’ first. Use this to your advantage by keeping complexity low. LESS IS MORE UNTIL IT DOES If you want to hire good developers later on, you need to understand what it takes to build software. INVEST IN THE RIGHT CULTURE Early stage startups: it’s alright if your app is not scalable now. Scale up when you have funds and traction. OPTIMISE FOR AGILITY
  10. 10. ARCHITECTURESYSTEM Image retrieved from https://github.com/system-engineering-hdm/ScalaDeploymentApp/wiki/Amazon-Web-Services
  11. 11. 11 http://stackshare.io/stacks
  12. 12. 12 A PRIMER What is a backend of a web or mobile app? Backend includes server (where your app is hosted) and database (where your data is stored) technologies. It is a web application that can serves your web front- end, or talks to your mobile app. What is the front-end of a web app? You may have heard of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. These are bits of code that are read by the web browser, much like how MS Word opens .docx files. What about mobile apps? Mobile app developers typically do a mix of backend and front-end work. Front-end work on mobile is different from that of the web. TO WEB AND MOBILE APPS
  13. 13. 13 BACKEND API MOBILE APPS WEB BROWSERS DB
  14. 14. 14 EARLY STAGE STARTUPS Optimise For Agility, Not Scalability You are looking for product- market fit, so you need to be able to test your validations as fast as possible. Don’t optimize prematurely. Shaving Pennies Don’t Always Add Up Save money where it counts, but don’t choose the $10 hosting plan over the $30 when it is going to cost you developer time. Be Prepared To Throw Away Code Sunk cost is sunk cost. Code is really good at holding businesses back, figure out your next steps and throw bad code away. AND TECHNOLOGY STACKS
  15. 15. 15 GETTING IT RIGHT Invest in Code Quality & Automated Testing Your technology is a first class business concern, and you should treat it that way. If you do not invest your team into building your product the right way, you will lose talent. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel Stand on the back of giants, by using well-built open source libraries. Sometimes, it makes sense to write your own, but be wary of the total cost of ownership (TCO). Avoid Major Code Rewrites Rewrites are more costly than planned for, and can kill a startup. Typically worthwhile as a strategic play for larger companies, and even then rarely. If you rewrite, treat it as a new product.
  16. 16. 16 ON PRODUCT MANAGEMENT BUILDING THE RIGHT FEATURES Saying that everything is important is a failure to prioritize, and will eventually lead to project failure. PRIORITIZE AT THE RIGHT TIME Improve the process for building and testing features organically, one step at a time. OPTIMIZE Product management is not so much a process for building, as it is for learning. LEARN
  17. 17. 17 EARLY STAGE STARTUPS Validate Ideas with Non-Product MVPs Identify key assumptions and validate them with experiments that cost next to nothing. Don’t start with building a product right off! Come up with Visual Specifications Start with user stories, simple sentences that describe the value of features you are building. Use sketches and storyboards to flesh out detail. Once Again, Less Features is More Building the entire product outright is risky use of time if we don’t if people will use the features. Find out what went right or wrong. AND PRODUCT MANAGEMENT https://medium.com/@mdubakov/visual-specifications-1d57822a485f
  18. 18. 18 BACKLOG IN-PROGRESS DONE Source: Running Lean, Ash Maurya
  19. 19. 19 BACKLOG IN-PROGRESS DONE Source: Running Lean, Ash Maurya
  20. 20. 20 BACKLOG IN-PROGRESS DONE VALIDATED LEARNING IN-PROGRESS VALIDATE QUALITATIVELY VERIFY QUANTITATIVELY DESIGN CODE PARTIAL ROLLOUT FULL ROLLOUT BACKLOG BUGSFEATURES Source: Running Lean, Ash Maurya
  21. 21. 21 TOOLS
  22. 22. 22 TINKERBOX STACK CODE QUALITY CONTINUOUS DEPLOYMENT On average, our projects score 87.17% test coverage, based on 27 of our recent projects, giving us confidence in our codebases. TEST COVERAGE 1 2 3 We employ static code analysis on our codebases, using CodeClimate. On average, we scope a GPA of 3.59 (max 4.0), of 34 projects. Using Heroku, or equivalent set up, we configure automated pipelines for deploys to our staging & production environments. STAGING PRODUCTION CLOUDFLARE (CDN) APPSIGNAL GITHUB CIRCLE CI CODECLIMATE AUTOMATED DEPLOYMENTS TYPICAL DEPLOYMENT SETUP SLACK
  23. 23. 23 WWW.TINKERBOX.COM.SG BUILD WEB AND MOBILE APPS THE RIGHT WAY JARYL SIM Jaryl has been programming for about 15 years, starting off with C/C++. He has been writing ruby & rails since 2007. JARYL@TINKERBOX.COM.SG EMAIL HTTPS://GITHUB.COM/JARYL GITHUB HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/JARYL TWITTER

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