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Five best ways to fill up an IT startup. Bad advice

“Stop working for your uncle! It's time to gather a team of the right people and make a million! ”

During my professional career, I have repeatedly heard this phrase. Almost every time he took part in the project, and sometimes he himself spoke these significant words.

Of course, I did not earn a million, but I gained a lot of experience - at least my current projects provide some kind of income.
In this article, I would like to share with the community five of the most difficult problems, because of which potentially quite working projects have burned. Some of the problems can be attributed not only to IT, but also to all other areas of activity.

Of course, there is still a lot of rake that a person’s foot hasn’t stepped on - but, perhaps, this session of black magic with the subsequent exposure will help someone specifically to avoid these.

The “hit parade” is based on the general foulness of the situation. In terms of the degree of prevalence, I will try to talk about those problems that are not too covered in the thematic books and articles, however, nevertheless, they happen at every step.

5th place
“We need a sysadmin. Programmer. Or a designer. Or how is it there? "

There is nothing more beautiful than a simple business project on the Internet with a small budget, developed by a team of comrades.

Is that a similar project developed by a team of comrades, for the most part not related to IT or are narrow specialists in areas not related to the project.

No, of course, the average programmer in the "yellow" program can perfectly impose a template for the site. No one doubts. In the end, anyone can make an unassuming design, customize Joomla, or write content - spending several hours reading manuals in the Joomla case.

Unfortunately, in real life it does not work.

A clear knowledge of a specific area is required. Or the ability to find and use this knowledge. For example, buggy SQL queries and errors on the pages will easily scare users away from the most wonderful online store, and bad design and a well-thought-out “under the audience” design will prevent social network traffic, whatever technical “features” the project has.

Worse, if a person who is more or less versed in the subject started working in a team of narrow specialists or non-IT specialists. Most likely, he will be assigned to do his own business.

However, in practice, most of the time will be spent on eliminating the consequences of the rotten initiative of his comrades and explaining why this cannot be done - for example, why a website that people should come from search engines cannot be done entirely on a flash.

Solutions (in decreasing order of effectiveness):

1) The team, versed in the subject = "Do not know - do not hold"
2) Hiring specialists from the outside with the formulation of a specific task (if the budget pulls)
3) Selection of staff dictatorial powers in relation to the project (often does not roll in the company of friends)

4th place
“Man, cool idea! I am in business, I understand the task, we will write off, let's call you! ”

The Council does not do business with friends for the same age as the world.

However, when it comes to small startups, teams often form from old friends - equity and the ability to not think about the salary of employees until profit is very attractive, especially with a small budget.

As a rule, participants of such projects are not dismissed from their main place of work, but work on a startup, coordinating their activities on the Internet.

And then there is a big ambush. A person can be not just a wonderful drinking companion, but also an excellent, diligent worker or a shrewd boss. The quality of his work can be envied by many. He is a godsend for your project. If it were not for one small "but ..."

An excellent employee in the office, when employees and bosses loom behind him, can be terribly lazy at homework. Worse, since you are comrades with him, there is no clear chain of command in your relationship, you are not a stimulating authority, and the person begins to delay the deadlines and as a result fails his front line of work.

The result is a strained relationship with an old comrade and an unfulfilled area of ​​work.

1) In general, abandon the "friendly" format of a startup.
2) If there is no other option - fill cones and remember who is who.

It can be added that this trouble is closely related to the general problem of all business activities organized by people who are in friendly relations on the basis of equity - the lack of a clear command chain, resulting in a sacramental swan, cancer and pike.

3rd place
“Who knows PHP? No one? Okay, bullshit, read the manuals, blind something "

There is a task. And there is no expert on it or at least in related areas or there is no money in the budget for hiring. Ordinary situation.

"Is this a reason to retreat?" We are cool, wise and learnable! We study and do! ”

With such or about such reasoning, a huge number of epic scale breaks began. Of course, if we are not talking about the essence of the project, but about a side issue, there is time and a person who somehow knows the adjacent area, this approach is justified.

Nevertheless, an attempt to build a project on such a foundation is doomed to failure.


Firstly, such an approach will significantly reduce the employee's labor productivity during the training period. This is uncritical for a large team, but for a company of 3-4 people it is almost deadly.

Secondly, all the factors that were mentioned in connection with the problem of a non-professional team are working - only on a much larger scale, since in this case it is meant to learn some specific, not general skills. Consequently, the probability of error is greater.

Thirdly, in the case of learning on the go, the speed of project implementation will be low - and startups born “on enthusiasm” usually do not like sluggishness — the team’s fighting spirit tends to subside with time.

However, if we are talking about, I will repeat, about any small detail that is not critical for the main project, this approach can be justified - if that employee is going to learn from whom no big activity is required at this stage.

The way to resolve this situation is one - do not fall into it.

2nd place
"Analyze It"

Suppose you have a team, an idea, thought out ways to implement it. One thing is missing - investment, but you are lucky, and the uncle-investor is ready to give you money. It remains only a small formality - to give him a business plan and forecast for the next year.

Nothing foreshadows trouble. It seems to be.

However, at this stage, you can screw up dramatically.

In startups in which I participated, the procedure for calculating profits usually looked like this. Three forecasts were made. The worst situation, the estimated and maximum program.

Most likely, most do the same - although I'm not so sure.

So, there are three predictions. It is enough to transfer them to the investor. That's just really there is one unobvious moment. Most investors reasonably believed that the figures in the forecast would be overestimated - and therefore they lowered them accordingly when they independently calculated the payback and profit based on the provided forecast.

Therefore, an honest option with them did not roll - believing that the worst situation is a calculated option, investors refused to deal with the team.

The solution is simple and unattractive - it’s enough to forecast the maximum program as a settlement option, and the settlement one, respectively, the worst, promising at best the golden mountains - and the investor, in turn, having estimated the real worst and settlement options, will receive real figures and agree to participate in the project .

Honorable first place
“Forward, comrades! To Winter! ”

A charismatic leader, an enthusiastic team - this is great. At first sight. On the second and third such leader may be the very factor that will kill the project that is already working and making a profit.

Conflicting - but true. And the salt is:

The very essence of a charismatic leader is that he, with his desire to go forward, suppresses the desires of others, replaces them with his dream. If you want, the leader’s influence in this case is irrational, it acts on emotions, and not on the heads of his subordinates.

What drives a leader is his desire. From it he draws his strength.

Such a leader will easily pick up a team, manage to get employees to work and solve current problems. But…

Recall the story. The great empires collapsed after the death of the leader. The company is not an empire, but death is not needed here - a small scale event is enough. It is worthwhile for the leader to take a break for a second: to get sick, go on vacation, go to hard drinking, fall in love - and the work of the team flies to hell. Since this leader wants for all employees at once, in his absence, the motivation of employees drops sharply. People start asking themselves the question, what the hell are they doing here? It affects labor productivity not too well. Moreover, that finding a common language among themselves employees without the cementing influence of the leader will be much less successful.

But even in the absence of such absences, a project led by a charismatic leader has good chances to come to an end very quickly.

Recall. The driving force of a leader is desire. If such a person were capable of wanting much, he would most likely go to a lofty goal with his skills, and not start a small startup from scratch. It is most likely that such a person sets tasks in a short-term perspective. As soon as his goal is fulfilled - the site will work or the profit mark will reach the required value, the leader will cease to “burn”. And having lost the "fire", the head will also lose his leadership qualities that have led the team before that.

The solutions are simple - either not to participate in projects led by such people, or to “spread straws” in advance in case the leader “burns out” - to establish a clear system of working relationships, to take care of the team’s psychological compatibility and to have a banal and boring, but able leadership.

How long ago they understood in the army that a political commander or a chaplain pushing ardent speeches is good, but it is better to command someone else.


On this otklanivayus. I hope the article will cause a certain interest and will not be a waste of time for reading.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103885/

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