The Entrepreneur's Bible: Business at its Best

Startup Challenges: Be Nice To Your Engineers

By Matt Sprague (@sprague13) – Graduate of Wasabi Ventures Academy: Startup Foundations & Marketing Coordinator at portfolio company, TestSoup.

As a thriving startup out of Manchester, NH, TestSoup has owned it’s share of ups and downs.  The idea of getting it correct the first time is not realistic but the focus has always been to learn from mistakes and strive to be better each day.  This post is one in a series of our perception of the start up world.  Agree with it or disagree with it.  Either way is OK because we already disclosed that we are not always correct.   All we ask is that you join the discussion.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Be Nice To Your Engineers

We, at TestSoup, have a great report with our engineering team.   They are an integral part of what we do and we do our best to make sure they feel part of what is going on.   We are nice to our engineers!!  Maybe it is because we are scared of them.  After all, wouldn’t you be if your engineer looked like a Bond Villain.

Unless you are an Entrepreneur that is also an Engineer then you will need to take this post to heart.   The majority of Startup Founders have some degree of coding knowledge but not enough to stand alone.  They need an engineer to make their idea come to life.   Without a quality person working their magic on the back end, you will be destined for failure.  So be nice to your engineers!  Even with minor knowledge of website design, most people don’t get what it takes to accomplish certain tasks.  Sometimes the actual engineers don’t quite get how long something will take.   What seems simple, probably is not.

So, when dealing with your team, be sure to consider the following:

  • Have a clear idea of what you want done before sending it out to get made.   If you keep changing during the process, it will increase the time to completion and time is money.
  • Prioritize the projects.   If there is a major project that you are working don’t add trivial tickets that would delay the completion of what is most important.
  • Have an open dialogue with your engineers about time expectancies on tasks.   You will start to get a feel for how well they can guestimate.  Sometimes 1 week might actually equal 2 weeks.

In the end, if you don’t actually have a product to sell, you are in a boat without a paddle.   Be nice to those that you depend on and all will work out fine.



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