Agile Startups – 5 Must-Have Characteristics for a Startup

This week on February 16th, AgileScout will be at Startup Riot 2011. We’ll be covering the LIVE event in full with potential live blogging and checking out the newest stuff coming out. These events rock.

We love startups.

Especially technology startups. As a startup ourselves, Agile Scout works and runs like a lean-startup.
A question was posed to the Agile Scout as to what we look for in an individual who wants to be part of a startup. Here’s our answer:

Top 5 Characteristics of a Startup Person

  1. Enthusiasm – Does the team and leadership of the team LOVE what they do. Are they saturated in it and absolutely ooze their product or company. Take Apple fan-boys for example. They love Apple. You just KNOW it when you see it.
  2. Expertise – Does the team and leadership know their domain-space. Meaning, do they know their market? Are these guys thought leaders? Are they active in their community (i.e. Software development community). Are they using social media? Are they the best ruby developers working together? Even to the point if some of them are avid bloggers or writers. These guys have to continue to love their craft. Grow themselves personally for the company.
  3. Know their Mission – Does the team and leadership share the same values and mission for the company? Could you pull any of the guys off the team and ask them what the mission and vision for their product is. You should get 100% of the same answers from any of the team members. Then you know they’re working together and understand the core of their business.
  4. Know the Plan – What is the 3-6-9-12 month plan? What iterative development plans do they have to build the next great features for the product? How are they taking community feedback and incorporating it into their next build? What are lessons learned that they have taken to heart and have learned from? Plans change, we understand that. But there has to be some plans in place.
  5. Who are they listening to? – This is the absolutely most crucial part. Working in a vacuum doesn’t help a company. Who is on their board? If they don’t have one, what thought leaders are they going to for advice? Who are they listening to? Who advises them on their product? Who are they leveraging to help them build the best product they can? This is crucial. A wise man once said that plans fail from lack of counsel. This is absolutely true with web development and web product development.
**Notice we didn’t talk about having a stand-out product or something that is niche. Tons of cool products come out all the time. Some have already been done. A solid team can make something that’s been done before look even better. With correct strategies in place you can make the next facebook, next twitter. Why? Because your team know’s it’s core business and can build something great from it. It’s just a matter of time before some code-savvy entrepreneurs come along and make the next Facebook.

So, are you ready to be part of a startup? Looking to get involved in one? Drop a comment or let us know, let’s have a conversation!

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