July 1st, 2019
Essential Startup Roles & which ones Should You Outsource?
Startups rarely succeed because of their revolutionary ideas.
There are a few critical roles that need to be performed to develop the next-generation product that will meet customer’s expectations. You should pay attention to the fact that I have mentioned the word “roles” and not “individuals”.
In the beginning, one person can wear multiple hats but as the startup continues to flourish, there can be specialists doing each role.
Roles That Matter, Come What May
The dreamer is a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and a clear product vision. In order to translate their vision into reality, dreamers need to be strong leaders who can inspire, excite and lead from a sky-high view.
The doer needs to validate the product idea of the dreamer from a technical perspective and then propose technical solutions to implement a software product. Their core responsibility is to make sure the organization’s technology fully serves its business strategy.
Often termed as both an architect and a tradesman, the hacker possesses both business acumen and technical proficiency as he is responsible for brainstorming the product functionality, diving into the unique nuances of product development and then ensuring the product gets shipped on time.
The hacker has a clear understanding of the customers who will be using the product, the market in which it will be launched and the competitive landscape.
The hustler eats, sleeps and breathes sales. He must be able to sell snow to an Eskimo and keep them coming back for more. Hustlers have strong persuasion and negotiation skills and are responsible for reaching out to the right audience at the right time and inspire them.
A storyteller by nature, the growth hacker is responsible for generating buzz about the product and creating excitement in the market. He should know exactly how customers think, what they want and how to drive them to your website.
The creator will craft the perfect user experience, do the actual coding, create algorithms, protect intellectual property and then do the testing to ensure the software product contains no bugs.
Which Roles Should You Outsource?
Although the ideal scenario is to have an in-house team as it gives startups complete control over the operations and development but when the time is of the essence, startups have to resort to software outsourcing as it helps them reduce time to market while also ensuring cost does not escalate.
There is no one size fits all solution since there are a number of factors that determine the ideal outsourcing model. Based on my years of experience in the software industry and lessons learned the hard way, I feel there are two roles which if outsourced correctly can accelerate growth for any startup.
Most software development projects require diverse skill-sets, such as design, front-end development, and back-end development, that are hard to find with equally high competence in one individual. Finding one person who is well versed in all these areas is like winning a million dollar lottery.
In our context, The Creator means a team with the right mix of software engineers, senior software engineers, and solution architects who will do end to end software development of the product.
With an outsourced team, bear in mind to hire individuals who are motivated, committed and driven to complete their tasks as it is not easy or possible to monitor their daily tasks and if they are not self-motivated, it will be an extremely tense relationship.
There are many startups who have outsourced their product software development and need someone who can manage the software developers, the software development life cycle, and partner with the management team to establish short and long term technology strategies. In such scenarios, it is highly recommended that you outsource the role of the doer as well.
If the doer and the developers are located in the same place, not only does it create harmony between them but also makes the uphill task of resource management less painful. The doer has the freedom and the liberty to own the strategy behind the product and build his dream team that can execute his vision.
Many startups have succeeded with the new approach of outsourcing some or all of their development. Not long ago, businesses got scared when advised to outsource but now it has become the norm in almost every industry. With the tech startup ecosystem gaining momentum worldwide, software outsourcing is going to play a key role in helping startups succeed with their product development.