Yes, We Can! Building a Capable Initial Team for a Software Startup
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Startup companies are based on the founders’ innovations and visions of new business opportunities. Software startups are commonly considered as especially innovative. Besides the importance of the innovation and business vision, in the early stages of the startup, the initial team plays a key role in transforming the innovation into a product or a service. At the same time, software startups are often small, immature companies with very limited resources. That highlights the importance of the initial team’s capabilities to address the challenges of product development from the innovation—the knowledge, experiences, skills, and other cognitive abilities. In this chapter, we present the results of studies on the initial team’s capabilities from the viewpoint of the product development, planning, designing, implementing, and verifying the targeted product or service. The studies were conducted on a group of 13 software startups in Italy, Norway, and Finland. The studies revealed that from a group of very heterogeneous software startups a generic structure of the initial team could be identified, consisting of three different roles, each having a specific set of responsibilities and capability needs. This team structure provides a software startup with a balance between the team’s capabilities and problems and challenges to be solved during the early product development process. In addition, we present the sources of the needed capabilities, the initial knowledge, experience, and skills of the founder, and broadening and deepening the initial capabilities by validated learning and by growth toward the identified team structure.
KeywordsSoftware startup Initial team Product development Product development process Capability needs Building teams Learning by doing
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