Ready, set, scale – A guide to repeatable processes
Starting to scale your start-up can either compound your early successes, compound your failures or a bit of both.
Regardless, scaling applies pressure to your whole startup. If you are not prepared with adequate systems, competent people and well-structured teams your startup could become overwhelmed.
Here are 3 steps every founder should make when starting to scale.
What are your repeatable processes?
Every task everyone does in your startup is either a process itself or a part of one. It is also very rare for these tasks and processes to be a once-off. Instead, it is very likely that these are repeated many times and could therefore be a candidate for becoming a defined repeatable process.
Defining and where possible systemising or automating a repeatable process creates consistency and removes doubt or uncertainty. This is particularly beneficial when you want the process to deliver consistent outcomes. In tech companies, this can be challenging to define as there is often less consistency around the definition of roles and who should do what.
The key is to break down the end-to-end tasks in your startup into discreet steps from triage, analysis, development, testing and eventual release. Within this process what elements are repeatable?
Structuring your teams
Many startups utilise cross-functional teams in their structure. While this has its benefits it has drawbacks as well. Functional teams can be a better option to drive consistency and assist with scaling. Functional teams allow each business function to be completed consistently and the standard process streamlined. Standards and even automation can be established for daily operational tasks, environment creation, build and deployment practices and simplified coding.
By comparison, cross-functional teams often lack consistency between the same disciplines in separate teams. This means your startup ends up being made up of lots of smaller startups.
Isolating work in the teams
Separate functional teams can then focus on and excel at the tasks that they are intended to complete. Cross-functional teams can result in “too many chefs in the kitchen” after all does everyone need to give their input on everything. Leave the architects to do the solution design and biz analysts to do the analysis, the testers to test and the engineers to develop.
Getting the balance and approach right here is critical.
TAKEAWAY: Startups need to be structured to scale, repeatable processes are best defined and implemented by functional teams. This drives consistency and quality of outcomes that cannot be achieved through cross-functional teams. Leave cross-functional teams to be assembled to solve specific problems and not the day-to-day operations or functions of the business.