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For example... someone who is a computer engineer and his expertise is machine vision or voice recognition or totally machine learning (ML) fields. But we know a robot has electrical parts and mechanical parts as well. Also, it's possible to consider we might like to create an application on Web/Windows/Mac/Android/ios for our robot too! And many other possible extra conditions.

So, our founder/project manager is a great man in the ML field but not in web/mobile/electronics/mechanics and other fields of engineering that may needed for the company. Then, how should he manage people with other areas of expertise and evaluate if they are the best people to choose and hire? To do they their jobs well (I mean, there is no better/easier/less expensive way to do that job)? And when one of them is stuck in his/her job and couldn't find the solution, how can he help him/her to get the job done?

  • Help me to understand the relationship between this question and project management. What is the project? – Mark C. Wallace Mar 28 at 8:34
  • @MarkC.Wallace: I considered a small company/startup that works on one project like a project and it's manager as a project manager. I didn't know where is the best place to ask this question? – user145959 Apr 5 at 19:20
  • The big difference is that projects have a discrete outcome - companies don't dissolve when the work is done. Please consult the help center and understand the scope before you ask a question on a random SE. The dartboard approach to SE selection works about as often as it does for darts players (that is to say very well for the practiced and experience, but for the novice, it results in a lot of damage to the walls) – Mark C. Wallace Apr 5 at 19:23
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There really is more than one question here.

  1. How to organize in an environment where you need multiple skills
  2. How to hire people when you don't already have expertise in-house
  3. How to evaluate people's performance

Let's try to answer these in a concise manner:

  1. How to organize in an environment where you need multiple skills

Use cross-functional teams. If you need multiple skills to bring valuable change to a product all those people should work in the same team. That way it is easier to synchronize their work and also enable them to work on the same priorities. Sure, sometimes not all of the team members have something to do on their specialty (and even if they might have) and you pair them with other team members to learn and collaborate. That way you can, in time, have multiple people with necessary skills.

  1. and 3. have kind of the same answer if distilled down enough:

You'll have to trust. If you have no one to make an informed decision then you have to trust the people that are working with you. How to hire? Ask help from a recruiting consultant (a good one, mind you) or outsource to work to a consultancy house or freelancers. How to evaluate people? Discuss with them honestly about their work. Hire someone to act as their manager and trust the managers. In the end you have to trust someone.

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  • First, a multidisciplinary company is not the same thing as a multi-products/services company.

  • Second, to start a business, you have to choose a service or a product that you will sell at a price your future customers are willing to pay. You are never sure at 100% in advance if you are going to sell enough products or services to cover all your expenses and to make a profit.

  • Third, a company, a corporation, is not a club for your friends. You have to hire people who are able to produce the products or services you sell. You pay them for that. When you start your business, it is easier to hire the right people.

  • Fourth, if you decide to offer a new product or a new service in a new market, you have to do first a business plan that shows how much revenues you are going to make, month by month, for at least 5 to 10 years in advance. Then you can get more financing and pay to train your employees in a new field/discipline or to hire new people.

  • Finally, you have good and bad management. Every day, a manager take the best decisions he or she can to bring enough revenues to cover all the business expenses and to make a profit. With a good business plan, you are able to convince people that your new product or service will make your business grow.

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You want to start building up a product with your core strengths first so that you have cash flow.

For teams specialized with a different expertise, you must demand that they are able to deliver specific goals to you. If they are at 80% capable of delivering, just make sure they would be able to learn the extra 20%. At the same time, you should learn the big picture and work with them to see how their skills can accomplish the goals you set.

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