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55

If you aren't paying people, you really shouldn't expect them to stay around. If you want to give someone equity in exchange for payment; it should be a large amount of equity, and it should be spelled out in a contract, that stipulates the vesting period (if they aren't getting any money it should be an accelerated vesting period tied to milestones), but ...


10

I use MoSCoW prioritisation with clients (Must, Should, Could, Won't) and build developments around that. If the client would cancel the release if 'X' feature wasn't delivered, or if there is no workaround, then 'X' feature is a must. Therefore the MVP is then defined by the list of 'Musts' in the prioritisation.


10

Lots of good answers already, but one thing I think may be missing is customer feedback. Developers will initially be enthusiastic at solving technical problems, but to sustain their enthusiasm they need to feel what they are doing is worthwhile. The best way to give them that feeling is to ship your product to real customers and to get regular feedback. ...


9

Equity only? Well, you haven't made it clear just how "good" (your word) the equity is, but yes, likely the lack of anything tangible in terms of compensation is one of the factors involved here. But it's probably not the only one. It also sounds like you are running a virtual team, so it makes it easier for the individuals to fade into obscurity because ...


7

They have a concept for a piece of software, we do some analysis and agree on reasonable budget and start agile development. Good. However once the client starts to see the product they cant (sic) help but tweak endlessly Also good. despite our protests Why are you protesting? If you're in an agile environment, you are supposed to embrace change, ...


6

You can use the Nokia Test as a starting point The Nokia Test (also known as the ScrumButt Test) was developed by Bas Vodde of Nokia and tuned by Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum. Work in fixed iterations (say 2 weeks): You can establish a velocity that is valuable for release planning. Helps to avoid the death march at shipping time by ...


6

First of all i really enjoyed your question Sergey Yakovlev to the point of giving an upvote. It appears to me what you really try to understand is How are people motivated to do their work at work? I assume if you found out money is really a game changer, you would do all the possible efforts to get that into the hands of your workers. From that point ...


6

I liked Todd A. Jacobs', Tiago Martins Peres' and some others' answers, but I wanted to add to them. While this isn't a complete answer I think it is too much to place in the comments, so perhaps consider this a supplement to the other answers. Startups, especially unfunded startups, are not the same as established businesses. Equity, especially in such an ...


5

Frankly, I don't see how it can be done. Specifically, I don't see what you could do, considering the constraints you have (and some of them are assumptions): No real-world contact to your and between your (co-)workers. The software you're developing is probably given, you can't just do something completely different all of a sudden. No money. I see three ...


5

TL;DR Companies have many choices in project management frameworks. However, if they choose Scrum, then they have chosen to abide by the framework's methodology. This includes enforcing the Scrum roles and rules of engagement. Anyone who disrupts the process in unconstructive ways must be removed from the team. Failing to remove disruptive team members ...


5

A tool won't save you. Discipline will. Other professionals, such as lawyers, do it all the time for decades, with accuracy, and without a fancy tool.


5

TL;DR The golden rule is "he who has the gold makes the rules." However, that doesn't mean he-who-makes-the-rules is necessarily right or is acting in his own best interests. You can have what you want, but it may not get you where you really need to go. Control Isn't Leadership I'm starting my own company and I started putting together a small team, ...


4

The agile movement arised due to fact, that many, many software projects failed, didn't meet their deadlines or costs exploeded. All parties (customers, developers and even some managers) were dissatisfied with the way projects were run (See: agilemanifesto.org/history.html). Working together as a team makes software better, implementation decisions should ...


4

TL;DR Questions about team composition and team effectiveness are on topic here. However, questions about business plans and startup funding are out of scope for a site about the practice and profession of project management. With that in mind, I will address myself solely to the project management perspective here. I'll cover why you need the project ...


4

I would strongly suggest you ask the team. The team understands the domain, the way they work, the personalities involved and the nature of your organisation. They are in a much better place to determine the team structure than anyone outside of the team. This is what we mean when we talk about self-organising teams. Also, don't be afraid of making the ...


3

Wonder if you really need to: understand the internal costs Maybe track it for a while, but don't force developers to track time unless it is absolutely necessary. Like billing clients per hour, but even then you could bill them on relative effort sizes and remove the need to track time. You might wonder why shouldn't developers track-time? Let’s take a ...


3

Be Agile, don't necessarily try and do scrum at this point since it may be overkill for such a small team. Consider borrowing these ideas from Scrum or Kanban: DO CONSIDER: Visualizing all work on a storyboard or Kanban board Writing Agile stories using INVEST principles Writing Acceptance Criteria Having the 2 developers agree and commit to a definition ...


3

The most viable agile practice is fast feedback. That's why short iterations are preferred. The next one, directly connected with the planing, is customer collaboration. You have to meet with the customer every 2 weeks, discuss the things you are going to do, then run 2 week sprint avoiding any interruptions, then demonstrate what you have done and ask for ...


3

Could use a little more information about the team. Do you have a product owner? A designer? Any other contributors that you wouldn't consider "developers"? Or is it just your dynamic duo against the world? At your size, scrum is too much structure, I think. If it really is just the two of you, just work in the same room, if possible. If you can't, keep a ...


2

The simplest way to determine the feature set of an MVP is by asking yourself of EVERY feature, "is this required in order to provide the minimum amount of value to the end user?". The whole concept of MVP is to get something out as quickly as possible to start validating your hypotheses by learning with real user data. Therefore you should only include the ...


2

In order to reduce waste and build an efficient MVP, you want to attack outcome they value the most. Something that important but they aren’t satisfied yet with current solution. This is how you filter down what matters and what is not before allocate more resources to actually build the thing. There is no point to solve / test something they already ...


2

There really is more than one question here. How to organize in an environment where you need multiple skills How to hire people when you don't already have expertise in-house How to evaluate people's performance Let's try to answer these in a concise manner: How to organize in an environment where you need multiple skills Use cross-functional teams. If ...


2

I'm going to assume here that you've read The Lean Startup by Eric Reis and are looking for what to measure to prove you're moving in the right direction. As Daniel mentions in his answer one of the key messages from the book is to avoid Vanity Metrics, that is to say metrics which look good but don't actually measure the success of your product. For the ...


2

I do not think that the problem here is motivation. It is the lack of perspectives. Unpaid work is ok if it is only for some months and you know it will end (like an internship) or that you will get a paid job afterwards. It is not ok if you work without salary for weeks and months and you do not know how long this will take. Your employees are motivated ...


2

I think what a lot of people are missing here is based on your question - you have no clue on what you are doing. Almost in every conceivable way. You are giving people equity like you are dolling out candy at the end of class. You have no promise of payment for past work or what their equity might be worth. Either you are really clueless on how a ...


1

Become non-profit. Yes, I realize how shockingly absurd such an idea may be at first glance. And, indeed, for your organization, it might be impossible or, at least, unrealistic. However, I propose that we consider a couple of things before outright totally dismissing this idea. First of all, there are non-profits who frequently get people to work for ...


1

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 ...


1

As a businessman, I do not care about technical implementation unless it affects my wallet. I reserve the right to tell the team, "No. I'm not paying for that. What are the other options?", but I honestly don't really care how they get the work done. All I care is that they do it in a timely and cost effective manner. I'm going to hire people to do a job and ...


1

I would only worry about this if you really need to understand cost of goods sold, are doing billable work, or do accounting for software capitalization. It's better to just track team throughput using velocity metrics. It vastly simplifies estimating and scheduling and once it matures it is a much better predictor of future performance. All done without ...


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