3 Tips Startups Can Use To Stay Agile

Innovation and the idea of creating the next big thing is tantalizing in theory—but how easy is it to do for large companies with layers of product and idea vetting processes, regulatory and political constraints?

In a LinkedIn post, entrepreneur and investor Yann Girard, wrote that corporations are too riddled with red tape, regulations, protocol, politics, CYA and fear of risk for their employees to take on the unknowns associated with the practices of startups, where immense rewards loom on the distant seashore but the waters that must be traversed to get there are laden with sharks.

So, if you want to infuse more of a startup philosophy into your organization, what can you do?

sandbox IT

1. Give employees sandbox opportunities

When we talk about a sandbox, we’re usually talking about an IT area (like big data) where employees can experiment with different theories with the understanding that while a great idea might bubble to the top, more often than not, many experimental efforts will fail.

If employees know that their superiors understand this, it cures the fear that employees have of failure and allows them to create. There is also no reason why this sandbox concept can’t be extended to non-technology areas such as customer service, manufacturing, purchasing and even HR.

2. Reward Creative Work

If an employee comes up with a concept or an idea that brings something new and better into the organization, the organization should recognize it. Employees need to know that the company values creative innovation.


3. Invest In Creative Talent

Individuals who demonstrate remarkable creative talent should be cultivated and encouraged—and not stuck in line functions that bore them until they leave. Remember, your intellectual capital (in the form of people) is your most valuable asset.

Risk taking and mitigation, even in startups, should be a regular exercise. If you are in a leadership position, it is important to foster innovation, no matter the size of the organization.

Can Product Managers Conduct User Testing Without A Physical Product To Touch?

By Sharon Brown

Whether Product Managers can conduct user testing without having developed a physical product in hand depends on the product managers requirements.

There are too many variables to consider in testing, if you are a product manager or work with product managers that don’t have a clear understanding of the type of product or aspects of the product you want to test.

However, if you find yourself struggling to define how to test your new product, I would recommend keeping this in mind; All products have requirements and all requirements must be testable.

There is a lot of depth that can be explored in this post when it comes to the topic of requirements management, however, my intent is to provide brief insight on whether user testing can be conducted without a physical product.  Product managers that find themselves in that position should first, start with a fresh analysis of the functional and non-functional requirements to make sure the product they are suppose to build aligns with the stakeholder needs and business objectives.


Therefore, take a look at the requirements documentation — business requirement document, technical specifications document, systems specifications document, user specifications, etc. — and analyze what makes the most sense to test given where you are in your development lifecycle.


Sharon Brown

Sharon Brown

Founder & CEO, eLuminate

For speaking engagements contact Sharon here