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Building Balanced Team Culture from Day One (Moses Hohman)

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Wearing many hats is typical in early startups, so you would think there would be no problem being a balanced team. But even at an early stage there are many opportunities for imbalance, and these can have long-term effects on company culture. Moses will present what some of these opportunities are, principles for counterbalancing them, and solicit our discussion.

See also http://www.balancedteam.org/balconf-2011-resources/ for other Balanced Team Conference presentations.

Published in: Design, Business, Technology
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Building Balanced Team Culture from Day One (Moses Hohman)

  1. 1. Building Balanced Team Culture from Day OneMoses Hohman — @moseshohmanCo-founder, Human Practice
  2. 2. Context• Developer turned co-founder• agilist• balanced team, how I learned to love UX• dissatisfied with CW about startup teams
  3. 3. Achieving Balance• People• Activities
  4. 4. Principles• Balance at all scales • Self • Team • Collaborators• Embrace flexibility• Continuous education
  5. 5. Balanced Self• What does a balanced team of one look like?
  6. 6. Balanced Self• What does a balanced team of one look like? software development, domain knowledge, strategic design, visual design, user research, business development, marketing, product management, project management, accounting, legal, IT operations, human resources, recruiting, investor relations, strategic partnerships, etc.
  7. 7. Balanced Self• What does a balanced team of one look like? software development, domain knowledge, strategic design, visual design, user research, business development, marketing, product management, project management, accounting, legal, IT operations, human resources, recruiting, investor relations, strategic partnerships, etc.
  8. 8. Imbalanced Self• Focus on what you’re good at• Ignore the rest
  9. 9. Capabilities - Prioritized1. domain knowledge 13. accounting2. user research 14. IT operations3. strategic design 15. human resources4. software development 16. investor relations5. business development 17. et cetera6. marketing7. visual design8. strategic partnerships9. legal10. recruiting11. product management12. project management
  10. 10. researchdomain stratD partners vizD dev mktg bizdev
  11. 11. Self researchdomain stratD partners vizD dev mktg bizdev
  12. 12. Balanced Self1. Just do it — 2. Learn (continuous self-improvement) — 3. Outsource
  13. 13. Imbalanced Team• Overlapping competencies (and lack thereof)• Overfocus on what you’re good at• (Narrowly) defined roles
  14. 14. Co-founder researchdomain stratD partners vizD dev mktg bizdev
  15. 15. Self researchdomain stratD partners vizD dev mktg bizdev
  16. 16. Founding Team researchdomain stratD partners vizD dev mktg bizdev
  17. 17. Balanced Team• Embrace Flexibility• No roles, fluid roles, shared mind• Cross-train/educate each other• Find trainers (advisors, mentors)
  18. 18. Imbalanced Collaborators• Usually part-time or off site• Roles required, hence source of imbalance• Spectrum of shared mind and commitment
  19. 19. Mitigating imbalance• Highly specialized skills, needed seldom/not evolving• Preliminary work before you can bring skill into team• Source of education for team• Learning enough to manage, micromanagement
  20. 20. No Technical Co-founder• The Standard Advice, and what’s wrong with it• “earning a co-founder” (37signals)• Long-term vs short-term strategy
  21. 21. Open Questions• How much of this still applies in other contexts?• Strategies for detecting invisible gaps?
  22. 22. Your Balanced Self• Envision a specific work context• What competencies are necessary for success?• Draw a pie, assess your skills: • What can you do (or “just do”)? • What can you learn? • Who can you collaborate with?
  23. 23. ThanksChicago startups, Lane Halley, (indirectly) Steve Blank… and flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/5530865925/sizes/l/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/classblog/5136926303/sizes/l/in/photostream/,flickr.com/photos/rossap/3640939526/sizes/l/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/darkr/3599308800/sizes/o/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/darkr/3599308464/sizes/o/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/darkr/3599308562/sizes/o/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/melodramababs/4789394224/sizes/l/in/photostream/, flickr.com/photos/melanieandjohn/5736042529/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  24. 24. Uplifting healthcare relationships Moses Hohman moses@humanpractice.com @moseshohman

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