Week 7 of 13: The Rhythm Of The Business

Agile Scrum is one part of the rhythm.
My Kellogg classmates are now looking to the end of their internships. Because many of them seem to have opted for an internship of eight to ten weeks in duration, they are starting to wrap up their projects. In contrast, I've planned on working on my startup project for the entire summer. So it's perhaps slightly ironic that it's only now, coming to the end of the 7th week, that we seem to be in a regular rhythm.

The "rhythm of the business", is based around the two interns developing the product and myself developing customers. The product development is based on Agile Scrum method. This means that we have a backlog of features. Every week, we determine what we are going to develop for that week. At the end of the week, we demo and review what was accomplished in the week. Whenever I've started using this method with a team unfamiliar with it, there is always a few weeks of confusion. However, once it gets going, it is a good way for a customer or product manager to maintain control of product development at a reasonable level.

While the product development is moving forward, it is distracting me somewhat from my task of customer development. In hindsight, I over-estimated what student interns could be capable of. I expected them to be more knowledgeable than they actually are. A Kellogg classmate summed it up best, "as an intern, you're doing it to learn something". So, I have had to coach and teach the interns a lot more than I anticipated.

The customer development process is relatively simple. I scout out leads for potential customers. I then email and then follow up a few days later with a phone call. I've developed a spreadsheet of where different people are in different parts of the funnel. The hardest part is scouting out leads: finding the right companies and the right person at the companies is time consuming. Just as the interns are learning, I feel I too am learning.

Yet, while we may how have a regular operational rhythm, I now need to start figuring out what this business will look like after the 13 weeks are over. To what extent will we be able to keep these processes going after the 13 weeks are over? To some extent, the answer to this is relate to my own personal goals for the future - something else that I need to figure out soon.