Sarah Doody

Why You Should Start With A Minimum Viable Team!

This week I was thinking a lot about what makes a great startup team. So many of the lists that come out try to identify what not to do in a startup and the 10 reasons why startups fail. A lot of times, these lists focus on the product, explaining that the startup failed because the product was too complicated, or too simple, or just didn't make sense. However...

Minimnum viable team I think another key reason that we need to address is the element and influence of the initial team, the first key hires that you make as a startup.

Rather than give my thoughts, I’d like to point to you to a really awesome post that Charlie O’Donnell wrote on the subject. His blog post Minimum Viable Team is a complete breakdown of every conceivable role you think you would need, and then he slowly eliminates each role that you don’t really need to get to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This method of slowly showing you what you can take away is truly insightful. The net result is a set of three roles that Charlie identifies as the key functions that you need to get to launch. Here are the roles and my take on each …

1) Outside Person … this person is responsible for everything that is not related to building the product or defining the consumer experience. So, they take on the role of forming relationships with all outsiders for the purposes of hiring, business development, public relations, sales, marketing, operations, etc. Charlie’s argument is that at such an early stage, you just don’t need these functions in house. I completely agree.

2) Consumer Experience … this person is traditionally known as a “designer”, but they are SO MUCH more than that! This person goes beyond just “making it pretty”. Instead, they are a delicate balance of right brain and left brain. They understand enough technology that they can talk intelligently with developers and discuss key userflows, database challenges, and tricky workflows. They live and breathe human behavior and have a sixth sense for getting inside the head of the consumer. Finally, of course, they design – both for interaction and visual. They don’t have to be the Picasso of everything, but the total package of their skillset is what you’re looking for because after your MVP is out, you can then refine and really polish design etc.

3) Builder … this speaks for itself. You need an amazing technologist / engineer who can get stuff done, but also, like the designer, has a well rounded balance for human behavior. They need to be able to use technology not for the sake of technology, but instead for creating a great customer experience.

Here’s a link to the entire article by Charlie, Minimum Viable Team. As well, you might also be interested in this thread on Quora that debates whether or not you should hire an amazing designer or a product engineer first.


There are no comments for this article


Sarah Doody Sarah Doody Sarah Doody
Company: Sarah Doody
Position: User Experience Designer
I am a user experience designer and digital strategist who specialises in product and brand development. I am passionate about working with early stage start ups - turning their vision into engaging customer experiences Read Sarah's full bio

Latest Articles by Sarah

July 9 | Commerce, Content, Community, and Context
June 21 | What is Micro-feedback and Why it Matters to Your User Experience
February 12 | Small Changes, Big Rewards: How Etsy Embraces Continuous Experimentation

Article stats

30 Days: 0 articles, 0 views
All time: 0 articles, 0 views

    Follow me on Twitter


    Sarah Doody

    Sarah Doody is a user experience designer who specializes in product and brand development.  More info & Contact Details



    NSW Public Sector Grades 9-10 High Performance and Leadership Workshop NSW Public Sector Grades 9-10 High Performance and Leadership Workshop

    Develop and refine core skills and key leadership capability to achieve success and excel in NSW Grade 9-10 level roles and beyond.

    WA Public Sector Level 7-8 High Performance & Leadership Workshop WA Public Sector Level 7-8 High Performance & Leadership Workshop

    Develop and refine core skills and key leadership capability to achieve success and excel in Western Australian 7 - 8 level roles and beyond.

    Executive Assistant Development Intensive Executive Assistant Development Intensive

    Adding value and enhancing your personal and professional effectiveness as an Executive Assistant.

    The Women in Project Management Leadership Summit 2018 The Women in Project Management Leadership Summit 2018

    Practical advice and strategies to guide female leaders for career advancement in the project management space.

    Public Sector Workforce Analytics Workshop Public Sector Workforce Analytics Workshop

    Emerging tools and frameworks to enable best practice workforce analytics and planning for HR Professionals.


    Hill & Knowlton Hill & Knowlton

    Full-service global publication relations agency with specialists in digital PR as well as in a range of other areas.

    Bendalls Group Bendalls Group

    Digital Strategy: emphasises the importance of deploying a digital strategy that aligns with and brings positive impact on the organisation as a whole and business objectives, using technology to facilitate this.

    AcKnowledge Consulting AcKnowledge Consulting

    Acting on knowledge, communication and learning.

    VentureOne VentureOne

    VentureOne Pty Limited is a digital media consultancy, specialising in mobile advertising, content and applications, and online content and advertising.

    IAB Australia IAB Australia

    The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia.


    LATEST DIRECTORY LISTINGS Boost SEO - add your company for free

    Mad Dog PromotionsProtonbits Software Pvt LtdCat Rubbish RemovalEnertec Windows & Door SystemsVacuumSpotSally Dasouki - Melbourne Victoria, AustraliaVazooky DigitalDr TurnerAspect Shade