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Channeling a Startup Mindset when Prioritizing

Alignment
Goal Setting
Company Culture
Leadership
Prioritization

4 March, 2022

Eduardo Rodrigues
Eduardo Rodrigues

Engineering Manager at Prospection

Eduardo Rodrigues, Engineering Manager at Prospection, shares his learnings on prioritization and measurement while working at a startup that he founded.

Prioritization With a Startup Mindset

I had an opportunity to found and run my own startup, in the past. It’s definitely altered my perspective of how things should be done and how priorities should relate to the organization's goal. Regardless of the type of organization, I try to keep my startup mindset by testing things in small steps.

Taking Small Steps:

I have learned that taking small steps is essential in creating success when working at my startup. Of course, this depends on the organization; since small steps for well-established companies tend to work on a larger scale than those of earlier stage startups. A failure in a project, even a big one, for established companies almost never leads to the failure of the company itself. In an startup it can be the difference between life and death.

Nevertheless, I think it’s important for companies to take small steps and continue to iterate on them until they’ve created something successful. Trying to go big in the first place is super tricky and requires a stronger risk appetite – because the odds of success are unpredictable.

Measuring Success:

Whenever a company releases something or is in the testing process, teams need to know how to measure success taking insights out of a new solution or feature related to its success and usability. Therefore, I recommend that teams plan what they will measure during the elaboration phase. Planning the measurement ahead can also highlight problems and lead to a better solution design.

It’s very demotivating for a team if they release something that nobody is using; therefore, measuring the success of a feature should be done during the testing and iteration phases. This also directly relates to taking small steps, as measuring success can be done parallel to each step.

Weighted Shortest Job First:

I’ve used the weighted shortest job first framework to prioritize my work. Essentially, it weighs the impact over the effort to find the task or feature that will have the best result for the team's time. Of course, there are times when this framework isn't applicable (when external factors are involved, like regulations changes, for example), but overall I recommend using it to determine what task a team should work on.

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