What is your time really worth?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

Founding a business can become all-consuming. Early on, entrepreneurship is taken up by packed schedules, late nights, and long weeks. All the time spent isn’t created equal. We can get swept into putting out fires or responding to pressing needs, but it’s worth slowing down to figure out where time is best spent.

Understanding Value

Imagine I offered you a MacBook Pro, one of Apple’s leading computers, for just $1,000. Assuming it’s not stolen, that is a great deal. A $2,000 dollar computer for 50% of the normal retail cost. What a bargain!

Now, imagine I offered you that same computer for $10,000. Would you buy it? Of course not, that’s absurd. I just mentioned that it is worth $2,000. To buy a $2,000 computer for $10,000 would mean you’d be spending five times more than it’s worth. Ultimately, this is a lesson of Cost vs. …

A word of warning about promising software

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andrey Larin on Unsplash

For the last few years, we’ve been doubling down on our sprint-based approach to software engineering. Unfortunately, one trend hasn’t seemed to change. When we say ‘development ends’, clients seem to hear ‘the product is ready to launch’.

There should always be a buffer between when software engineering completes development and when customers are invited to partake. Ideally, this gap is measured in weeks, not days or hours. There should be time for documentation, support, training, and communication. When the last line of code is freshly written, it’s unlikely those elements are ready for public consumption.

Assuming the sprint involved engineers actually writing code, the software product needs to be tested. There’s a myriad of other services and configurations required to ‘get off the ground’. …

How a formalized structure of leadership helps team members understand how decisions are made

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

Within a growing organization, those decisions can get pushed deeper into the organization allowing more focused groups to contribute to decisions that impact them. In the early days, this structure is likely relaxed and informal. Over time there becomes an increased need to communicate more clearly.

Experiencing Team Growth

A few years into our business, when the team was growing and new problems were popping up left and right, everything seemed reactive. Something would crop up and we would need to chat through how to handle it. There weren’t many policies or procedures.

Once we formed a leadership team, with a weekly meeting cadence, we eventually got ahead of the issues. From there, we were able to start looking forward and addressing smaller issues sooner. While ascribing to a structure was great, the consistency was ultimately what made the greatest impact. There is a tendency to only meet when needed, but that is similar to only visiting the doctor when you are in pain. Without regular visits, you miss the chance to catch problems before they hurt. …

Why do we want to master it?

Image for post
Image for post

Over the last year, we’ve been on a journey to refine our project management process. While clients have a great experience with our team, project inefficiencies can compound. Much like the crack in a windshield, small gaps can become big problems very quickly.

In the fall of 2016, we brought someone in to work with me and Josh, to document our current workflow. The work was stunning but the process revealed some obvious flaws. The largest of which was the lack of fail-safes. The status and progress of many small projects lived in the mind (and email inbox) of one person. …

More than posters on a wall

Image for post
Image for post

Your vision defines what your organization is pursuing. Your values describe the attitude and principles that you protect along the way.

Together, when communicated consistently, your vision and values work together to rally your tribe and align the organization around a common goal and attitude. When nurtured, it sets a tone of “people like us do things like this.” When truly embraced, they provide clarity on who to hire and how to act as a company. It brings clarity to when you should coach to improve performance or dismiss someone who isn’t a fit.

Polar Notion, our values…

  • We pursue excellence, not…

Strong opinions forged from experience and expertise

Image for post
Image for post

For years, our team has been building web and mobile apps for startups and entrepreneurs. While the following tools and technology has been used on larger scale applications, it serves first time and nontechnical founders especially well.

It reduces maintenance and overhead costs while allowing the product to scale. As early-stage companies begin to build in-house engineering teams, this setup allows for a seamless handoff. Given the widespread adoption of these technologies, finding and training qualified engineers is less painful.

As common with most technology, conflicting opinions abound. Though everyone’s mileage will vary, we have battle tested each item on two-sided marketplaces, SAAS products, learning platforms, and much more. …

The first building block of building great software

Image for post
Image for post

The creation of a clear, compelling, and detailed sitemap requires experience and expertise. Though regularly skipped or overlooked, it casts the clearest sense of vision for the product and sets appropriate expectations. Much like a ship’s rudder or a building’s blueprint, an effective sitemap wields most of the power within a project.

Our sitemap contains seven key deliverables.

  • High-level App Features. Key features of the product.
  • Required Screens. The pages and popups presented to the user.
  • Page Paths. The web address (url) of the page.
  • Page Functions. Page expectations.
  • Calls to Action. The desired user behavior.
  • User Flow. The user’s movement.

The intended results of a Strategy Sprint and why it’s crucial for building successful apps.

Image for post
Image for post

Planning and preparation are the backbone of a successful software project. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and start building, but victories come more often from the code that doesn’t get written.

Watching hundreds of app projects unfold, we’ve compiled a guideline of the key items required before beginning Wireframes or Designs. The ability to assemble them with clarity and simplicity is the expertise we’ve worked for years to develop. Beyond mere boxes to check, experience and expertise are driving forces in bringing each of these pieces together.

Thoughtful Deliverables

  • High-level App Features
  • Required Screens
  • Page Paths
  • Calls to…

Keystone Habits of Service Based Work

Image for post
Image for post

We’ve been delivering projects since 2012. Each project is a symphony of details that must align just right. Over the years, we’ve dialed in a few key habits that make a massive difference in the project process. There are plenty of checklists and processes, but few add as much value as our keystone habits within a project.

Right People, Right Project, Right Time

As we staff projects, we work to align the right people on the right projects at the right time. Within a skilled team, many people could do the work. What sets a great project apart is getting the right people to weigh in at the right part of the process. …

Understanding the difference between Consumer, Business, and Enterprise Customers

Image for post
Image for post

Customers are the people who pay for your product or service. They’re often confused or overlap with users, but the exchange of money is what sets them apart. This distinction is important because of incentives. Paying customers behave differently and have specific expectations.

Paying customers expect higher levels of support. As they are choosing your product for a reason, they also expect a certain level of consistency. Over time, software customers expect product improvements too.

Customer Types

The usual breakdown is B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). The way they buy it, use it, and think about it however, will vary greatly by their mindset. …


Morgan J. Lopes

CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store