Filling the holes

Welcome to another post on lean startup with Alex! Today’s topic is on locating the holes in our project, and how we intend to fill the holes in. Every early startup has a hole. We were faking excellence so others won’t catch on so easily! ;)

Since the day my team was formed, I had a sense that I wasn’t as knowledgable about our market as my teammates were. I hated the feeling of being a dead weight and worked hard to catch and and be a worthy member of the team. The largest problem I was concentrated on was my lack of confidence, and I had this great, happy thought that my team was perfect, and everything was going wonderful and swell. I’m glad to break down the illusion.

For the sake of this week’s agenda, our team had to find the holes. Our main concern with the our product and market were:

  • Venture capitalists aren’t so excited about our museum plan / pop up prototype.
  • Pop ups do not have a deep learning value and are focused on the visual experience.
  • We haven’t spent any time developing our back of the house. (funny how the museum was supposed to fund our R&D model but the R&D model hasn’t received any attention to this day)
  • cost analysis of our plan
  • Potential pivot plan needs to be finalized ASAP.

I was feeling the ditches in our goal. But then, the team dynamics problems started popping up:

  • Members go off record, and does not participate in the group chat for some time. This was for everyone in the group. I get sick often, and alert my group when I need a break, but do my best to stay updated on the chat. When I submit works in the collaborated files and ask for feedback, I usually don’t get the feedback I need at the time; it comes hours later. I would like to spend my time on this project and move on to other works. When my teammates are unresponsive, commenting on the process after I close the case, I have to return to the group to spend more time to make the necessary changes. This has been happening more frequently lately, and I’d really love to fix this.
  • Members lack initiative. Weiwei or Nino will usually hash out what needs to be done. But when there is a moment of silence in the group chat, no one acts to break the peace.
  • We are such high achievers. We take the feedbacks we get seriously. Every negative feedback we get, we whip ourselves in the back 10 lashes per comment and moments of gloom are created. We arrange meetings to implement changes all the time, but the momentary gloom is such a vibe killer. I personally hate it with passion.
  • We talk of our problems. But we don’t fix them.
  • We never prepare our presentation on time. Major pain point. Our goal is to finish creating the slides by Sunday, and to practice presentation dynamics by Monday. I’ll put in my share of work over the weekends or Monday, but the final deck always gets uploaded past 12 PM, ON THE DAY OF PRESENTATION. We practice our presentation twice during the time we are given on Tuesday. That is the only time we go over the presentation as a team. I’m crazy jealous of the other teams and their presentation dynamics. It’s true. Our presentation is a presentation of four people, not a single team. The lack of preparations shows when members stutter or can’t give a clean delivery of their arguments.
  • We know it, but we can’t tell it. We don’t back up our arguments. We state the insights, and what we think. We can’t breakdown what is in our brain, and communicate to the audience in a easy-to-digest manner.

We are a very well-matched team. There is frustration, but there is no doubt we’ll get through this. Team meetings are scheduled as usual, and we’ll discuss our areas to improve on, and ideas to further develop.

And this week, we’ll get our hands and knees dirty to find out the potential desirability of our product. Stay put!

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