Startup Operations 101

Tactful Xperts |
7 min read
By Ihab Tag

The way of doing business has changed dramatically during this decade in comparison to the previous one, especially in the realm of software startups that are tackling innovative solutions with a high level of uncertainty, a lot of assumptions, and massive underlying ambiguities.

Any individual who is engaging in the process of creating new innovative solutions is a stakeholder who has some personal interest, POV, and motivation that drives his/her efforts with other stakeholders to reach their common goals.

The stakeholders represent all the persons who are collaborating to create and deliver value to customers across all the organization levels and functional departments, from the frontliners to the CEO.

For those cross-functional teams to collaborate effectively and efficiently, they should operate through the main custom framework (operating system) that is tailor-made for their needs and capabilities. This operating system is composed of mini-functional sub-frameworks (operating programs) that suit each business unit specialty.

The main challenge for every individual stakeholder is to have the necessary knowledge and skills within his/her direct operating program while not missing the bigger picture of how these programs interact with each other in the main operating system to move toward the common goals of the organization. In other words, how these functional teams should overcome working in silos and start to interact with each other to move in synergy and avoid collision and blocking each other.

To achieve this, there are a lot of standard functional frameworks that are designed to tackle the functional challenges that face different teams, each team should master its own operating program while having the necessary basic knowledge about other teams operating programs and the entire operating system that holds this pieces together to keep the machine running smoothly.

In the following sections, we will explore the different types of operating programs, their benefits and which stakeholders must master, and what the other teams should know about.

The Lean Startup Framework

Is a must for → Founder – C-level Executives

Is nice to know for → All levels of middle leadership in a startup

This is the core philosophy and methodology that is used for maximizing the probability of building a successful modern startup. It emerged to help manage the high level of uncertainty associated with finding innovative solutions for existing/emerging problems that can profitable and scalable.

The basic idea is to iteratively validate each assumption about the intended business models before moving on to the next one through the famous “build, measure, learn” loop to decrease the waste, validating the direction and work evidence based to deliver real values that satisfy customer needs.


Concepturealize™: a new contribution to generate real-needs-focussed, user-centred, lean business models

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth

The Agile Mindset

Is a must for → All

This is the engineering equivalent to the Lean Methodology, while the business moves iteratively to validate ideas and assumptions, the builders “engineers“ should work in a similar way to add incremental values to the solution to help validate the solution assumptions and iteratively learn from the real world, then using these learning outcomes to persevere/pivot the startup direction.

The most basic form of the manifesto states that: –

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan


Manifesto for Agile Software Development

The Agile Scrum

Is a must for → Engineering Team – Product Teams

Is nice to know for → Marketing – Sales

From the womb of agile methodology, a lot of execution frameworks have emerged to serve different development objectives, one of them is the agile scrum framework that is utilized to develop a new solution and incrementally add value to them according to the validated learning. It structures the human resources in scrum team(s) and organizes the value delivery stream in scrum sprints to develop recognized values in the product backlog.


Scrum Methodology | Agile Scrum Framework | Scrum Master Tutorial | Edureka

Scrum vs Kanban | Difference between Scrum and Kanban | Scrum Master Certification | Edureka

The Agile Kanban

Is a must for → Engineering Teams – Customer Support Teams

Is nice to know for → Marketing Teams – Sales Teams – Product Teams

It is all about visualizing your work, limiting work in progress, and maximizing efficiency (or flow). Kanban teams focus on reducing the time a project takes (or user story) from start to finish. They do this by using a kanban board and continuously improving their flow of work.

Due to the continuous flow cadence of Kanban, it’s widely adopted by customer support engineering teams who continuously work on customers’ tickets, CRs, and bug fixes.


Kanban vs. scrum: which agile are you?

Learn Kanban Boards and WIP Limits | PMI – ACP | Edureka

Scrum vs Kanban | Difference between Scrum and Kanban | Scrum Master Certification | Edureka

The Design Thinking Methodology

Is a must for → All levels of leadership

Is nice to know for → Frontliners

Design thinking is an iterative process in which you seek to understand your users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions which you can prototype and test. The overall goal is to identify alternative strategies and solutions that are not instantly apparent with your initial level of understanding.

Design thinking is more than just a process; it opens up an entirely new way to think, and it offers a collection of hands-on methods to help you apply this new mindset.


What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular?

The Design Thinking Process

The Design Sprints

Design sprints are an intense 5-day process where user-centered teams tackle design problems. Working with expert insights, teams ideate, prototype, and test solutions on selected users. Google’s design sprint is the framework to map out challenges, explore solutions, pick the best ones, create a prototype and test it.

Is a must for → Product Designers – Product Teams

Is nice to know for → Engineering Teams


What’s a Design Sprint and why is it important?

Design Thinking Vs Design Sprints (What’s The Difference)

The Dual Agile

Is a must for → Product Designers – Product Team – Engineering Teams

Is nice to know for → Marketing Teams – Sales Teams

Dual-track agile is an agile methodology that contains two separate tracks. There’s the “Discovery” track, and the “Delivery” track. The discovery track focuses on producing, testing, and validating product ideas. The delivery track works on turning those ideas into an actual product. The main issue that the discovery track came to tackle is to validate the product ideas with customers before investing time and money to actually build them, hence decreasing the waste and focusing on the most valuable ideas that deliver the highest value to the customers.


Dual-Track Agile – ProductBoard

Dual-Track Agile – ProductPLan

Dual Track Agile – UXDC Youtube Channel

The Scaled Agile Framework

Is a must for → All levels of leadership – Product Teams – Engineering Teams

Is nice to know for → Marketing Teams – Sales Teams

The are a lot of scaled agile frameworks out there, and each one of them suits different kinds of teams and organizations according to their overall size and the solutions’ complexity and interdependencies.

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale. The framework is a body of knowledge that includes structured guidance on roles and responsibilities, how to plan and manage the work, and values to uphold.

SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams. It was formed around three primary bodies of knowledge: agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking.


What is SAFe?

SAFe Explained in Five Minutes

SAFe 5.0 Framework

The Digital Marketing Frameworks

Is a must for → marketing sales product managers

Is nice to know for → Engineering Leaders – Product Owners

A digital marketing framework is a model that defines marketing processes and workflows and outlines crucial components and touchpoints in the buyer journey. Executing marketing activities with a digital marketing strategy framework ensures a 360 perspective and nothing gets lost in action.

There are many digital marketing strategy frameworks, each one addressing a specific marketing process or approach. Some frameworks combine aspects of others, while others stand independently. Businesses must first understand their objectives and priorities before choosing a digital marketing strategy framework that helps achieve their goals.


Digital Marketing Strategy Frameworks

The 9 Best Marketing Frameworks You Need to Know

The Sales and Commercial Methodologies

Is a must for → Marketing Teams – Sales Teams – Product Managers

Is nice to know for → Engineering Leaders – Product Owners

A sales methodology is a framework or set of principles that guide your sales reps to close clients. It takes goals and turns them into actionable steps for your reps to complete during each stage of the sales process. And at the core of any methodology, there is a sales model which is a business’s specific approach to selling and outlines how to make a sales methodology work. Unlike a sales process, a sales model usually doesn’t apply to the entire sales cycle.

Methodologies or models tend to be best practices relevant to one specific part of the sales cycle — whether in the qualification, discovery, demo, or follow-up stages of the process.


12 Best Sales Methodologies & Customer-Centric Selling Systems

7 Sales Methodologies For SaaS & How to Pick the One For Your Business

Frameworks That Govern B2B Marketing and Sales and Why SaaS Needs its Own Framework

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About Tactful AI

Tactful is a leading and private technology company based in the UK, with a presence in EMEA. Tactful offers omnichannel and AI-powered customer experience software to help businesses thrive by enabling meaningful and effective engagement with their customers across touchpoints. Tactful UCX is a comprehensive customer experience platform that incorporates all technologies and tools businesses need to deliver the best customer experience, reduce costs, and boost customer loyalty and sales.

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