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Building a successful engineering startup

22 August 2016

There’s no right or wrong way to create startup success – just think, so many successful startups like Uber or Spotify, for example, are built on embracing the unknown. But what we do know is that they are more than just ping pong tables, bean bags and free food, particularly for an engineering venture.

While every startup’s strategy will differ, there are some common traits which can be found in the very best engineering teams.

Develop the right processes

This may be pretty basic stuff for the engineers amongst us, but ensuring the correct procedures are in place from the get-go is essential to ensuring the smooth running of your startup. Identify what you need to build and then create a plan around how that will be implemented, involving all relevant parties. Creating a broader awareness of the end goal makes team members feel more comfortable and willing to work as a team – they know what’s expected, when and what needs to be delivered. When your engineers are focused together and engaged, there are no limits to what can be achieved.

Smart recruitment strategy

Recruitment is another important factor when building your startup. You need the right people on board who are just as motivated as you are towards making your vision a reality. Personal referrals work well in startup environments, as they allow existing employees to contribute and help shape the team. Performing strategic searches on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn is also beneficial. Equally as important as hiring the best engineering talent is ensuring new-starters have their own voice within the business, fostering an environment where they can express ideas and influence change.

Strong leadership that inspires

Arguably, the most critical component of an engineering startup is strong leadership. So what makes a good leader in an engineering startup workplace? Communication is key, as it helps eliminate errors, redundancy and frustration while boosting productivity, efficiency and cohesiveness. Of course, finding the right balance between enough and too much is just as important. Strong leaders also tackle issues head-on and as quickly as possible. As their job often involves fixing problems, engineers don’t work too well in dysfunctional environments, so addressing this – or even asking your engineering team to help find a solution – is great startup thinking.

Finally, a leader’s attitude towards recognition affects not only productivity but work culture as a whole. Encourage imagination and bring new ideas to the table, then reward for individual innovation and achievement. Creating an overly competitive atmosphere won’t do anyone any favours, but give credit where credit is due.

Think you have what it takes to lead a startup engineering team? SCU Online’s Master of Engineering Management develops critical thinking and business skills similar to those learnt in an MBA, but tailors it specifically to the field of engineering.

Get in touch with a Student Enrolment Advisor today on 1300 589 882 to see how you can lead your career in the right direction.