All posts in Tech & Startups


The Importance of Core Values: How to Captivate Customers & Compel Teams

importance of core values

“Well-defined values don’t sound like the safe platitudes of a Hallmark card”Patrick M. Lencioni, Management guru

Lencioni also wrote that “Most values statements are bland, toothless, or just plain dishonest. [They] create cynical and dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial credibility.”

For early stage startups, formal value statements are multi-functional; they should help your team understand and act on your internal best practices and empower them to make decisions that will benefit the company as a whole.

These values are the boundaries within which your business will operate in pursuit of its goals, and set the tone for day-to-day operations.

Think of core values as one of the three pillars of principle holding up your business operations; the other two being mission and vision.

In this Process Street article, we’ll explore why core values are important, how they align with mission and vision, and some examples of core values from other companies.

We’ve also got some statements from our own team about how they live and act on our own internal values in their day-to-day work.

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Ditch Scrum! 3 Shape Up Processes & Checklists to 5x Your Dev Cycle

Shape-Up-processes
We’ve cut our development cycle by 70% since making the move to Shape Up.

This alternative development method is a breath of fresh air from all things Scrum, Agile, Kanban, Scrumban, Fake Agile, Bad Agile… you get my drift.

What started off as Basecamp‘s internal approach to developing and shipping software at lightning speed, has become a clearly written (and illustrated), freely contributed, and easily accessible e-book: Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters.

Although I sincerely recommend you read the book, this post is here to save you from studying the 143 pages of text by providing you with three nifty checklist templates. The checklists take you through the Shape Up process and its 3 key phases: Shaping, betting, and building.

In this post, I’ll briefly touch on the fundamental concepts of Shape Up’s approach. I’ll also introduce each of the phases and their corresponding checklist.

Let’s get shaping!
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Should You Be More Product Oriented? Practical Advice From Wes Bush

Should You Be More Product Oriented? Practical Advice From Wes Bush

When I was still teaching, the three main points of advice I found myself repeating were:

  1. Take your time.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

As it turns out, those three statements apply to most things in life – including business. Especially business.

I know. We’ve been in an era of calculated risk, mainlining entrepreneurial spirit, and the pervasive (-ly annoying) go-big-or-go-home philosophy for so long that “going above and beyond” isn’t even status quo; it’s bare minimum requirements.

Hear me out.

No matter what else you’re doing with your company, you have to take care of your customers. You have to understand them: what they want, what they need, and what they will need down the road.

That understanding of your customer and their relationship with your product is a crucial aspect of becoming a successful product-oriented business.

So you’ve read our previous post on product-led growth (PLG) and now know all the nuts and bolts of a PLG go-to-market strategy. It’s a super-exciting concept and exactly the direction you’ve wanted to take your company in.

But. (There’s always a “but.”)

Your business – the entire customer lifecycle every user of your product goes through – revolves around the traditional sales-led approach of painstakingly coaxing every customer through each step of the sales cycle from demo to trial to paying user.

You can’t go in tomorrow morning, clear out all your established processes, and tell your sales team: Right, we’re totally changing everything right this second. Even if your sales team doesn’t laugh you out of the office, it’s not going to work.

So how do you navigate that transition and maintain your success?

I didn’t know the answer to that, so for this Process Street post, I went straight to the horse’s mouth (🐴) and asked PLG champ, author, and founder Wes Bush about how to make PLG work and become a successful, product-oriented company.

Let’s get started!
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Business Plan vs. Business Proposal: What’s The Difference?

Business Plan vs. Business Proposal What’s The DifferenceSeema is a Product Expert at Revv, a leading document management software and eSignature company that provides business document templates that help run your business. She believes in the power of words and storytelling and loves spending her time creating exciting and knowledgeable content of the SaaS world. When not working, you can often find her watching adorable pups videos, or experimenting with recipes!

“Ok, so you sell things.”

Well, honestly, I wasn’t surprised or peeved at the half-baked knowledge of my friend’s father when he made a snap judgment and conveniently labeled my marketing profession as sales.

After all, this wasn’t my first time when someone tagged me as a salesperson. So, I took a deep breath and explained to him how sales are different from marketing.

We, humans, dwell in a herd mentality and hone our word skills from our surroundings. Sometimes, we are simply careless, sometimes oblivious, but most of the time, we actually don’t know that the word has a different meaning.

This can be ignored in a casual conversation, but using the wrong words in a business space can change the implied meaning and lead to miscommunication. For example, cost vs. price, digitization vs. digitalization, warranty vs. guarantee, machine learning vs. artificial intelligence, etc.

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” C. S. Lewis

This Process Street guest post untangles the confusion between two crucial terms – business plan and business proposal. These are used interchangeably in the business world, but their meaning and application are pretty different.

Words are the building blocks of communication. There is a French phrase for using the right word – le mot juste.

Let us strive for le mot juste!

Hop on and be a part of this fantabulous journey.

Here we go! 🚀
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An Interview with Ivy: Shape Up From a Product Designer’s Perspective

shape ups design processI wrote a post about Shape Up, a development methodology, and you the reader wanted me to dive deeper. So, I did just that and interviewed Process Street’s Product Designer, Ivy.

Ivy answers common questions concerning how Shape Up works in practice, and although I briefly touch on the core phases of Shape Up’s approach, this post should be seen as a follow up to my original post which provides a full low-down of what Shape Up is and how it differs from alternative development methods like Scrum and Kanban.

So, make sure to read my last post on Shape Up so you have all the context you need for this post.

In this post, we’ll be covering:

Let’s kick things off with a brief re-cap of Shape Up’s key phases 🚀.
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When You Need an HR Team and How to Build One Effectively

When You Need an HR Team and How to Build One Effectively

It’s 4:55 on a sunny Friday afternoon. You have a whole weekend of relaxing in the backyard planned. Maybe you’ll have friends over for a barbecue, or finally finish that crime thriller you started last year and forgot about. There’s always that super-extended director’s cut of a film from four years ago that just came out.

You’re blissfully contemplating all your stress-free options when your line manager pops their head in and cheerily says, “HR wants to see you first thing Monday morning. Have a great weekend!”

It's all fun and games until someone calls HR
(Source)

The truth is, the role of HR teams – and even the name – has evolved quite a bit over the years, though its reputation hasn’t been quite so quick to keep up. People Teams, as all the start-ups are calling it these days, still have a vital role to play in the structure and organization of a company, though.

So, when is it time to create a super team-up for your start-up? More importantly, how do you do it?

I sat down with Process Street’s own VP of People, Jay Hanlon, to talk:

Come on in and have a seat!
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Airbnb’s Growth Strategy: How to Make $3.4B in ARR & IPO During A Pandemic

airbnbs growth strategy

I’m writing a post about Airbnb, from an Airbnb.

Ironic yes, but not unlikely.

In 2019, Airbnb hosted 272 million bookings globally. And, in 2020, despite a global pandemic restricting travel, Airbnb suffered relatively minimal losses of only 22%.

2020 was also the year Airbnb decided to go IPO, despite the global pandemic, a significant drop in revenue, and global travel restrictions.

How did they manage it? A growth strategy like no other, that’s how.

This Process Street blog post takes a deep dive into Airbnb’s growth strategy, how they got where they are today, and where they could be going. To skip to a specific section of the post click the appropriate link below:

Let’s start with where it all began, with 3 air beds.🛌
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Project Onboarding Hacks for a Successful Project Launch

Project Onboarding Hacks for a Successful Project LaunchThis is a guest post by Elizabeth Harrin, who runs the GirlsGuideToPM blog. She’s an author and mentor who loves demystifying project management, cats, and growing vegetables.

Your boss hands you a new project to run and mentions that some people are already lined up to help get it done. Great, you think. So, you call the first one on the list, but they don’t really know anything about the project, beyond the fact they’ve been ‘volunteered’ by their team leader.

This is where you switch into onboarding mode.

As a project manager, one of the first things to do is get the project team together. You need to build a team that has a common goal and that knows how the work is going to get done. That doesn’t happen overnight but you can certainly influence the speed (and willingness) of people to get involved with your project if you introduce them to the work in a structured way.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips for onboarding new people to a project team. I’ll also draw on the experience of other practicing project managers who have shared their stories so you can quickly get your projects off the ground with a team that knows what to do. To jump to a specific section click the link below.

Alternatively, just keep scrolling. 🚀
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5 SaaS Renewal Best Practices (That Actually Work!) for Retaining Customers & Improving Renewals

saas renewal best practices

Every 28 days, a lovely Hermes delivery-person brings a crate of the world’s finest craft beer to my house.

But if it were up to me, I wouldn’t receive these beer boxes at all.

In early 2020, I tried to unsubscribe from [REDACTED] — a monthly beer subscription company — as I felt it was an unnecessary expense. I soon realized, though, that unsubscribing would be a Herculean task. There was no way to cancel digitally, and if I wanted to stop my subscription altogether, I’d need to ring them up during their (very limited) business hours.

Having to go through all that rigmarole dissuaded me from unsubscribing.

Annoyingly, I’m still receiving my delicious craft beers a year later.

These frustrating (read: unethical) tactics to stop customers from unsubscribing have been deployed by all manner of companies — from those in the food and drinks industry, all the way to those in the tech world.

And while it may seem tempting for your SaaS company to do similar, it’s nothing more than a quick win when, in reality, you should be focusing on improving the customer lifecycle. After all, it’s positive business-to-customer interactions that’ll stop people from wanting to unsubscribe in the first place.

That’s why, in this Process Street post, I’ll be discussing SaaS renewal. I’ll go over the definition of SaaS renewal, explain why customers think about unsubscribing from SaaS products, and provide you with actionable SaaS renewal best practices that’ll stop folks from hitting that unsubscribe button. (Providing you have one!)

Read through these sections to get in the know:

You’re about to become a SaaS renewal pro — let’s cheers to that! 🍻
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The Minimum Virtuous Product: Is the Move Fast & Break Things Era Behind Us?

Minimum Virtuous ProductIf you’re moving fast and breaking things, at what point in time do you realize things are broken?

When there is public uproar against your product? Such as the Amazon case in 2019 involving job listings for the role of “union buster” (someone who reports on fellow employees seeking fair labor practices).

Or, when regulators come down on you like a ton of bricks? As was (and continues to be) experienced by Airbnb whose platform has been home to grotesque racial discrimination.

Allow me to introduce the topic of this blog post: The minimum virtuous product (MVP).

It seems the concept behind the traditional minimal viable product (MVP) which prioritizes quick launches and basic feature sets has been replaced by something a little more virtuous. The new MVP, minimum virtuous product, encourages companies to focus on diversity and transparency by building morally sound design principles, from the start.

This post will take a look at what this change in acronym has to do with the way companies grow and scale; along with an eight-question framework that will help start-ups assess the social impact of their products; and finally, it will cover what moving with virtue could mean for future startups.

To skip to a specific section of the post click on the appropriate link below:

Alternatively, just keep scrolling to read the whole post.
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