Dave Renz began his career working for a large company, but found his true passion to be startups. However, that time at an enterprise level company proved to be invaluable for instilling in him an abiding respect for processes.
“One of the challenges a lot of founders have is understanding the process they are embarking on and being realistic about what they need along the way.” At Tanooki Labs, Renz has created a company that helps startups achieve all of their technology goals. The company operates as a sort of technology co-founder, utilizing a ‘podular approach,’ to effectively offer Design, Development, Product and CTO services.“One of the challenges a lot of founders have is understanding the process they are embarking on and being realistic about what they need along the way.” - @drenz Click To Tweet
Process, Renz explains, is critical for a business to be able to scale, and at some point, as a business matures, it must firm things up. Renz believes that when people are talking about scaling, in large part what they are discussing is process. It is process which turns a new idea into something which can be structured. “One thing a startup can gain from that is sanity. When things get more process, it creates a more well-understood work environment which is better for everybody.”
Renz will take a look at how technology can become a core component of developing effective processes from the very earliest stages. From running things through for potential investors, better understanding customer behavior, or just seeking to try ideas out for yourself, there are now all kinds of tools that lead to validation perfect for creating a lean startup. Renz will take a look at some of these tools, as well as what it is possible to test with them.“When things get more process, it creates a more well-understood work environment which is better for everybody.” - @drenz Click To Tweet
- The tools and techniques for validating ideas
- What you need to know before starting development
- Options for building your product (a look at hiring vs. no-code vs. outsourcing)
- What to Expect from a good development process
- What happens after launch
When it comes to beginning development, Renz has seen projects fail because of unreasonable expectations. “To give a coder a one-sheeter and expect to have something that works in three months” is setting yourself up for failure. Yet, too often, product owners don’t know how to communicate their goals. Renz will walk through what specifications are truly necessary when going into development, from design to feature sets.
A major decision every company needs to make about their product is whether to hire the team that builds it, use a no-code/low-code option, like Bubble.io or find a middle ground through outsourcing. Renz takes a look at these options, what the trade-offs are and how to find the right fit for your company.“Startups are part of our DNA, it’s who we work with, and it keeps us really excited.” - @drenz Click To Tweet
Critical to finding success with a product launch is having a good development experience. Renz will define what that looks like, and how to prevent the common pitfalls. Most often this comes down to not setting the right expectations and not keeping everyone up-to-date on processes. This can lead to months of time where effectively nothing gets accomplished. To combat this, Tanooki Labs has a “Tanooki Pledge,” which not only outlines what they promise the client, but what they expect of the client as well. This is based on ensuring smooth communication between stakeholders and the team working on the project, making sure that expectations are understood and met on time.
Renz concludes his talk by taking a look at what happens after the launch, when it’s time to find new development work as well as new goals. In the time of hiring and growth, what does the technology still need from the ongoing project and from the team?
Tanooki Labs is no longer a startup themselves, but they continue to function with the heart and mind of a startup. While helping clients to integrate technology and build products, they help startups to grow. “Startups are part of our DNA, it’s who we work with. It’s the phase of company life that we’re really focused on and it keeps us really excited.”