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8 Ways Entrepreneurship is Like Spartan Race

SerpicoDEV CEO Vincent Serpico took part in the Spartan Obstacle Race this past weekend in cold, wet conditions (yes, even in Phoenix). A lot of preparation and training at the Rock Star Boot Camp helped him master all the obstacles in the race. Rock Star is no regular boot camp as the sense of team camaraderie and encouragement from other members makes the experienced unmatched.

Spartan Race Serpico DEVWhile entrepreneurial software development and the Spartan Race are two completely different things, there are parallels between them. Both are hard, require a lot of preparation, and have a sweet reward.  You will pivot and have to make quick decisions in both. But when it’s all said and done, you can look back and truly appreciate the journey to reach your goal.

So how do the two compare? Let’s take a look at the analogs between the Spartan Race and entrepreneurial software development.

Hire the Right Team

Both require that you have the right team around you for success.

In software development, you must decide whether to hire a team or do it yourself. It’s also important to ensure the right team is hired. Do they align with the vision of your application and business goals?

The Spartan Race is similar. Will you train with another person at the gym, go to a boot camp, or hire a personal trainer? Or will you do it on your own? Often a team approach is better for encouragement and motivation on those days you need something extra, just like in entrepreneurship.

Plan Ahead

Planning is essential for both.

Entrepreneurial software development requires planning at the beginning so your team knows what to develop and when. This keeps the team focused on the goals of the project. Sure, changes will be made to the requirements of the project but the overall goal is planned for at the start.

The approach to the Spartan Race requires planning well ahead of the race date. What kind of training is going to benefit you the most? Having a clear plan of what kind of training you need to focus on and how you are going to do it is key to a successful race day.

Manage Progress

Keeping track of your progress helps you stay on track towards your goals.

Entrepreneurship is a special scenario where you are building a business from the ground up. Making sure you are staying on track and making progress from day to day is important to a successful business. If you don’t know you’re progress, you can’t make the right decisions to be successful in the future.

It’s no different with the Spartan Race. Monitoring your progress to ensure you are becoming properly prepared as race day approaches will make the whole experience that much better. Because you definitely don’t want to start the race and realized you should have trained more.

Spartan Race SerpicoDEV

Obstacles

You will always need to face and overcome obstacles.

Entrepreneurs will face obstacles such as HR issues, cash flow, accounts payable and receives, competition, investors, deliverables and much more. Dealing with obstacles head on and overcoming them is how entrepreneurs rise to the challenge and become successful.

Spartan racers will face obstacles… literally! Like a 25-foot rope climb, an 8’ wall hop, and a mud crawl under razor-sharp barbed wire.

Accountability

Team accountability is key in getting the things accomplished that you set out to do.

In entrepreneurial software development, accountability is key for delivering a successful project. You and your team need to be accountable for what is being developed and the delivery schedule. If anyone slips up, the whole project can be derailed.

Getting up early in the morning to train for the race can get old. This is where your individual accountability comes in. Are you keeping your training regimen in tact? If you belong to a boot camp, are you training mates encouraging you? Not holding yourself accountable and missing a day or two of training can make the race experience quite painful.

Communication

Great communication with your team creates a synergy that can lead to new ideas and motivation.

Software development is a process that requires everyone to stay on the same page. Constant and open communication makes sure of this so everyone is moving in the same direction. Collaborating with your team helps identify solutions to complex problems and resolve issues that pop up quickly.

Communication isn’t only between you and another person. When training for the Spartan Race, you have to listen to what your body is telling you. Overtraining happens quite easily so if your body is telling you to hang it up for the day, then hang it up. If you have a trainer, communicate with them daily on your training, how you are feeling, and concerns. They have the expertise to help you out.

Pivots Happen

Things out of your control will force you to pivot and adjust no matter what.

During development, changing requirements or market conditions can adjust your course. It happens all the time. Being able to properly pivot for these adjustments will keep your project in tact and on the timeline towards delivery. Thinking about this ahead of time and developing software that is scalable will make pivoting easy.

When training for the race, certain parts of your body will respond better than others. This is where you may need to adjust your training routine. You may need to start focusing more on endurance or agility if they aren’t coming quite as easily. Maybe your strength is coming along great, but it’s causing your flexibility to suffer. This is where you may need to pivot.

Spartan Race SerpicoDEV

Reaching Your Goal

That day you reach your goal, whether it’s software delivery day or race day, is rewarding. You can look back at all the hard work and the path it took to get there.

Entrepreneurial software development takes a lot of twists and turns. Some days are stressful and you often have to work long, odd hours. But delivery day, when your project is complete and you can see your developed application, is so sweet. You know how much work was put in and that’s often the reward, not the compensation you get from it.

Training for an event like the Spartan Race requires dedication and a lot of desire to keep you going. You put your body in uncomfortable situations and have to find time to keep training among everything else going on in your life. But like entrepreneurship, when that day comes and you’ve finished the race, the level of gratification is unmatched. You know how much work was put in and the path it took to get there.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, entrepreneurship can be compared to any difficult event that you have to prepare for and work towards a goal. The road can be long with good days and bad but when you reach that goal, whether it’s your millionth customer or a successful exit, you look back and know that you accomplished something that not a lot of people have a chance to. The experience of starting a business from the ground up and making it a success is the reward. And no money in the world can compensate for that.

For more information on Serpico DEV and our software development services, please contact us.

Making Remote Teams Successful With Agile

Agile Remote Team SuccessElance recently celebrated its two millionth freelancer. What does this mean for the software development industry? Remote development and design teams are sticking around for the long haul. With access to lower cost talent worldwide at their fingertips, businesses will start incorporating the practice into their long-term strategy.

The recent rise of agile software development raises some questions about implementing it with remote teams. Communication, cultural challenges, and time zone differences all combine to make it sound like it’s more work than it’s worth.

But those who made it work have reaped some major benefits. Projects can be delivered faster while still maintaining high quality. Costs can be cut dramatically. The key to making this combination successful? Efficient teamwork driven by communication.

Good communication just doesn’t happen overnight with remote project teams. Several things in the Agile approach contribute to making the communication platform more effective, resulting in better teamwork. It’s sort of a chain reaction – maintain good scrum practices to ensure quality communication that improves teamwork.

Below are some tips that help a remote agile team be more effective. It may take some sweat and tears, but making it work will benefit project stakeholders at every level.

Teamwork Depends on the Agile Team

The abundance of low cost talent available remotely doesn’t mean you should just pick the lowest cost team with the best resumes. Pick people who fit your organization. Sure, you still must consider experience and education but also see that they fit the company culture and there aren’t huge language barriers.

Also, take into account the team members enthusiasm and readiness to collaborate. Good spirits and open conversations during daily scrums can motivate team members tremendously. It may also help relieve some of the pressure to contribute for those that are a little quieter.

In the end, the team members selected should always respect the project goals and do everything they can to reach those goals.

Consider Culture

Always consider the culture of your fellow team members dispersed around the world. Work hours and days, holidays, and religion can all play a major part in a team member’s schedule and availability. Be prepared ahead of time with this knowledge and communicate extensively to minimize the culture gap. This can save you a lot time and confusion.

If you know ahead of time the some cultural challenges are too difficult to overcome, try to work with countries that have traditions close to yours. Difficulties can also arise with already assembled teams. If this is the case, it may be worth it to find a person who better understands the culture and not go through the next few months trying to figure it out.

Keep the Daily Scrum (and other open discussions)

Just because your team isn’t in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful scrum. Our company does it all the time via Skype and Go To Meeting. Keep the same format with everyone speaking on the tasks they did yesterday, the tasks for today, and the problems they have encountered. But just remember, being remote makes open communication that much more important since facial expressions cannot be seen.

Besides the daily scrum, encourage open communication and discussions throughout the entire day. This can often generate new ideas or find a solution to a bug. After all, open communication is the cornerstone of a successful project.

Divide and Conquer

Divide your project into even smaller iterations and require regular software integration. This will give you more control of the real project progress and help identify where issues may arise.

Working in remote teams does come with an increased chance of misunderstandings. But by breaking the project down into smaller iterations, misunderstandings and problems can be detected much earlier. With clarification of requirements and immediate code fixing, the project can move forward in a timely manner.

Clean and Crisp

Clean, well-shaped source code can prevent headaches down the project road. Part of the agile framework includes constant updating and revising of existing code. Ensuring the code is clean, crisp, and commented can minimize the response time tremendously for requirement changes.

At the end of all agile software development projects, the code has to be handed off to the client in some manner. Well prepared documentation makes this knowledge transfer easy and cost effective. Because at some point, the client will be calling back for help.

The agile method with remote teams can indeed work and work well. There may just be a little more prep work ahead of time to ensure the project goes smoothly. Maintain proper agile practices throughout with wide open communication and you’ll be on the way to success. Borders no longer limit who we can work with so it’s best to get prepared now by embracing the trend.

For more information on SerpicoDEV’s software development services, please contact us.

Posted: December 5th, 2012
Categories: General
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