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Michel Duchateau will be the facilitator of Startup Weekend Changemakers. He’s a Global Facilitator of Startup Weekend Europe, the Founder of CreaDelta.be , a Startup coach, an Agile trainer, and the Curator of Startup Digest Brussels. Here’s what he wants to tell you if you want to win Startup Weekend.

I took part in almost 20 Startup Weekends, and each time I noticed that most of the teams lost precious time and focus in various ways.

DON’T:

  • Run an endless giant brainstorming session with all team members.
  • Ask every team member to give his/her opinion on every idea, action and suggestion.
  • Plan the weekend using a detailed agenda for everyone.

These are the best ways to break down the creativity, spontaneity, and motivation of your team members.

Hopefully, other teams have used key entrepreneurial best practices that are really easy to learn, and really powerful. Check them out!

1. Work in iterations of 2 hours

Don’t plan everything, just do it.

Some Startup Weekend wining teams have worked step-by-step in sequences of 2 hours. These time-boxed sequences are called iterations in the Agile world.

Every 2 hours, all team members stop working and, together, go through what has been done. Then they fix an objective for the next iteration.

In that way, the team keeps the focus on achievable objectives, instead of working on endless tasks for a long-term objective. Moreover, the team updates the direction of the project based on experience, outcomes and insights, taking into account new opportunities and results in real time.

By moving step-by-step, the team focuses on project results instead of project management. They drastically reduce their “time-to-market”.

2. Form 2 subgroups

By forming two cooperating subgroups, the team effectively divides its forces: one subgroup working on the problem, and the other one on the solution.

The first subgroup works on identifying their customers and their needs. They get out of the building to interview potential customers and pick up the phone to prospect. In other words, they regroup market information for the team.

The second subgroup works on making a prototype (called Minimum Viable Product by lean entrepreneurs). They design, code and build the functionalities of the product.

Both subgroups debrief every 2 hours together.

3. Use simple visual tools

One of the best Agile tools used during Startup Weekend is the Kanban board.

It is a visual management tool representing the tasks to be done for the ongoing iteration. It helps the entire team to get an overview of where they stand and what has to be done.

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4. Focus on the startup trinity

Best teams work on these 3 questions simultaneously:

  • Who are the customers and what are they needs?
  • What solution should be built?
  • Is the business model viable?

Winning teams have achieved to get:

  • Paying customers
  • A running prototype
  • A validated business model.

The winning team of Startup Weekend Brussels 2013, Meet Ginger, performed outstandingly because they rigorously practiced Agile. They successfully got paying customers after 40 hours of project development.

Come to Startup Weekend to use Agile best practices, to collaborate efficiently with your teammates.

And remember: it’s not about the idea, it’s about the execution! J

See you there!

Michel

 

Marie-AmŽlie Lenaerts