The Lean Startup Problem

The Lean Startup Problem
Discover how staff augmentation helps startups stay lean while expanding their team, giving access to new expertise, saving costs, and scaling up.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an entrepreneur that has not read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

It has become a landmark piece and a cornerstone of launching your own tech business.

The book outlines a methodology for creating and managing startups in a more efficient and effective way. It also emphasizes the importance of experimentation, iteration, and continuous learning in the development of new products and services. 

But above all, it teaches you to keep things small while you grow - or at least as much as you can.

That means running with a smaller team while trying to build a leading product or service, no easy feat for an experienced team,  never mind a brand new startup one.

The Challenge of Building A Lean Startup

Entrepreneurs need to build a product, measure its impact, and learn from the feedback to iterate and improve the product. In the Lean Startup way, this cycle should ideally be repeated continuously to improve the product and achieve product-market fit. 

But most startups never get to this point - if they even get to launch an MVP at all.

This is usually because of a few reasons. Lean startups usually operate with limited resources, which can make it difficult to build a product, hire a team, and eventually acquire customers unless they’re making use of venture capital. 

For entrepreneurs, there is a need to be resourceful and creative in finding ways to stretch their resources and get the most out of what they have. All while there is always a risk that the product or service won't be successful, which can be challenging to deal with emotionally and financially.

Therefore building with a small, inexperienced team can be limiting, especially so if the team is new to each other. 

A small startup team typically has limited expertise and resources, which can further get in the way of their ability to develop and execute certain business functions. For example, a small team may not have the expertise or resources to develop a complex software platform or handle complex legal and regulatory issues on their first try.

And then they fail, the team disperses and the dream of a new product or service goes out the window - all that effort wasted with no opportunity to iterate or grow.

Problems With The Lean Startup Approach

The Lean Startup approach, while life-changing for many, does have some serious drawbacks for startups too.

For example, this model can sometimes lead to a lack of focus because it encourages startups to experiment with many different ideas and projects. This can result in a scattered approach that doesn't allow the startup to achieve any significant breakthroughs. And doing this with limited resources can be an enormous challenge.

This approach can be intense and require a lot of work, experimentation, and iteration from your small team. This can lead to burnout among team members, especially if they feel like they're constantly working on new projects and ideas with no end in sight.

Keeping It Lean While Expanding Your Team

Luckily, there is another way to avoid the risk of failure as a small startup team.

Staff augmentation is a popular strategy for startups looking to keep their teams lean while still achieving their goals. This strategy involves hiring external professionals to supplement the existing team and perform specific tasks or projects over a shorter or longer period of time.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest advantages of this approach.

Hiring full-time employees can be expensive for startups, especially when they are just starting. Staff augmentation allows them to avoid the costs associated with salaries, benefits, and overhead, which can be significant when it comes to saving money.

Staff augmentation also allows startups to be more flexible with their team size. They can quickly scale up or down depending on the project's demands without having to worry about the overhead costs of hiring, training, and maintaining a full-time employee. 

Even better, staff augmentation gives the startup access to expertise it might not have otherwise. By outsourcing specific tasks to external professionals, startups can focus on their core competencies, which can be essential in achieving success in a competitive market.

You can see why this approach can help startups save, become more efficient and access new expertise.

Why NineTwoThree Offers Development Staff Augmentation

Through our work as a venture studio, we come across a lot of startups funded or bootstrapped. And one thing has been prominent in all of them - there is a distinct need for these companies to expand their teams with experts without committing to a full-time hire.

This inspired us: what if we could take our expert development team of over a decade and offer supplemental staff services to startups and established tech brands? They’d get to reap all the advantages of having our experts on their team without having to worry about hiring, onboarding, and training them.

Our team can simply join and just get started - and also gain key insights into new industries, improve themselves, and build up NineTwoThree.

If you just hire an engineer, you will have to manage them, create tasks, and ensure they are delivering. It is a lot of work - we know this firsthand. This is why for all of our augmentatoin packages we provide three teammates. A Project Manager, Engineer, and Quality Engineer. 

In comparison to doing lean startup development alone, development augmentation is incredibly flexible with a full-stack agency like NineTwoThree. It allows you to maintain your core engineering team in-house, then freely add or remove people from the co-team as you need them. 

We also had to make sure that our team would seamlessly integrate with the startup’s team and provide the transparency needed to ensure that projects are completed on-time every time. The obvious solution was to let startups know exactly where a project stands every week. We even allow you to monitor our project management boards and are fully transparent.

Ultimately, for startups utilizing staff augmentation, it helps cut operational costs by hiring the top 1% of developers who will produce equivalent quality and quantity of work at a fractional cost over the length of a startup’s project.

There when you need them, gone when you don’t. That’s our goal with this new service, and we’re excited to meet new companies that are looking to expand their team with experts in machine learning, IoT, app development, and more, for less.

Andrew Amann
Andrew Amann
Building a NineTwoThree Studio
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