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Posts Tagged ‘startup’

Spotlight Selected for Venture Madness

Help Spotlight Software move through the field of 64 and win the Venture Madness!

We are proud to be selected as one of the 64 participants in the Invest Southwest Venture MadnessThis innovative competition pits 64 of the region’s most promising startups against each other in an exciting bracket-style, head-to-head competition. In round 1, we are up against a very worthy competitor in Brett Approved and need your help!

Watch our video for the competition below and cast your vote for Spotlight here.

 


Spotlight Partner Feature: CEI Gateway

CEI Gateway PartnershipSpotlight Software and The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) at GateWay Community College have formed a partnership to support their companies with software development projects and strategy. Companies at CEI have started taking advantage of the free-year subscription to Spotlight and some mentorship opportunities that the partnership provides.

As part of the partnership, Spotlight CEO Vincent Serpico has already participated in CEI’s SmartBoard Tuesdays, showing the steps to effectively managing a virtual team of software developers. This quick 5-minute video highlights the main points of planning your software project all the way through delivery.

CEI provides business incubation services to assist its startup clients in building a strong foundation for long-term growth. Each resident client operates their business out of the CEI facility and takes advantage of a dynamic business environment without the overhead costs. Affiliate clients already operate out of their own space and can utilize the facility when needed for meetings or conferences. Both clients have access to all business incubation services, which include:

  • Business planning and management
  • Assistance with funding
  • Patent advisement services
  • Mentoring and education programs
  • Collaboration with local universities
  • Coordination with area partners
  • Education seminars and networking

CEI currently has 11 clients, 8 residential and 3 affiliate, in a variety of industries from biotechnology to clean energy. To become a client, startups and entrepreneurs must go through a challenging application process to ensure they are a fit for the incubation program. CEI carefully selects their clients after a review of a number of criteria that helps ensure a proper fit between CEI and the potential client.

If you are in the Phoenix area, CEI will be hosting its grand opening on Thursday, March 7th from 10:00 – 11:00 am at the CEI GateWay facility. Come learn more about the program and meet the exceptional clients and staff they have on hand.

Spotlight is excited to engage with CEI and their clients to assist them with their software development planning and execution strategies. For more information on CEI, its clients, and incubation services, please visit their website or contact them directly.

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


Entrepreneurship and The Spartan Race: A Comparison

Spartan RaceSpotlight 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.

While 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.

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

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 Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


Friday Findings: Startups, Agile Development, & Freelance

Every Friday, Spotlight will publish a blog article with links to articles and news relevant to managing virtual project teams, the overall globalization of the world’s workforce, and some entrepreneurship mixed in. We hope you find some quality information and maybe even learn a thing or two to get a discussion started with your colleagues.

Today we cover several things on startups, agile software development, and the state of the freelance market from Elance. Preview: The freelance market is booming.

The Findings

  • When building a startup around an app, there are certain situations where you should only build a MVP and release to the masses. But there are also situations where the MVP may not be the best approach. Here are 3 reasons not to build a MVP.
  • The first step in building a successful startup is a business idea. But how do you know if your business idea will translate to a successful business? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself when testing an idea.
  • As an Agile software developer, there are many things that need to be considered when looking for the right employer. Here are 10 questions an Agile developer should ask potential employers.
  • Elance released their Global Online Employment Report recently and as expected, the industry is booming. Elance calls 2013 The Year of the Freelance.
  • A new Agile team faces its fair share of challenges in getting started and being productive. Rally Software lists the top 10 mistakes made by new Agile teams and how to remedy them.
  • With Agile development, software release schedules are compressed into weeks and even days. CIO discusses 3 ways to be more Agile with software shipping decisions.
  • The benefits of mobile-enabling the employee for any sized company are plentiful. Wipro looks at employee self service in the mobile environment. For even more information, download their document on the huge benefits of enabling the mobile employee.
  • A great article from George Anders at Forbes magazine on how great leaders communicate. Lots of tips that apply to everyone in the business world in some way.
  • Here is an interesting piece of news showing Google’s grip on Silicon Valley. An $82 million airport just for business executives?

Are there other topics you are interested in relevant to virtual software teams, Agile teams, or entrepreneurship? Leave us a comment and we’ll do the research for you!

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.


CEI Presentation: Hiring a Virtual Development Team

As an entrepreneur trying to get your first business off the ground, one of the most important things to do is create that first software application. Whether it’s a web app for marketing or a software as a service platform, startup success often depends directly on that app. It’s your gateway to paying customers.

How to hire a virtual development team

Last week, Spotlight CEO Vincent Serpico spoke to a hungry group of entrepreneurs on creating that first business app and how to hire a virtual development team. The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) near downtown Phoenix hosted the event with a great turnout of almost 40 attendees.

Creating your startup’s very first app will often require a virtual development team. This is usually the most cost effective method while your budget is still very small. Serpico outlines how to hire and manage a quality virtual development team covering these points:

  • Hiring a virtual development team – Choosing the right team for your business will make life much easier through the development project. Make sure you choose based on your project goals and thoroughly vet each developer.
  • Planning – Planning your development project is like a blueprint for a house; you must have a clear path of what you want to accomplish.
  • Executing – Keep your virtual development team communicating and accountable for all tasks in the project. Daily standup meetings, regular status updates, and daily progress reports all contribute to efficient execution.

Successfully planning and implementing these tactics will give an entrepreneur or startup great results. Once a virtual development team is hired, Spotlight gives you a centralized platform to communicate and collaborate with your team while the project is moving forward. Efficient communication among virtual team members increases productivity and shortens project delivery times.

You can view the slides below or listen to the entire presentation from CEI Gateway’s video center. Lots of good interaction by the attendees made for a very engaging conversation.

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Apps from Spotlight Software

For more information on Spotlight Software and our services, please contact us or visit our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.