Greetings! I'm Vernon and I've been testing for 20 years. I've worked with many sized companies including start-ups and scale-ups. Compared to more mature orgs, start-ups and scale-ups require (Liam Neeson voice) a certain set of skills in order to thrive. Or maybe the same skills, different emphasis.
I hope that by sharing my experience, you'll be more prepared for start-up life!
Be comfortable with autonomy
Deciding what is and isn't important to work on next, with minimal oversight, is crucial.
Why? Because everyone is charging around getting things done! Don't misunderstand me, it's not a case of "so long kid, you're on your own!". Rather, in a small team, everyone's fire fighting, hustling, validating or figuring out how to scale. So folks will expect you to spot and take responsibility for problems rather than expect someone else to.
Learn the art of testing without testing
Testing is the pursuit of quality-related information. So how else can we get that information?
There are two things we can do. One, spread testing throughout the process to reduce the risk of a bottleneck when we're testing. Two, work smart and leverage the resources and tools we have since we can't always throw money at the problem.
Speed is of the essence
Anything that slows down feedback from the market is the enemy!
We're trying to find product-market fit or figure out how to scale efficiently. The faster we do that, the better (and sometimes that's the difference between business survival or folding). Don't be too wedded to your favourite practice if it slows things down.
What do you think?
The learning opportunity at a start-up is ridiculous and I've had my most significant leaps working in those kinds of environments.
Let me know what you think!