Lessons learned by operating an AI startup

Tus Nguyen - Operations Manager @ NextSmarty

Tus Nguyen, Operations Manager @ NextSmarty

Two years ago, I joined NextSmarty and entered the startup world.

At that time there were only 4 employees in the startup, now we are more than 15 and growing.

In this article, I am sharing the main challenges and lessons learned by managing the daily operations of the company.

At that time there were only 4 employees in the startup, now we are more than 15 and growing.

In this article, I am sharing the main challenges and lessons learned by managing the daily operations of the company.

Challenges

As the manager of operations, I had to manage many challenges and make sure that we move fast and in the right direction. Some of the challenges were particularly related to the fact that we provide solutions in a relatively new field.

AI is very hot but some challenges are not easy to handle with:

  • AI projects are quite new in the software industry, there are not many processes are defined for it and the requirements sometimes are not clear.
  • To manage the complexity and the huge amounts of data, it is crucial to bring onboard members on the team that are really smart.

Lessons learned

  1. Make sure you design the right team management process and choose the right tools after. We first defined our own process and teams to fit our solutions. We tried to use many tools such as Basecamp, Trello, GitLab management tool, Jira – Confluence – Bitbucket. At first we had struggles, but eventually, we found a good setup with Jira – Confluence – Bitbucket, and now the team is very productive and able to cope with the problems that arise. We first defined our own process and teams to fit our solutions.
  2. Make sure you are delivering on your customers’ requirements. Sometimes the requirements are not clear. Most projects are under research period, they are hard to describe clearly. Being a Software as a Service provider (SaaS), we need to define clear milestones to make sure we keep delivering the results over time.
  3. Make sure you have the right network and processes to attract the best talent. Our needs were data scientists and software engineers. In order to bring the best talent to the team, we engaged in networking with our friends, former university classmates, alumni networks. This worked really well so far and the team is very strong.

About the author

Tus Nguyen, Operations Manager @ NextSmarty

I am interested in discussing with anyone interested in the challenges and best practices of managing and scaling teams in fast-growing startups.

What problems did you have scaling up your startup’s operations? How did you solve them?

Feel free to add your comment below or get in touch with me on Linkedin.