Eight Important Principles of Startup Software Engineering

The software engineering that makes a startup successful is not the kind you learned in school.

Too many first-time early stage technical leaders make the mistake of building for the approval of their computer science professors instead of the venture they’re entrusted with making successful. And less-technical founders take their advice, not necessarily knowing any better.

Don’t get me wrong: the principles of software engineering taught in school are actually correct … for stable companies, established product categories, or road-tested markets. Lord knows we don’t want anything experimental controlling our surgical robots or managing our air traffic. Very few startups fall into that category, and using formal software engineering principles almost always hurts the ability of the startup to succeed.

Here’s an infographic with Eight Important Principles of Startup Software Engineering and how they differ from “Correct” Software Engineering.

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Michael Sattler

With a career spent in founding and technical leadership roles with new and enterprise-level organizations, Michael Sattler is a veteran in technology strategy, operations, and product management. He’s spent decades in B2B and B2C SaaS product development, software and application design, engineering operations, new venture creation, and innovation practices.

He has scaled and managed technical teams from 2-50+ across three continents, led large-scale cross-functional program management, and founded or co-founded six companies.