Clearly Defined Responsibilities. I want to know what are and what are not my responsibilities. I also would like each worker to know what every other colleague is [not] responsible for. I would like this to be in writing so that we don’t end up intruding on each others’ work. I realize this is (dare I say) a luxury in startups especially if the product is artistic in nature. If we have this down in writing and enforced, then we all know where we stand in the company. And knowing where we stand creates a sense of responsibility, accountability, and belonging.
Clear Mission and Vision. Everyone should know what the company’s objectives are besides what the products are. Everyone should also know what the company wants to see in the near and distant future. Yes, have these in writing. This is so when we’re asked about the company we work for, we have a more firm answer.
Established Process. Everyone should know how the product is developed, deployed, and maintained. There are a lot of decisions to be made here, but at a minimum, the company should implement version control, each developer gets a local copy of projects so they can debug and test locally before submitting. Under any circumstance, spontaneity needs to be tamed (especially management), there needs to be a push for consistency and effective communication.
Education. With deadlines and customer requirements, it is often difficult to set some time aside for learning new technology and practices. I’m not asking for the company to send me back to school or for us to attend seminars (but I wouldn’t refuse if they offered) but at least give us some time to learn new stuff and even build a mock-up version of our current products that implement the new technology.