The Relevance of Teamwork in Software Startups

The Relevance of Teamwork in Software Startups

Fernando Almeida (Polytechnic Institute of Gaya, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJSS.2019070102

Abstract

Software startups have a major role in the market challenging existing models and enabling the emergence of new technologies with high economic and social impact. This study aimed to explore this phenomenon by characterizing the processes and challenges that are placed in the software startups related to the workgroup in the entrepreneurial teams and in the context of their business activities. The study uses a qualitative approach through the realization of three case studies with Portuguese startups software. The study uses a qualitative approach through the realization of three case studies with startups software. The main results have demonstrated the high importance of human capital in these organizations that is leveraged through teamwork in teams formally established for this purpose, but above all, it is important to highlight the role that informal communication assumes in the growth process of these startups.
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1. Introduction

Entrepreneurship is a symbol of risk, rupture and paradigm shift. The entrepreneur brings together behavioral competencies (e.g. strategic vision, leadership, communication, decision making) that are fundamental in business development. Meanwhile, the software business market has grown exponentially on a global scale, competition is intensifying, and technologies are developing at a vertiginous pace leaving products rapidly obsolete. As a result, companies have felt the need to bring new products and/or services with high quality and innovative attributes to the market more quickly and at competitive prices. It is in this context that we have seen the accelerated growth of entrepreneurship, particularly technological entrepreneurship in software engineering, triggered by startups. According to Berg et al. (2018), these startups are characterized by a strong commitment to generate new business ideas, continuous innovation, few employees, uncertain environments, and offer great potential for value creation in a short period of time.

The entrepreneur has the ability to be constantly on the lookout for scarce resources that are not being properly exploited or that have not received the deserved attention of the community. However, these resources can be a good source of business opportunity to launch something distinctive in the market. Entrepreneurs play a key role in the market economy, the results of which provide society with wealth, jobs, and greater choice for consumers. The findings obtained by Rotar et al. (2019) and Savlovsch & Robu (2011) reveal that small and micro companies, rather than large companies, are the largest generators of new jobs in developed economies. Thus, countries with higher rates of entrepreneurial initiative tend to have a greater decrease in their unemployment rates. Furthermore, entrepreneurship also assumes a spillover effect through which its dynamism and growth contributes to increase efficiency levels in public services in areas such as health, education, social security, or environmental sustainability (Agarwal et al., 2007).

Studies carried out by Colombo and Grilli (2010) and Seleim et al. (2007) reveal that the key factor in the development and growth of a startup software is its human capital. The results obtained by startups depend to a large extent on their employees. Buxmann et al. (2013) mention that employees in the software engineering labor market should be innovative, proactive, and have a high resilience capacity. Furthermore, Ahmad et al. (2016) and Buxmann et al. (2013) also state that employees must be able to work as a team to achieve better results. Teams enable the resolution of challenges that individually would not be overcome. Moreover, individuals oriented to the same goal, which have different and complementary skills, can help each other and complement their individual failures. With this, teamwork is expected to emerge in the context of work processes, but also in the process of entrepreneurship and the launch and growth phases of a startup. Based on this premise, this study seeks to understand how teams can give a positive response in the context of software startups to meet the various challenges posed to them within their business activity.

This study is organized as follows: Firstly, a theoretical contextualization of the teamwork process in a startup is performed. After that, the methodology and associated adopted methods to analyze the evidence gathered are presented. Next, the results are reported and discussed considering the scope of each startup software and the existing literature on the theme. Finally, the main conclusions are drawn and some topics for future work are formulated.

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