What is an entrepreneur?

By | May 12, 2017

Me: “Who can name an entrepreneur?”

Team: “Richard Branson. Elon Musk …”

Me: “Does anyone know them personally?”

Team: “No.”

Me: “Does anyone know an entrepreneur personally?”

Team member: “You won’t know him, but a guy I know called Bob is an entrepreneur”

Me: “Good. Are you entrepreneurs?”

Team: “Er … no”

Me: “Do you know the difference between Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Bob and you?”

Team: “The balance of our bank accounts?”

Me: “Haha, that’s probably different. But, what makes them entrepreneurs and you not entrepreneurs is this! [I held up this badge].

Me: “This is the badge entrepreneurs get when they are certified as entrepreneurs. This is what makes them entrepreneurs. But I have a badge for each of you. [Gives each team member a badge]. You are now ‘entrepreneurs’.”

Team: [Chuckles … but everyone puts their badge on].


That was how I started a session when a team requested I help them think differently. They were stuck in a rut (building something that they weren’t sure was going to solve the most important problem) and wanted a different approach. They had asked me to help them start thinking like a startup.

I went on to explain that entrepreneurs need 3 things:

  1. the necessary resources
  2. sufficient authority
  3. a drive to see the thing through because they care a lot about the thing

I challenged the team: “Do you have all of those things?”

They agreed that they had the resources: the client had committed a significant amount of money to the project. And they had the team in place too. Resources: tick.

They agreed that they had the client’s buy-in to take this thing in the direction that the team saw fit. Authority: tick.

But there was some uncertainty about the drive. They all cared about the goal, but half the team was battle weary. They’d been hacking away at this meaty subject for months without making much progress. Sure, we were going to approach this thing from a different perspective, but they just wanted a fresh challenge away from this.

So we respected their wishes: half of the team stayed, whilst the other half transferred off and fresh legs came in. It wasn’t an easy transition, but it was the right thing for the team and for everyone involved.

Of course, the new players also got a badge: after all, they were now entrepreneurs!

More about their approach in the coming weeks.


The ‘entrepreneur badge’ was designed for Scrum & Kanban by julvectordesign.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.