5 Things I Learned About Leadership and Project Management With A High School Startup Team

What was the point of this startup team project?

  • Medical symptom assessments
  • Collated lists of free healthcare resources
  • Emotional self-assessment questionnaires
  • Specialized scheduling user interfaces to help organize care
  • An encouraging chatbot
  • Targeted ads and freemium features for revenue

What is the point of any high school startup team?

  • A fantastic opportunity to practice and improve technical skill, motivated by a peer group
  • Early exposure to professional experiences like disciplined teamwork, leadership, and collaboration with adults in a non-academic setting
  • A superb personal portfolio piece for college admissions applications and resumés
  • Possibility to win entrepreneurship competitions

The Five Things

Keep asking and answering questions, first broad then specific.

  • Can we learn to do this? Your favorite web search + real life teacher
  • Do we understand our goal? We discussed caregiving with a subject matter expert
  • Can we work with our chosen platform? Tong had a prototype web app by week two
  • What are the specific features? Spreadsheet of 80+ features refined during discussions
  • Can we overcome these technical limitations? Rapidly prototyped working features
  • Are these the right features? Expert interviews, testing with prototypes, user surveys

Make plans, and more importantly, be ready to change them.

  • Before we could automate writing medical questions, we needed to get medical data.
  • Before we could get medical data, we needed to find it on the web.
  • Before pulling it off the web, we needed to learn web scraping (code that reads web pages is really important in projects that combine data in novel ways).
  • Before learning web scraping, the team needed JavaScript and data structures practice.
  • And on and on …

Those led by the best leaders will say: we did it ourselves.

A champion must push through the hard parts and the quiet parts.

A project can’t fail if the team stays curious.

Epilogue: This is not the last project.




Develop mastery in technical and collaborative skills; Empower young leaders to drive change in communities

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

A Post-grad Internship is More Valuable than You Think

Tim Ferriss’s Scam Framework and the Rise of Fake Gurus

Is Project Management the Right Career Path for You? Here’s How to Find Out

Two colleagues discuss their project

My first year in tech industry

“The Tippy Top”

5 reasons why you should consider value based pricing

Women to Watch in Tech in 2021

Writing a Positive Customer Service Review

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Applied Computing Foundation

Applied Computing Foundation

Develop mastery in technical and collaborative skills; Empower young leaders to drive change in communities

More from Medium

How to Choose Productivity Software for Your Business?

Tech Trends for 2022

10 ideas for Bitpanda

Managing Change: How to Make Your Coolest Leadership Management