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Teaching Assistant Handbook for the Lean LaunchPad Course

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Teaching Assistant Handbook for the Lean LaunchPad Course

  1. 1. Revision 3 Lean LaunchPad Evidence-based Entrepreneurship TA Handbook Engineering 245 Stanford University Graduate School of Engineering 2015 Winter Term Classes meet 4:15 – 7:05 pm Tuesday Littlefield Room 103 Teaching Team: Steve Blank sblank@kandsranch.com Jeff Epstein jeff@bvp.com steve weinstein stevew@lookleft.com Teaching Assistants: Stephanie Zhan smzhan@stanford.edu Gabriel Garza ggarza@stanford.edu Jennifer Tsau jennifer.e.tsau@gmail.com Akaash Nanda akaashn@stanford.edu
  2. 2. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 2 of 12 Welcome to the role of a TA for Lean Launchpad at Stanford! We are excited to have you. The Role of a TA As a TA, you are the backbone of the class. Your role is to ensure that the course runs smoothly for the teaching team, students, mentors, and advisors. Your role is split into 3 main stages: 1. Pre-class stage: Goal: recruit the best teams with the most talented, entrepreneurial students for our class. We have historically received submissions from 25-30 teams each year. We winnow that down to 8 teams for the class. Step 1: Reflect, gather feedback, and strategize.  If you are the head TA, recruit others to join you. Ideally, your other TAs are from different departments and schools across campus so that our marketing efforts are more expansive. (Students who have taken the class before have an advantage in knowing what to expect as a TA). Recruit one TA who is a junior this year, who will commit to TA both this year and next year. This will provide valuable continuity.  Read this handbook thoroughly and talk to past Lean LaunchPad GSI’s  Organize an event to gather students of past years together to gain feedback on how to improve the course. Ask students: how they learned about the class, what the biggest challenges were in applying for the class, how we could have better marketed the class, what the pros/cons of the class were and how we can best redesign class time, what they felt regarding engagement with mentors/advisors, and interaction with the teaching team and other students.  Gather feedback from the teaching team (and if possible mentors) on last year’s experience. (The teaching team often writes up a “Lessons Learned Document” as a class post mortem. Ask if one exists.)  Create an action plan based on all feedback gathered – things to change & things to keep the same. Use this to plan the course ahead. Step 2: Recruit Students Planning  Scan the Stanford calendar and set up dates for the following deadlines: o 2 Information Session dates (see below for more details) o Instructor Information Office Hours o Team applications submission date o Team final interviews date
  3. 3. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 3 of 12  Edit the existing “Launchpad-staff” email list with this years TA and instructors. This allows easy communication amongst the teaching team. It also allows anyone to contact all TAs easily, and allows all TAs to stay up to date on communication simultaneously. o To edit the mailing list, please e-mail the previous year’s LLP TA asking them to add you to the mailing list (launchpad-staff@lists.stanford.edu) and appointing you a List Administrator. Remind them that they can do so on the Stanford mailing list website: www.mailman.stanford.edu o Once added to the list, log in on the mailing list website to add/edit members subscribed to this list. Begin by clicking the “Manage the Lists You Own” link and logging in using your SUID o After clicking into the “Basic Options” link for the “launchpad-staff” mailing list, you will be greeted by the following screen: Use the top textbox to add members and the bottom textbox to bulk-remove members (e-mail addresses separated by commas). Note: this mailing list is to be used for class members to communicate with the TA team. Please do not add anyone to this list apart from the TA team for that year (and the professors, if they wish). Website  Create/update the class website (www.stanfordleanlaunchpad.com) with all relevant details, including: o Course and teaching team overview o Application process & important dates o Team application
  4. 4. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 4 of 12 o Spreadsheet shared publicly to assist with team formation. Students can add to this spreadsheet to look for other members with specific skills/interests to join their team o Spreadsheet shared publicly to assist with idea formation. These ideas come from the teaching team’s network (often VCs) who pitch an idea they are interested in and would be interested in advising a team pursuing the idea. Teams can sign up for one of these ideas if interested, instead of forming their own ideas.  Current website is built using website builder Sidengo.com  To edit the website, please go to Sidengo.com/login and use the following credentials: o Username: leanlaunchpad@stanford.edu o Password: Leanwebsit3  Contact gabriel@sidengo.com or support@sidengo.com for any questions.  The website was upgraded to PRO for free since it is for educational purposes. Updated Syllabus  Ask lead instructor to update the syllabus with changes for this year’s class.  Check to see that dates are correct  Poll instructors on any dates they will miss the class Information Sessions  Organize 2 info sessions. Each should last 2 hours (ideally in the early evening), and they should be held on different days of the week. I would recommend holding both info sessions before Thanksgiving break, and setting the deadline for team application submissions to be the beginning of Thanksgiving break.  Create an agenda for the information session. Agenda should include: o Introduction to class & video o Introduction to teaching team o Overview of class o Alumni Panel – invite students from past classes to talk about their experiences (as early as you can, preferably 2-3 weeks before the info session.) o Overview of application process  Introduce online tool to assist with team formation process  Introduce online tool to assist with team idea formation process o Team matchmaking  First, go around the room and have each student introduce him/herself by pitching background + interests + idea + team member skills/expertise needed  Second, have students freely mix!  Organize food & drinks for all attendees of information session. Last year, we had around 60-70 students at each information session.
  5. 5. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 5 of 12  Book rooms accordingly.  On the day of & night before information sessions, send the schedule to the teaching team with details on location and time of office hours as a reminder. Information Office Hours  Before team applications are due, organize office hours for students to meet with the teaching team to bounce ideas off of them. This past year, we organized 3 full afternoons of office hours. Each instructor runs individual office hours.  Book rooms for office hours accordingly. Plan for a max of 8 people per office hour session.  Arrange each office hour session to be 10 mins long, 5 mins apart. Create a spreadsheet to share publicly on the website, to have students sign up for an office hour slot. If slots fill up quickly, add a “waitlist” section to gauge interest for adding more hours.  On the day of & night before office hours, send the schedule to the teaching team with details on location and time of office hours as a reminder.  The day before, send all students who signed up for a slot a reminder e-mail about their appointment with the teaching team (including specific time and location) and ask them to confirm their attendance Marketing  A week before the first info session, create your marketing materials (poster, email, etc) introducing the class, teaching team, and all necessary details for information session, office hours, & link to website. Engage the entire teaching team for history of previous marketing materials and feedback.  Create an organized spreadsheet to track all groups/lists that you market the class out to, like this one : https://docs.google.com/a/stanford.edu/spreadsheets/d/1jbXGy75vfKzLsy43Kw2- lZ3hXHD0kps30tRL-xtuX1g/edit#gid=0  Have all TAs update this document periodically. If any groups are missing, reach out to them. Target other entrepreneurship clubs & groups, including but not limited to: o All of MS&E:  Lori Cottle lcottle@stanford.edu o All of CS:  Meredith Hutchin mhutchin@stanford.edu o All of CEE  Jill Filice jill.filice@stanford.edu o PhDs in any engineering field.  Ken Hsu: kyhsu@stanford.edu  Cindy Ng: cindy.ng@stanford.edu  phdcs@cs.stanford.edu o Business Association for Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES) o Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity (AKPsi)
  6. 6. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 6 of 12 o Graduate School of Business (GSB)  Reach out to the entrepreneurship club and high tech club at the GSB, ask them to blast out the marketing email to their respective mailing lists, as well as on “Blast” to reach all GSB students  Ask a GSB student to post it on the GSB Facebook Group (ideally for both MBA1s & MBA2s) o Entrepreneurship Club o Venture Capital Club o All GSB students o Stanford Medical School o Stanford Law School o Stanford Education School o Other entrepreneurship classes/programs such as: Stanford Venture Studio, Startup Garage, MS&E 273  Be sure to target these mailing lists/groups in advance, as well as send out a reminder the day of the event to maximize attendance Step 2: Recruit Mentors & Advisors Goal: after the teams are selected (~four weeks before class starts,) teaching team and TA’s recruit mentors and advisors. First choice: Mentors who are excited about contributing, can unequivocally devote an hour a week to the team, and get or will invest the time in learning the process. Second choice: Relevant domain experience Close Second choice: Mentors with entrepreneurial experience who get Lean and are relentless at Customer Discovery Last choice: Mentors who feel like they were doing you a favor.  Create a spreadsheet to keep track of all individuals who express interest to be a mentor or advisor.  With the teaching team, formulate the expectations of both a mentor and advisor. Send the list of expectations to all individuals who expressed interest in getting involved in the class, and ask how much they can commit in order to find if they are a better fit as a mentor or advisor for the class.  Goal: one mentor per team. Ideally, we have 8 mentors for the 8 teams.  In the same spreadsheet, create a new tab to provide background on each of the student teams that were accepted to our class. Add names of team members, mission of team, industry/sector of mission, emails of team members, etc. Send this information to all mentors of the class, and have them privately provide you their preferences on which teams to mentor.  With these preferences, assign 1 mentor to each team. Keep in mind each mentor’s sector/industry of expertise in this decision-making process.
  7. 7. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 7 of 12  Email all mentors & advisors the Mentor/Advisor Handbook. In the email, make sure to clearly specify the dates/time/location of the first mentor workshop & our first day of class.  Make sure you set mentors up on LaunchPad Central o Have them watch the short mentor tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26Y8ZkF1Wk0  Parking passes can be obtained for mentors from Jill Erbland in the Haas Entrepreneurship office.  Parking passes can be obtained for mentors from ??? in the STVP? office Mentor Briefing  Book a room for the workshop, an hour before the first day of class. Location should be near the location of the class.  Ask a representative of LPC to lead the workshop and help mentors/advisors become familiar with the workflows on the LPC platform. Step 3: LaunchPad Central Setup Contact LaunchPad Central to sign up faculty, mentors, advisors and students  TA’s need to watch the LPC GSI/TA training video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-bB1QQmq_E LaunchPad Central training immediately after Class 1  Mandatory hands-on team training by the TA on key features.  Creating team profiles and opportunity descriptions/assessments, including preliminary market type and market size assumptions.  Creating/updating discovery narrative posts.  Creating/updating preliminary business model canvas.  Posting their initial customer segment and value propositions first, which allow teams to “color-code” linkages as defined by the teamsthey define them.  Learning how to post audio recordings, videos, pictures in interviews, and relevant .xls and .doc files.  Exporting Learning how to export slides, canvas elements, scorecards, and contacts.  Making Learning how to make an “Ask” of mentors, faculty, TA, or other teams.  Have the teams watch the following LPC tutorials o Team Welcome Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m1hwK2-Ajs o Team Tutorial videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?feature=edit_ok&list=PLamwGWYhWKt wg_Mq6DxZRPUOjOSk_0bEJ
  8. 8. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 8 of 12 Schedule and set up Workshop 1: Customer Discovery Practice for the Real World For student teams that have no experience talking to customers (undergrads, engineers, etc.) we’ve found it helpful to offer a two-to-three hour workshop in the first week of class on the basics of Customer Discovery. 2. During the Quarter Before Each Weekly Class Session Communicate with students:  Topic to be addressed for class  Presentation assignment o Reminder of what needs to be on their cover slides (team summary, number of interviews this week, total number of interviews, number of mentor interactions, total number of mentor interactions.) o Ask how they are progressing on their MVP’s  When presentations should be uploaded to Dropbox  Team presentation order  Allotted time for presentation  Location of presentation Prefligh tclassroom logistics Ensure that projectors, screens, wifi, break rooms,presentation laptop etc. are in place and are in working order Collect Team Presentations  Collect student slides beforehand so no individual computer setup is necessary, then load them on a single presentation computer  Email team presentation order (teaching team selects half the time, teams pick the other half)  Deadline has ranged from 15 minutes before the beginning of class to 3pm on the day of the presentation. You and the teaching team get to set the deadline.  Then load them on a single presentation computer. Check on Student Homework  Using LaunchPad Central ensure that each student has watched the videos for homework. Email them and put them on notice if not. Inform instructors if it continues past one week. Office Hours The teaching team has mandatory office hours for teams every week (except the first and last weeks) to provide course corrections and uncover the inevitable team dynamics issues.
  9. 9. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 9 of 12  Remind teams that they need to be at least a week ahead in scheduling their mandatory office hours. o This may require the TA to reach out to certain teams to wrangle them into available slots. We have found it best to make office hours mandatory, and have teams rotate through the teaching team members to get different perspectives on their progress.  Manage Office Hours: set up and maintain a student and room scheduling and signup sheet on Google Docs  Book office hours rooms.  Remember that remote office hours can be extremely effective for teams, mentors, and faculty. Lots of mentors prefer weekend times for their mentor-team meetings, and in some cases this alternative may be worth considering for faculty-team meetings as well. This is especially true toward the end of the class, when there is a mad scramble to pull it all together for the final presentations and videos. During Each Weekly Class Session  Manage the order of presentations and keep the teams on their allotted presentation time  Time all presentations  Keep the clock on team presentation time – announce 1 minute to go  Capture the verbal teaching team critiques (“Teaching Moments”) in a separate Google Doc – this should be shared with all the teams.  Remind teams that they need to be providing the teams presenting with their critiques on LaunchPad Central (this is part of their grade, and you will be using it when you total up their grades.) After Each Class Session  Update grading syllabus  Send out briefing email to mentors and advisors.  Send out debrief email to students with recap of what is due for coming week (videos / reading), lecture slides, and any logistical reminders.  Follow up with students who are behind on video progress that they need to catch up by next week Team Management – Throughout the Quarter During the quarter each team needs one TA to monitor each team’s progress and facilitate them solving any issues. These include team member discord, team member slacking off, and mentor unavailability. TA’s should just divvy up the teams after or around class 1. A team’s TA should spend about 10-20 minutes a week by talking to or meeting up with the team or partial teams to make sure that they are getting the most out of the class.
  10. 10. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 10 of 12 They should bring any issues forward to the teaching team or directly to the mentors for the various issues. Things you should be asking the teams:  Customer discovery progress – how are they doing? Do they need help with contacts? Are they all participating? Are they just talking to Stanford students or really getting out of the building?  Minimal Viable Product (MVP) progress – teams need to do discovery + build an MVP. Are they doing both? With enough progress?  Team dynamics – are their individuals not pulling their weight? Team conflicts? How do they make decisions? Note if the MBA’s are dominating the teams.  Mentor Interaction- are they talking to their mentors at least once a week? Is the mentor helpful? Any issues? Safety/Culture  Immediately alert the instructors to any student reports of abuse or harassment  Let instructors know about team issues – business or interpersonal Mentor Management – throughout the Semester Coordinate with teaching team to manage the weekly mentor email update mailing. Include a weekly slide deck of what they can expect in the week ahead, gleaned from this Educator’s Guide. The basic outlines for these decks are available from LaunchPad Central and at at http://www.slideshare.net/sblank/tagged/syllabus) Send the Mentors/Advisors Weekly Email After each class, send mentors a weekly email summarizing what their teams should be doing. The emails are accompanied by a short set of already-made PowerPoint slides summarizing the weeks learning for the class. (The weekly mentor update slides can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/sblank/tagged/syllabus) Personalize the email by including 1-2 sentences for each team around key learnings or feedback that teaching team provided about each team so that mentors can stay “in sync” if they were not able to attend class. Below is an example of a TA email that would be sent out right after class 2:
  11. 11. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 11 of 12 Hi Mentors, Welcome to the kick-off of the Lean Launchpad! We hope you've all had a chance to meet your teams and are looking forward to a fantastic quarter. This week the teams are doing discovery on Value Proposition. Please watch the on-line lectures Lesson 2: Value Proposition and Lesson 3: Customer Segments (in preparation for next week). Your role this week is to offer them critique on LaunchPad Centra and find a time to chat in person or via Skype to offer them your advice/counsel and wisdom. I've attached two documents to this email: 1) A cheat-sheet of the responsibilities/best practices for mentors. 2) A short deck (6 slides) that summarizes teaching objectives and common student errors. As a reminder, teams need to be focusing on the right half of the canvas focusing on understanding their value proposition, whether they have a multi-sided market, the archetypes of each of the segments and whether they have product-market fit. All of these Mentor Update slides will be posted on LaunchPad Central in the Resource Hub section. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for all your help, Stephanie  The mentors are your “deputies” and keeping them up to speed is your best defense against excessive train wrecks. To do that, the mentors have to keep up (ideally ahead) in the readings and the Course video lectures as well. Repeat for all classes. 3. After the Last Class of the quarter  GSI’s are responsible for putting together the final grading sheet for the instructors.  Goal is to normalize to a class average of 3.45  After the final class session, send the email below to all students. Put the responses in the grading spreadsheet
  12. 12. Stanford E245 TA Handbook Revision 4 2015 page 12 of 12 Lean LaunchPad Class - One last assignment: As part of your grade you get to confidentially rank yourself and your team members on how you all contributed to your team this semester. Starting with 1,000 shares, how would you allocate those shares among all team members (including yourself)? For example, in a 4-person team where you felt everyone contributed equally you would allocate 250 shares to yourself and your other three team members. If you feel otherwise, allocate the shares by your view of each team members contribution. Thanks, Teaching Team Final Individual Student Grades are a sum of: Peer Comments (5 possible points)  track these starting in week 1 in LPC - allocate 1-5 points accordingly. Videos Viewed (5 possible points)  track this starting in week 1 in LPC - allocate 1-5 points accordingly. Attendance (5 possible points):  Track unexcused absences starting in week 1 - allocate 1-5 points accordingly. Canvas (10 possible points)  All teams get 20 points for weekly updates to canvas unless there’s a meltdown Narrative Quality (20 possible points)  Use total interviews and mentor engagements. Multiply mentor engagements as 5 times a customer interview. Then allocate points up to 20 accordingly. Weekly Presentations (25 possible points)  Look at weeks 1-9 teaching team scores. Take the average and improvement (average of weeks 6-9 minus average of weeks 1-3). Add overall average and improvement. Allocate 25 points accordingly based on the team score. Final Presentation (30 possible points): Take the teaching team scores from LPC (on 10 points scale) and multiply by 3. Total Score: Sum out individual and team scores, out of 100 total points. Peer Grading Multiplier: Take peer grades for all team members. (Normalize to 4 for a 4-member team, normalize to 5 for a 5-member team). Take the average of the normalized scores for each team member. The multiplier is this normalized average divided by 25 for a 4-member team, divided by 20 for a 5-member team. Those who had outsized contributions were rewarded by a multiplier effect; and free riders had their points cut down substantially. Final adjusted Grade: Take their total score and multiply it by their peer grading multiplier. Based on this multiplied score, assign letter grades to average out class GPA at 3.45