Faculty of Engineering

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

0 points, SCA Band 2, 0.000 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Chaoyang Song



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


This unit is available only to Engineering PhD students.


The goal of this unit is to impart an evidence-based methodology for building scalable startups that students can use for the rest of their careers, whether they are starting a new business or working in established organisations. For a new business, the goal is acquiring investor funding. In a corporate environment, the methodology will help the organisation start new businesses and allocate their internal resources (time, technology, and talent) more efficiently. The unit will be taught in a hands-on way that engages student teams by requiring them to develop hypotheses and then test those hypotheses outside the classroom. Throughout the semester, teams will modify their business models based on feedback from potential customers, and can then decide if there is a worthwhile business to be built. The unit does not include the execution of the business models; if student teams continue with their companies, they will assemble the appropriate operating plans, but only after they have attained a high degree of confidence that a viable business model exists.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • decide whether entrepreneurship is for them
  • design, search for, and improve a business model
  • practice evidence-based entrepreneurship by formulating and testing hypotheses with potential customers
  • use agile development methods to produce a minimum viable product containing only the critical features of their intended business


Continuous assessment:

15% individual participation, consisting of four parts:
quality of the written feedback of students' peer to peer comments throughout the semester
attendance at each class session
timely completion of all reading and video assignments
a grade from their fellow team members at the end of the units

40% out of the building customer development progress, as measured each week by:
quality of weekly blog write-ups
business model updates and presentations

20% the team's weekly "lessons learned" presentations. Team members must:
state how many interviews were conducted that week
present detail on what the team did that week, including changes to the business model
follow the assigned topics to be covered each week as outlined in the syallabus

25% the team's final lessons learned presentation and video

Workload requirements

Students should plan to devote a minimum of 12 hours per week to this unit. There will be one class session of three hours per week; attendance is required.

Individual preparation for each class will be three hours of reading and viewing videos. There will be at least two hours of contact with potential customers each week, and at least four hours of group work on creating, testing and revising a business model.

Teams will be responsible for locating and interviewing potential customers for the product or service that they plan to produce. The purpose of this activity is to make it more likely that the product or service is actually something that customers will want to buy.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)