"You have been doing the role of an ICE (individual contributor engineer) under the job title as CTO"

I told a CTO who'd been in the role at a scale up for 5 years.

She froze for a moment and then said: "of my god, you are right! I can see it now. But how do I get out of it?! How do I actually do the role of a CTO?"

Most first time (and many 2nd/3rd time) CTOs I've met get stuck in the engineer role in real terms because they don't know how to transition (read: how to start spending their time!) even when their engineering team becomes 20+ people.

So .. how do you act like a CTO in a growing scale up?

Here are a few examples:

✓ Instead of spending time on production code you spend time on prototype code

✓ instead of getting stuck in the details of naming data directories, you look at how you can make engineering deliver closer to what the customer wants

✓ instead of going to CSuite meetings, not engaging with any of the proposals made by the CEO or other departments and then coming back to the engineers complaining "management are putting pressure on us to do X by Y date" you create tech strategy and vision from the business vision and goals and negotiate timelines with the other departments

✓ instead of hoarding code and swooping in to save the day because no one else knows how this old code works, every time there's a problem you teach your engineers how it's currently architects and how to develop and maintain it.

What else have I missed?

#cto #reengineeringleadership

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Adelina Chalmers a.k.a The Geek Whisperer

Helps Engineers who are Leaders (CEO/ CTO/ VP) get buy-in from their peers/teams/investors by transforming Communication techniques into Algorithms