Joe is in office leading his team of software developers to create a new educational app for his client.
He wants to use the latest server side programming language, but is confused on the options before him. He could go for Ruby on Rails, or Django, or maybe even C#.
It could be a tough decision, which makes us realize the pressures a Chief Technology Officer or CTO maybe under when he has to lead a team for developing a new app.
Joe has to make a quick decision there, and stay strong with it. And that’s not all; he must possess a number of other qualities to guide an agile team that can translate their client’s dreams into reality.
Let’s have a run through of some of the best practices to be followed by a CTO to emerge successful.
#1. Go Beyond the Code
Yes, CTOs actually should know when to code. But then it all depends on how many people are there in the team. Some CTOs code 80% of the time, some just 40% and some just 10%.
However, the success of the project depends on the ability to think beyond the code. After all, he has to think about a future when the app is actually vying for the top slot in the market.
#2. Take the Best Quality Decisions Quickly
The entire project development team depends on the CTO’s skill to make high quality decisions in difficult situations.
A CTO might also play by the 80/20 rule and ask each team member’s opinion before making a decision. 80% of the decision must come from the information collected by a CTO and the rest 20% will be dependent on the CTO and his ability to take quick decisions.
#3. Communicate Effectively
A sensible CTO communicates with his team and never rubs them the wrong way. If he feels that a particular strategy is not suitable for a project, he should convey it effectively, rather than being downright and say “That’s impossible” or “Your idea will not work”.
Similarly, the primary duty of CTO also entails effective communication with the stakeholders.
#4. Think Strategically
A good CTO must have a good product vision, even though it is not easy to think both about the business side of the project and its technical aspects simultaneously. It is actually this dual vision that sets the company’s tone and direction, hastening success in the long run.
He must be able to see the entire picture in its final form and guide his team, right from the stage where prototype of the project is prepared to the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) stage.
#5. Be the Master of Your Core Technology
Being a technology leader at the company, the CTO must know all about the innovative technologies and get updated information on new trends constantly.
But he must have knowledge of any particular core technology, like for example, Artificial Intelligence, System Architecture or UX/UI of which he should be an expert.
After all, there will be technical issues that he may have to look into, and provide advice and support from time to time. Invariably, a CTO must be someone who has risen to the top through his coding skills; so he definitely must be a master of some technology.
#6. Manage Your Team Well
A CTO must be a team manager and team player at the same time. He must ensure that right people are on his team – the designers, developers, testers, etc.
He must be familiar with agile practices, because agile methodology is all about collaboration and teamwork. As products are to be made customer-centric, the role of the CTO is to develop his team and create a culture of people development.
In fact, he must also be able to take responsibility if something goes bad. A CTO looking to drive innovation and usher success, must be able to assume a multi-faceted approach seamlessly.
#7. Maintain Strong Networks
Unleash the power of your networks, by keeping in tow of what is happening all around. A CTO must be able to create an environment that promotes collaboration and communication because that is how businesses thrive.
And collaboration doesn’t end when the product reaches the market. His duties will continue through project tracking as well – he has to continue to check the product status and customer rating.
A CTO must keep himself abreast of major shows, expos, conferences and events in his field of expertise because that’s where he can meet new people and learn new things.
Examples of such events are TECHSPO, RAN World and MWC to name a few. These events are held annually, like MWC 2017 for instance. MWC, short for Mobile World Congress, is the world’s largest mobile electronics trade show, held every year in Barcelona.
MWC offers the best platform for establishing new contacts with the bigwigs of technology sector besides getting to know and experience the latest gadgets and other innovations of tech giants.
Last, but not the least
#8. Devote Some Time for Your Customers
The age-old adage – “Customer is king”, works here, even for the tech business. At the end of the day, the product must solve the customer’s pain point. There is no point in coming up with new technology just for the sake of it. The focus must be on customer value.
A good CTO must be an excellent techie, a good leader, and a great communicator – all rolled into one and more. He must link himself with what’s happening in the real world; in fact, all over the world, because that’s how he can come up with what people want.
CTO is not just a guy who sits down in his office and has deep technical thoughts. He must be a very talented person because he has to create an internal culture, a technology friendly approach that would be aligned with the company’s goals and strategies.
He must have a clear understanding of his company’s competitors and align his efforts to improve his company’s reputation in the market. He has to zoom in and manage his team by acting as a true leader.
In this article, we have explained 8 best practices an ideal CTO would follow, but this is just the beginning, because roles and responsibilities are always evolving.