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Understanding the Role of the CTO for a Smooth Development Process

by Victor Purolnik
Blog
Image of a laptop, and a plant on a desk

Introduction

In today’s short post, I’ll be talking about the role of a CTO and how understanding what they actually do will help ensure a smoother development process.

One of the biggest mistakes that founders make once they’ve hired a CTO is forcing them to manage the delivery.

This often arises from the misunderstanding of what a CTO is actually in charge of, and where their strengths lie.

A CTO or tech lead focuses on how you build your product—ensuring robust and scalable technical infrastructure. In contrast, the product function, determines what is built, when it is built, and in which order.

The product function is in charge of delivery. And this is a clear distinction that often people miss to make.

I normally get people coming to me saying – “Victor we need a new CTO”

Most of the time this is never the case.

The CTO or tech lead is normally great at their job, the technology side of things but when forced to manage delivery, which normally entails managing people, this becomes very tedious, especially in the case of large development teams.

What’s one way you can solve this?

Well, you can decide to hire a CTPO — They combine that rare function of both technology and product.

However, finding and hiring a great CTPO is akin to finding a unicorn, it’s quite rare.

So what’s your best bet?

Building Out Your Product Function

The product function within an organization encompasses the roles and processes involved in defining, developing, and delivering a product.

As a founder, this means having a clear owner for the product function, and we touched on this briefly in our previous newsletters.

There’s no need to break the bank by hiring a CPO. This role can be split up to an experienced UI/UX designer, or a project manager maybe if you have more than three developers.

Finally, a Fractional CPO for that initial consulting, helping with prioritization, defining the roadmap, and coaching the UI/UX designer on doing their part.

By taking time to build out your product function, you can have a seamless product development process and a much happier team.

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Victor Purolnik

Trustshoring Founder

Author, speaker, and podcast host with 10 years of experience building and managing remote product teams. Graduated in computer science and engineering management. Has helped over 300 startups and scaleups launch, raise, scale, and exit.

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