If there is any part of your business that you really want to pay attention to, it definitely is finding the right person for the Chief Technology Officer position in your company. Of course, every employee is equally important and each one comes with different skills. However, a CTO is a person that will quite often decide on the critical technical aspects of your business and coordinate work of all departments. That’s why you need to make sure that the person you choose is fit for that role. Who is then your ideal candidate for a CTO position? Let us share some thoughts based on our experience.
First, let me tell you what the difference between a CTO, a good CTO, and a great CTO is.
A CTO will help you to get your website built. He will manage the team of developers and he will make sure that things get done.
A good CTO will come to you with a lot of suggestions for new features on your website. He will be cooperative and manage the team more efficiently, so your development time will also shorten. It is very important as shortening the development time by 20% by managing the project efficiently will save you 20% on all costs associated with the development (salaries etc.). A good Chief Technology Officer will also allocate some time for analysis, reporting and testing to make sure that your platform is fast, user-friendly and secure.
So what can a great CTO offer? A great CTO will not only look at your technology, but he will also look at your entire business. He will analyze processes and tools of every person from every department and will find a way to improve them. A great CTO will prepare your company to be always one step ahead of the competition. He will reduce the time needed to perform daily operations, automate processes leaving your team more time to do more than it is expected from them. He will make the job easier for everyone in the team, making the team happier and more motivated to do good work. By guiding your team on how they can improve the efficiency of daily work, he will boost their creativity and motivate them to always seek improvement. If you still didn’t realize how much this can mean for your business, just keep reading.
How to find a great CTO and what are the qualities that every great CTO should have?
Team building and communication skills
We decided to put this on top of the list because team building is not just a process of hiring new team members, it is everyday communication between all departments. It is easier said than done because quite often a CTO is a person with great technical knowledge using a lot of technical language, which is not easily understood by other team members. A great CTO should be a person joining the world of programmers and “normal people” 🙂 A Chief Technology Officer must be able to look at things and understand them from the customers’ perspective and translate them into the programmer’s language and do the opposite when explaining technology back to your employees or customers. Good communication skills will allow every team member to feel understood and comfortable at work and will bring the best results when embracing new technologies in your company.
Has it ever happened to you that instead of solving your problem, someone tried to tell you that it doesn’t exist? Even with great communication skills, a great CTO must be willing to understand the problem that your team member is facing and find a way to solve it. Technical people will often defend the technology that is used and will try to convince your team that everything is fine, just they need to use it in a different way. It doesn’t really solve the problem. It leaves your team with a feeling that no one understands them and they don’t have support from their own team. A great CTO will always listen and try to understand the situation instead of saying that everything is fine. Ask your candidate during the interview, what would he do if he couldn’t understand the problem that a team member is facing. Personally I was willing to swap positions for a full day(!) and be trained by an employee in his job to see what problems and challenges he was facing. And there was no single case where the problem couldn’t be identified and fixed.
Willingness to learn
Your CTO will be a person with great technical knowledge. But trust me, there is nothing worse than a person for whom this knowledge is everything. Technology evolves every single day and what was true yesterday might not be true today. A great CTO will always seek advice and take into consideration that the knowledge that he obtained 5 minutes ago may already be obsolete. Only this way can you ensure that the decisions taken by your CTO are be based on thorough research and in the best interest of your company, not your CTO’s ego.
Think about the future
Would it make any sense to develop something knowing that in 6 months will have to be replaced by something else? Sometimes yes, if the cost of development is lower than the profit gained. But of course, in many cases, it makes no sense. Re-doing things over and over again can cost you a fortune so every great CTO should ask himself these 2 questions:
- Will this solution be great in a few years, just like it is now?
- If this solution is not going to be good enough in the future, can it be easily upgraded or re-used?
If the answer to both of these questions is “no”, a CTO should not make a decision to implement it. You would be surprised how many times I have seen people not asking these questions and spending months on the development of the software which was already outdated by the time it was released. And what is worse, that could not be upgraded or re-used in the future.
That skill can also be called “ability to think logically and act”. It should apply to everyone in the world but yet there were many times that I have seen people developing software for 2 months, that already existed and was available to buy for 100 USD. I have seen developers programming on laptops with the latest graphic cards, companies buying software for thousands of dollars when an open-source alternative was available free of charge, websites kept on expensive VPS hosting where only shared hosting was needed. The lack of optimization in the time and costs of every department is leading to huge losses for the company. It is the CTO who should constantly check and seek to improve how your company functions which can save you a lot of unnecessary costs that can be invested in your company growth instead.
A great CTO is one of the most important people in your company. They can help you to coordinate work between all departments and introduce tools that will make it possible. He will help your team to be more efficient and productive every single day. Your CTO will be a bridge between your customers, your team and your programmers and will always make sure that you are one step ahead of the competition.