Right lead developer wrong CTO

You've launched a product, found market fit, made some real money from real customers who are paying you for your service. It's truly one of the best feelings in the world when a complete stranger gives you some of their hard-earned cash to use your product.

The people that helped you launch an MVP need to grow and change with you so that you can scale your business. If they can't change, you need to make some tough decisions. One of the biggest pain points we see is the lead developer/technical co-founder position. Here are some things to watch out for.

Team size

Chances are you've only had, at most, a couple of junior/mid-level developers up until this point. Managing a small team has its challenges. With a small team, the role tends to be day to day technical decisions rather than strategic vision. There's little or no admin with a small team, everyone knows when someone is on holiday. Everyone knows what's going on, it's easy to communicate to each other when there are only a few people involved. Organising priorities is simple, everyone understands what's being worked on and when it needs to be delivered.

Scaling the team and the platform

The product you've built is starting to creek a little. Downtime is becoming a thing, the number of bugs you have seems to be increasing not decreasing. Your first beta customers are starting to lose patience.

Time for a change?

As your business starts to scale have an honest, quiet conversation with your lead developer/technical co-founder. Perhaps invite a key investor or mentor to be part of the conversation. The only question you need to ask is "Are we 100% sure that they are the right person to be the CTO at this point in time?"

This is what we see, they don't like the increasing admin, nobody likes filling out R&D tax credits. They're sick of dealing with recruitment and recruitment consultants. They long for the good old days when they could find their flow and solve some technical problems rather than dealing with people problems. You can let your lead developer get back to what they're good at.

It's at this point we feel that there's a need for an interim CTO, somebody to provide strategic direction.