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Setting Clear Expectations of the Leadership Roles

James Lloyd

Co-Founder/CTO at Redox

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Problem

On paper my title is CTO. One of the really interesting dynamics that I have noticed is that people come into an organization with preconceived notions of what the role CTO means and the responsibilities under that title. There was such a variety of assumptions that it became a taxing problem for me that needed to be addressed.

Actions taken

There is a unique set of definitions for CTO within different companies. It has been important to set up the expectations of exactly what I do as the CTO, especially for people just entering into our product and engineering teams. In addition, I highlight the expectations for the roles of VP of Engineering and VP of Product as well. This is because each of these roles is uniquely defined according to our organization. For example, most people may think it is the responsibility of the CTO to set the engineering budget, decide long-term architecture strategy, and those types of things, but in fact at our company the VP of Engineering is accountable for all of these items. As the CTO, I am largely external and product strategy focused, as opposed to spending time on the architecture and technical aspects. This is due to the fact that our users are developers and thus have adjusted the responsibilities of our roles accordingly.

Lessons learned

  • Sit down with every new person that comes onto your team and talk about team dynamics as well as the mission and vision of the company. Also, be sure to outline your role as CTO, the role of VP of Engineering, the role of VP of Product, and the role of the team that they will be joining.
  • Expectations from those who were already on our team have evolved over time as we have grown. In the early stages we were one homogeneous team that was focused on delivery. As we grew we defined three specific leadership roles: a product person, an engineering/ technical lead, and a people manager. That evolution has largely carried us forward to drive the daily decisions made today. It has been one of the biggest growth points that we have gone through.

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James Lloyd

Co-Founder/CTO at Redox


Leadership RolesVP of EngineeringCTO

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