Back to resources

Graduating From Developer to Entrepreneur

Scaling Team
Building A Team
New Manager

28 May, 2021

Sebastien Saunier
Sebastien Saunier

CTO at Le Wagon

Sébastien Saunier, CTO and Co-Founder at Le Wagon, unfolds his challenges of transitioning from a Software Engineer to an Entrepreneur, and how effectively he solved all the problems.

Problem

In my most recent position as the CTO and Co-Founder of Le Wagon, the main challenge was transitioning from a software engineer's role in a startup to being a co-founder with a team. I was making life-changing decisions as I was building something out of nothing. I realized that when we are in a team, regardless of our seniority, there is a roadmap, a product team, a marketing team, and so on to work with. However, here I was, the only person who knew how to code. I had to consider all things and weigh my options, but I felt that I was never “done.” I had a list of features, tests, and potential partnerships to take care of. The journey itself was a gift, but never having the feeling of completion was something I was not used to.

Actions taken

First things first, we hired some mid-stage talents and trained them on our company policies. We did not have a reference framework or a set of rules for our company. As a technology company, our talent is our biggest asset. Besides, as a startup, we do not have time for optional things, but training our team members to be on the right track and improve the output was made mandatory.

We hired our alumni. We organized our team in a way so that the team helped our junior developers to grow. Since our startup is a coding school, we had engineering talks inside the company, where every developer presented something that they had learned in one quarter. We gathered our developers from four different locations to Paris, and each one shared their experience. In this way, everyone felt empowered, and they re-calibrated their thought process to recognize the bigger picture.

Other than that, at the beginning of the year, I introduced some middle management levels. I could not manage 35 people directly, and so some of the local seniors I had in the team became Engineering Managers. Therefore, I manage them directly, and they are managing 3 - 4 juniors, which is a proper way of delegating and helping them grow within the company.

Lessons learned

  • Not everyone goes the same way. Each company has its own way of doing things. We chose the path that best suited us, while others may choose to find their own way. There is no specific guideline to it.
  • Each company has to discover its own ladder. It requires a great amount of hard work, patience, discipline, and determination, but it is essential to remember that it does not happen overnight.
  • There will be seniors and juniors in a company, and everyone of them needs to be challenged in a certain way. It is for their betterment and growth, and in all, it is also beneficial for the company.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Leaving Room to Say Things Suck — Leadership Lessons from “Ted Lasso”

17 August

A major sign of trust, comfortability, and vulnerability is for someone you lead to be able to say something sucks.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
John Hartley

John Hartley

Senior Engineering Manager at Curology

Scaling a Team in Two Parts: The Product and Manager

2 August

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti, Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart, walks through his experience scaling a team, product and his skills as a leader.

Managing Expectations
Product
Scaling Team
Leadership
Meetings
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

Congratulations you're an Engineering Manager! Now What?

29 July

Congratulations, you have just been promoted to an engineering management role. Once you are done celebrating the promotion you have worked hard to earn you might start to ask yourself, now what do I do?

Leadership
New Manager
AJ St. Aubin

AJ St. Aubin

Director Software Engineering at The RepTrak Company

(Re)Organizing Your Teams Using Domain-Driven Design

12 July

A proposal for how to create an org structure that will deliver software systems that you want, not ones you get stuck with.

Alignment
Architecture
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Internal Communication
Reorganization
Ram Singh

Ram Singh

CTO at REAL Engagement & Loyalty

Leading A (Distributed) Team? Foster "Above the Line" Behaviors.

12 July

No online tool will address your team's ability to connect, collaborate, and deliver results if the individuals don't bring the right mindset to work.

Changing A Company
Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Ownership
Ram Singh

Ram Singh

CTO at REAL Engagement & Loyalty