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

10x engineer or 10x impact?

26 May

Hiring 10x engineers is hard for most companies. It’s a tough battle out there for talent. So how should most companies approach building their team?

Building A Team
Leadership
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Vaidik Kapoor

Vaidik Kapoor

VP Engineering - DevOps & Security at Grofers

How to Streamline Your Recruitment Process for Quick and Effective Hiring

26 May

Philip Gollucci, Director of Cloud Engineering at CareRev, describes a new method for hiring in a market climate that favors candidates instead of recruiters.

Scaling Team
Building A Team
Hiring
Philip Gollucci

Philip Gollucci

CEO/Founder at P6M7G8 Inc.

How to Maximize Employee Retention in Engineering Teams

25 May

Vimal Patel, Founder and CTO at iMORPHr, shares how he retained all of his employees since beginning his software development company in 2019.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Hiring
Retention
Psychological Safety
Vimal Patel

Vimal Patel

Director of Engineering at iMORPHr

Hiring a Data Team With a Stubborn Manager

24 May

Liz Henderson, an Executive consultant at Capgemini, shares her experience hiring a data team with a manager who was difficult to work with.

Managing Up
Building A Team
Conflict Solving
Hiring
Data Team
Liz Henderson

Liz Henderson

Executive consultant at Capgemini

Streamlining Product Processes After a Reorganization

16 May

Snehal Shaha, Lead Technical Program Manager at Momentive (fka SurveyMonkey), details her short-term technical strategy to unify processes among teams following an acquisition.

Acquisition / Integration
Product Team
Product
Building A Team
Leadership
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Reorganization
Strategy
Team Processes
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Snehal Shaha

Snehal Shaha

Senior EPM/TPM at Apple Inc.

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.