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How To Manage The Transition To Become A Tech lead

Leadership
New Manager
Personal growth

15 October, 2018

Ali Seyedmehdi explains his thought process behind finding how to fit in his new role as CTO.

Problem

The problem I had initially was how to manage a team and how to fit in the role of a CTO. This meant understanding priorities and what steps needed to be taken. I needed to form a game plan and set up essential steps to be followed. The major problem was that I initially took the route of forming teams based around skills and working under the notion that work needed to be done rather than answering the questions of how and why. This did not work.

Actions taken

The first step we took to solve this problem was to construct and define the values and habits of the company. This meant first having a rundown of how we did things: how were documents filled out, what were the procedures regarding meetings, guidelines for codes and conducts, and etc. Following those initial steps to establish the "rules" and practices/habits of the company, we then made sure that there was clarity among all individuals across the board. If there was, for example, an issue with a code for meetings, we then made sure that there were guidelines established that clarified all the procedures that had to do with having a meeting and what needed to be done. We also made sure that everyone knew those guidelines and that there were absolutely no doubts as to how the guidelines were carried out within the company

The second step I took was to establish team dynamics. At first, we arranged teams based on skills and areas of management, but that did not work. What I found was that the construction of teams had to revolve around personalities and cognitive diversity. We had to understand who we are working with and how those individuals work. The better we knew, the more capable I was of arranging the best combination of teams that work most efficiently.

Lessons learned

Personality and cognitive diversity are more important than skills and experience/technical experience. This is especially important if you are a small team or a small company. It is better to rehire than to try to fix a fit within a team, and it is better for both parties as the process itself is not enjoyable. Ultimately, it is important to have clarity as to "how" teams are constructed and how things are done within the company. This leads to a more effective work environment and prevents destructive discussions and unnecessary loss of time.


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