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Do you have CTO Problems?

Yesterday I threw a few questions out there about defining the type of technology leader that you are. While you might not have the title CTO, you’re undoubtedly a leader in the technology space. So how do those questions shape your work? Do you have CTO problems?

As the most senior technical person in your company, it’s your job to bring home the bacon. You need to make sure that there is a product which leads the market and drives sales either directly or indirectly.

There are always constraints to the system within which you work. As indicated by Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, you need to work out which is the biggest blocker holding you back and reduce the impact of that constraint in whichever way you think is best.

For example, if you’re spending too much time firefighting problems with your website, then take an approach that will tackle that head-on. How you go about that could mean many things – allocating more resources or time to maintenance, looking at alternatives or outsourcing or considering a complete rewrite.

If you are constrained by budget as well as limited time and resources you can become more practical. What can you do with existing systems to simplify the life of your engineers to buy yourself back more time?

Stay Ahead Of The Game

Time doesn’t stand still and constraints change. While it’s nice to be able to look at problems with a cool, external eye, sometimes it’s better having a clear short term plan to tackle something head on can reap immediate rewards.

Look for patterns emerging in your daily routines and systems such as increased error rates, reduced throughput of features, increased developer frustration. The small signs that things might be going wrong.

As I was reminded by a couple of great talks at DevOps Eindhoven yesterday – a 1% improvement day-on-day adds up to a significant win over a year.

Small changes, big results.