Fractional CTO

So you want a CTO… but you can’t yet offer an attractive enough package to retain someone qualified to do what you need them to?

Read on

CTOs embody critical skills for competitive firms.

Knowing how to navigate technology and simplifying complexity into cheaper/faster development is a skill the average developer doesn’t have.

You need a CTO for this.

When a Fractional CTO Can Help

A fractional CTO will essentially do what a full-time CTO does.

  • A fractional CTO brings in the same experience and capability a full-time Chief Technology Officer would at a fraction of the salary. So if you are out to save as much money as you can and also need to take your business to a higher level, a Fractional CTO might be what you need.
  • You’re starting something from scratch and don’t want to make mistakes that create more technical debt than revenue right at the start.
  • If you are looking to optimize internal efficiencies, prevent silos from forming, and using the talent you already have to their full extent, a CTO can help orchestrate the systems required for this
  • Product development is not going as planned – quality issues, delivery dates missed, customer satisfaction concerns, etc…
  • Improving development speed via DevOps and Agile culture
  • You feel that things aren’t going as they should from a tech perspective and want to get an objective assessment
  • Need to prepare for acquisition / sale and want to identify and resolve tech issues that could negatively impact the deal
  • Your full-time CTO is (or soon will be) no longer in the picture and you need someone to keep things going until you can hire a replacement.

Advantages of a Fractional CTO

  • Cost effective compared to a full-time CTO
  • Enables business to get product development aligned with goals of the business without hiring a full-time CTO
  • Brings outside perspective and doesn’t suffer from the group’s tendencies to create silos/echo chambers
  • Experience from working with many companies to optimize product development/launch new products
  • Available immediately with deep experience getting up to speed quickly

Notes for those just starting out

When talking to first time founders at the beginning of a new project, it has come to my attention that many tend to overthink, over develop, and get their engineers to over engineer.

Over engineering means overspending and less also means speed to make the changes that the market with inevitably force you to make. I’ve seen many good people spend a lot of money on things no one ever needed or wanted.

If you’re starting something from scratch and don’t have any code yet, the best decision you could make BY FAR is to get a fractional CTO at least as a one-time request to:

  • Go over your idea
  • Simplify it
  • Turn it into requirements that any developer can start working on
  • Decreasing time to market (because the market is very irrational)
  • Gathering input from real life usage data

Expecting developers to take the role of architect and business analyst is unwise.

If you’re still reading, drop me a line in my contact page

About the author

Amando Abreu got into electronics as a kid, started programming microchips in his early teens, moved onto web development in his late teens, and got into people; psychology; and business in his twenties.