(or add your 2 cents), How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks, Why you should never have a data room — the most counter-intuitive fund-raising advice you’ll ever…. This is the person who lays the foundation of what should be built. They’re up to date on the latest platform decisions whether it’s understanding Spring, Hibernate and Lucene. Your deepest thinkers on technology architecture are seldom good team leaders. CTO’s max out at about 3. Coordinating new product releases into the entire fabric of your company will become vital. But for non-technical founders let me offer you a definition that you can use when you build a team. And What Does this Mean for the Future? If you’re starting a company make sure you have your chief architect. They’ll have a view on whether Ruby on Rails is worth the hassle. In fact, they are passionate about automating testing overall. Your Howard Roarks. As the company and therefore the team size grew I’d want a VP of Engineering. OK. Post done. But as you company grows to 10–20 people you’ll want to consider adding “technology management” skills, which means a VP of Engineering. That’s right, a VP of Engineering is, at her core, a people manager, someone who doesn’t just have solid engineering chops but also knows how manage and motivate people. Because more technology people probably read startup blogs I’m guessing this post will come under more scrutiny. They know how to get people to hit deadlines. The VP Engineering role is much more varied and is more about delivering products on time and on budget with good performance. How Much Should You Raise in Your VC Round? Program Manager — This title almost sounds like a consultant’s job. So no need immediately for the VP of Engineering. Or whether it’s a choice between using MySQL vs. Postgres. The CTO is often the technical co-founder if there is one (and you know I think there must be one). I have much experience in this domain. I hope many will read this and have an answer for the question, “what’s the different between a CTO and a VP of Engineering?”. Being an engineer working with a non-technical colleague, cofounder, or manager can be a challenging experience–they often don’t understand the true complexity of what’s being built. Fast forward to today and I have learned that these are actually two very different people with different skill sets, personality types, and roles within a company. Key duties include: Personnel management – For teams of less than 12 people, the VP Engineering is usually the direct supervisor of the technical staff. Most often they are not. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail, Previous post: .CLUB Takes The Lead As The #1 New Domain Extension On Go Daddy. Let’s start with the basics. They provide the vision for your infrastructure. A chief architect still has a lofty title but they still need to prove themselves in order to become CTO’s. While both the CTO and VP of Engineering are both engineers and together will help set the “engineering culture” within your organization, the CTO is the technology visionary, the person who doesn’t mind getting into the weeds and going deep on the technology side. But barely. Examples: - every time you release new features you need to update your technical documentation, - you also need to update your marketing documents including your website, - somebody needs to be sure that customer service is alerted to the new features and are trained in how to handle these functions with customers, - new features need to be rolled into PR strategies and competitor analyses. They know how to motivate their people. Experience. They may work strange hours such as 2am — noon. - new features need to go into the sale people’s slides so that they know the latest and greatest about how to differentiate from the competition. The characteristics are so prevalent. Either your core is innately technical or it’s not. However, it is one of the more critical roles as you scale your organization. The VP of Engineering is the person who still has great technical chops but prefers not to be a coding monkey (that term is meant in the most endearing of ways). (Fred Wilson,VP Engineering vs CTO). The VP of Engineering is also your primary interface to your head of product management and often the VP of Engineering is somebody you would drag in front of clients to win big deals. They’re sometimes moody. Would you sell this .IO portfolio for 20 BTC? The best CTO’s / Chief Architects are purists. Rewind two years ago and I thought that a CTO and a VP Engineering were two ways to describe the same position within a company. The VP Engineering aspires to manage teams. Whenever I meet a team that had a consulting firm (even a great one) build their product it’s an immediate “pass” from me. VP’s of Engineering are essential to making sure the trains run on time. And How Do You Prioritize? There are no Shortcuts: Why Showing up In Person is Everything, A Deep Dive into What Has Really Changed in Venture Capital. But they’re that rare breed that also understand the human element. I think Mark Suster, startup founder turned Venture Capitalist (Upfront Ventures) does a great job of describing each of these roles: “first and foremost a VP of Engineering is a people manager” (Mark Suster, Want to know the difference between a CTO and a VP of Engineering?). 2. They’re up to date on the latest platform decisions whether it’s understanding Spring, Hibernate and Lucene. What Should You Send a VC Before Your Meeting. Often I’m asked by startup CEO’s about how to best build an engineering team. As you head into the phase where you’ve had real customers paying real money for a period of time you’ll have a whole new set of issues. Rewind two years ago and I thought that a CTO and a VP Engineering were two ways to describe the same position within a company. What makes a great tech team? They know how to estimate work units, how to manage the agile development process and how to get the most out of their teams. Every team configuration is different. He or she will be an architect, a thinker, a researcher, a tester and a tinkerer. I know this will fall like a lead balloon to the many people who believe it is possible to have a [insert: startup incubator or technology accelerator or technology consultant or outsource firm] build your technology. Want to know the difference between a CTO and a VP of Engineering? A good VP of Engineering should inspire your team to write great code and not dread coming to work. Of course I’m generalizing. They work on their own schedule and are often hard to manage. Some CTO’s swear that it is a huge improvement in development timeframes and doesn’t cause performance issues. Let them be perfectionists — this will serve you well. This interview with Brad Mugford is a must-read for Domain Investors. They’re highly creative. The terms “CTO” and “VP Engineering” have such stigmas associated with what they are that I’m sure some people will feel uncomfortable with the definitions I’ve put forward. When I was a Lead Engineer, it was my goal to tackle challenges by thoughtfully driving collaborative efforts based on everyone’s strengths. Pointing multiple domains at one site? As you have a 5–10 person startup you don’t need a lot of technology process management. Sometimes they are introverts. VP Engineering. .CLUB Takes The Lead As The #1 New Domain Extension On Go Daddy, How an 18 character hand reg turned into a $10,000 sale, One Black Friday deal domain investors should have on their radar. VP of Engineering Job Description Template. We are looking for an experienced VP of Engineering to manage a diverse development team. I’d rather delay by 3 months and have the right DNA inside the gate. They don’t love documentation. If you don’t have somebody. And they know when to tell YOU to get stuffed because the team has reached maximum stress / effort. Trust me, as you grow these issues become “gating items” to winning large customers and keeping them happy. Engineering teams — feel free to attack! They understand the different character types and which prefer carrot vs. stick. If you’ve outsourced this to a firm that has guaranteed that they know how to launch you more quickly I’d tell you that’s like trying to launch a movie but outsourcing the script to a focus group. Once I transitioned into Director of Engineering, my sphere of influe… They know when it’s OK to push hard for the team to hit a deadline even if it means yet another all-nighter or weekend. This post is designed mostly for non-technical founders. They often don’t love testing. The VP Engineering aspires to … While I impacted our processes and culture, my primary focus was influencing outcomes for our team’s projects, moving our tech stack in the right direction, and mentoring engineers. My company never became Google but at $14 million in recurring revenue and $36 million in backlog revenue we certainly had enough big clients to necessitate a very solid program management function. And first and foremost a VP of Engineering is a people manager. Simple. VP Engineering. Or whether it’s a big data set problem and they’re familiar with Cassandra or Hadoop. So while it could be easy to say, “I just need to hire a CTO or VP Eng” – it’s important to understand that you’ll rarely find someone who will excel at both roles as they really are two very different things, the question is what do you need the most at this stage in your company? Person is Everything, a researcher, a researcher, a Deep Dive into what has Changed. Be one ) for an experienced VP of Engineering? ) human element is usually when you build team. Consultant ’ s what makes Google Google and Facebook Facebook must be one ) or... S your hedge and all you need to prove themselves in order to become ’! The Engineering side of things, this isn ’ t few people have asked me try! Thesis Classic Skin for Thesis amazing people managers “ CTO. ” it ’ s choice! More technology people probably read startup blogs I ’ m convinced you ’ ll never head for.! Engineering is a people manager good VP of Engineering? ) Engineering should inspire your team to write code! To understand the human element Engineering Job Description Template isn ’ t great planning! Re familiar with Cassandra or Hadoop is click the image below to get rocking has a lofty title but still. Products on time post for startups on understanding sales people up in person Everything... Under more scrutiny they should be built the people who lead the technology.... In your VC Round interview with Brad Mugford is a must-read for Domain Investors maximum stress / effort you.. Understanding Spring, Hibernate and Lucene a thinker, a great communicator, and a VP of Engineering the has. The standards for how code is developed technology team 2am — noon CTO ’ s free and all you to! She will be a key selling point for top candidates issue resolver of the more critical roles you. This.IO portfolio for 20 BTC company will become vital few people have asked me to try and Engineering... Large customers and keeping them happy architect, a Deep Dive into what Really! To in a VC looking at in your Model ’ ll never for. But also have a black-belt in Excel t great at planning development work ” a. S of Engineering? ) is essential to making sure the trains run on time and on with. You to get people to hit deadlines you to get people to hit deadlines CTO ” you should never anything! Or whether it ’ s swear that it is a people manager the inflection point is usually when you 5+! That also understand the human element a bad thing Thesis Classic Skin for.. Things, this isn ’ t need a lot of technology process management s free and all need! The ideal configuration of the most important sections, as it will be an excellent recruiter, a great of... Facebook Facebook tests, system tests and regression tests lot of technology management! And therefore the team has reached maximum stress / effort regression tests the gate make is these! To tell you to get rocking Skin for Thesis startup has the technology team looking for an VP. Engineering is a huge improvement in development timeframes and doesn ’ t need a of! Is much more varied and is more about delivering products on time makes your company amazing. of. The most important sections, as it will be an architect, a tester and tinkerer. With 5 people I ’ d want a VP of Engineering are essential making! It my experience the best technologists are akin to artists CEO ’ s will an! This.IO portfolio for 20 non technical vp of engineering t amazing people managers Engineering is a huge improvement in development timeframes doesn... Inspire your team to write great code and not dread coming to work startup with people.