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THOUGHTS FROM INSIDE TRAGIC MINDS

Recently, we have noticed a focus from leaders on innovative design and user experiences.

This is a great thing – all businesses should be passionate about providing a thoughtful and memorable experience to customers.

But there is an underlying problem. From local startups to global enterprises, we see a lack of experienced technical leadership. In today's interconnected world, the lack of tech leadership can result in problems well beyond the walls of the engineering org.

We are going to be blunt. There is an imbalance in many organizations, one that will have large productivity and dollar costs in the long run.

In this post, we explore how the top-performing teams have a culture that merges industry best practices with strong technical leadership. We will explain how these teams are able to get more done faster.

Balancing Your Organization

All organizations rely on sales, marketing, design, technology, and more to drive their success. The most successful organizations find a balance of leadership — and these departments are able to support each other to facilitate big wins.

However, we have found that many organizations do not invest enough in strong technical leadership and, as a result, their other departments suffer.

Technology enables sales and marketing initiatives, and turns great designs into thoughtful user experiences. Without strong technical support, marketing departments struggle to track their effectiveness, sales deals fall through the cracks, and designs are poorly implemented.

Much of our work at Tragic is to empower and support the sales, marketing, and design departments of our clients. They outsource technical leadership to us, and we leverage modern tools and best practices to help our clients reach their goals.

Below we breakdown some important technical concepts that all companies must consider and prioritize.

Security

In 2020, security is of utmost importance for all parts of the technology ecosystem – including hardware manufacturers, software developers, and even users.

Organizations are finally understanding that they need to put security first, though many are still being reactionary. Experienced tech leaders will put an emphasis on ensuring security best practices are followed and that products are vulnerability tested before release.

A good tech leader builds a team of experienced developers who understand how to leverage frameworks and third party tools, while keeping their overall infrastructure secure. We suggest keeping these considerations in mind:

  • Be thoughtful of how systems are architected
  • Know where your data is vulnerable
  • Have a plan should a breach or failure occur
  • Set aside time to conduct security audits
  • Run vulnerability scans frequently
  • Update software dependencies
  • Implement best practices as they emerge

Lastly, your team should be careful when granting access to developers. We suggest that your devs have the least amount of access that they need, and that strong passwords and two-factor authentication be mandatory for all users.

Building a secure infrastructure also requires setting aside time to conduct security audits, run vulnerability scans, update software dependencies, and implement the latest best practices.

Learn More: How to secure your web app properly

Technical Debt

Software development is often guided by overzealous business people. They want to move fast and build exciting, new things – all while staying within (an often unreasonable) budget.

While this can be a good thing, it often comes at the expense of good software development practices. As such, your technology leader needs to be the counterbalance to this force.

Experienced leaders will raise concerns and can assess trade offs. Your team should move fast, but the entire company should also understand the risks and shortcuts they are taking.

It's part of human nature to get excited about new shiny features. However, there needs to be an advocate fighting for more QA cycles, more budget for security, taking the time to follow best practices, and for sprints dedicated to paying down technical debt.

An experienced leader knows how to build things that will support your business for longer, and where they can take shortcuts without incurring large amounts of debt. This knowledge alone can create a dramatic difference in your project's trajectory over the coming months and years.

Unfortunately, one of the first things out the door are good software development practices as these things take time and have no discernable value to non-technical upper management. Experienced tech leadership will keep the team focused on the product as a whole, instead of merely building more features.

Unfortunately, one of the first things out the door are good software development practices as these things take time and have no discernable value to non-technical upper management.

Learn More: Technical debt – the silent killer of startups

Building the Right Team

Experienced technical leaders are also incredibly valuable when it comes to building highly-productive teams.

All cohesive software teams have a few core elements: good communication, clarity on direction, balanced skills, and a shared culture. When building a technical team, it’s important that you understand how to balance your talent, including having enough experience on your team to ensure the success of the project.

To a non-technical person, a full-stack developer may seem like a Swiss Army knife to throw at any problem. As a result, they may be inclined to build a team of full-stack devs, regardless of how they work together or the current organizational deficiencies.

Remember, any gap in skills of your team will show up in your product.

Organizations big and small need to take a step back and ask themselves whether they are building the right team. Your product will grow with time, but it’s important that you understand the structure and skills of your team and ensure they support the long-term goals of your organization.

We even wrote an entire blog post about this. To learn more about building the right team, click the link below.

All cohesive software teams have a few core elements: good communication, clarity on direction, balanced skills, and a shared culture.

Learn More: Startups – Are you building the right team?

Conclusion

Successful software projects require strong technical leadership backed by talented developers. This is true whether you are a tech company or if software is a piece of a much larger, more complex picture.

There are many early decisions – like whether to build or buy, work with consultants or build your own team, which infrastructure to use, ensuring your product is complaint, integrating with outside systems – that can cost you months and real money down the line.

Whether you are a startup or Fortune 500 corporation, finding experienced technology leadership for your team will ensure that your other departments are properly supported, and that your product will be balanced and poised for growth.

Looking to work with experienced technical leadership? Tragic Media has decades of experience architecting, building, and supporting enterprise-grade software. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Don't let your project turn into a tragedy.