Business Over Technology

Garrett St. John speaking at EE CONF 2017 - Business TrackI recently had the opportunity to share about technical leadership at EE CONF in Denver, CO. Most of the attendees of my talk were agency owners with at least half having done development in a previous life.

Overall it was a bit of a bullet point of my talk, but I mentioned that effective technical leaders must have a “business over technology” mindset. I figured I would elaborate a bit on that concept now.

If you are the technical leader of your team, you are no longer a developer. You shouldn’t be in an editor solving code problems. The value you bring to your company is leading the team.

If you are regularly the only developer on your team experienced enough to address advanced coding challenges, you have a staffing problem and likely need to hire a more experienced developer. Already have a senior dev? Step back and allow them to fulfill their purpose on your team.

If the team is too busy and you find yourself having to jump in to hit deadlines, you either need to expand your team or better manage your commitments and scheduling.

Every time you choose working in code over managing your team the whole company suffers.

Your job as a technical leader is to help run a profitable business and to accomplish that requires focus on bigger picture duties like supporting your team, organizing their efforts, promoting career growth, and driving high-quality technical work.