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I think I'm struggled in some situation!

We are a new start-up with 5 employees (2 Programmers). I'm the Technical Manager and that was so fine!

Now I can see the fingers point to me to take the control of everything, as I've the big vision of what our organization do and play the role of CEO or General Manager!

I want to, but I've no idea if it would be risky to our organization to make such a decision? How would managerial interrupts affect the technical productivity?

Any tips or previous experience about such situation would help :)

Thanks in advance!

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 18 '11 at 19:17

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That's what I do, but every situation is different. You just have to find what works for you and your organization. –  David Heffernan Feb 18 '11 at 18:55
    
possible duplicate of Can you be a manager and a programmer at the same time? –  user2567 Feb 18 '11 at 19:24
    
Check this out: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/43460/… –  user2567 Feb 18 '11 at 19:24
    
@Pierre, your comment is a duplicate of your other comment :) –  Marcie Feb 18 '11 at 20:19
    
@Marcie: technical problem with the site ;) –  user2567 Feb 19 '11 at 10:32

7 Answers 7

It depends on the state of your company. Having someone with technical background in a managerial position in a software company is usually a good thing. It means you are in the position to communicate with both your team and your users and make those two aspects meet. Even more so if you are the one with the vision for the company.

If the technical work you are doing can rather be done by another (new) employee, or adequately handled by the current team, and your company possesses the necessary resources for this, be the general manager while just overseeing that the technical side is still on track. It's much harder to hire someone new to take a managerial position in a new company than it is to hire someone to do technical work.

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+1 For mentionning about what's harder to find between a general manager and CTO. –  Will Marcouiller Feb 18 '11 at 20:58

It depends on the amount of work that needs to be done.

At some point, it makes more sense to have one person handle the business end of the company, who would not have time to do programming.

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This has nothing to do with your answer: I love your dog! =P –  Will Marcouiller Feb 18 '11 at 21:01
    
Me too! :) ...... –  Jonathan Wood Feb 18 '11 at 22:12

Yes. In fact I think its a good idea to have someone with a programming background in that role in a tech startup. Because, as you say, you have the 'big vision' understanding of whats going on with the technology and how it all fits together. The average business manager without a tech background is not suited to make good technical decisions.

You may not be doing a lot of coding, or have pressures not to, but make sure you stay involved with it lest you become out of touch.

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Of course you can, it's just a matter of how much you compromise on each to do both.

That is, you can be a great manager or programmer. Or you can be a slightly less great manager and programmer.

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Any type of technician has to be able to make a transition to become a manager. If you'd rather hide in your office and code than dealing with other people and their problems, you probably won't make it.

It would be really helpful to have another person in the firm at a manager level that compliments your expertise. They could handle: client relationships, business operational matters, or some of the direct/day-to-day supervision of the other developers (Do you really want to get involved in vacation schedule conflicts?).

Seems like Google has decided to put a technical person in control.

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Every lousy manager I've worked for has been an ex-developer who refused to give up the developer cap. It is amazing how smooth things go with a good manager, to the point that you don't think they are even doing anything. Then, you get the bad manager and that makes you realize all the stuff that was getting done without your knowledge. Being a manager is a full-time+ job. I'm sure some people can wear both hats successfully but I've never worked with them and I've worked with probably a hundred project leads/managers.

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Getting a new PM every 3 months for 25 years is a lot. –  JeffO Feb 18 '11 at 20:16
    
I wasn't referring to program managers exclusively. I was also referring to software, hardware, systems leads and project engineers. Any of the roles where their job is supposed to be oversight and customer management rather than technical development. –  Dunk Feb 18 '11 at 20:29

If the business is yours, you definitely have to be the CEO since you are the one who got the sight of where you want your business to go.

I'm a professional software developer and the founder CEO of my own consulting company, and I wear both hats adequately. This is only to say that this is doable. Besides, this requires a lot of hours each week. This is not to mention that I do my own accounting, except the end of year taxes.

As already mentioned, it is simply better for your business to have a CEO capable of technical understanding and who is able to get how did a project not succeeded or else, and not to point out someone unnecessary.

Beware though, you may be a good technical guy, but no good CEO and vice-versa. You got to know yourself enough to put your own limits and to recognize them so that you may call for help from employees later anytime as needed.

As a technical capable CEO, you will also be able to recognize those who work for your business (you), and others who work for themselves. For sure you can do both for a while until your business grows big enough for you to only put the manager hat on and let a current employee be the CTO or system administrators, that is, if you got no problem in dealing with customers and getting new contracts, which is a rather different game to play than system administrator, that is for sure!

I hope that my grain of salt may help somehow!

I wish you the best of success! =)

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