15 June 2012

What is technical leadership

Use Case Model

What is a technical lead?

In my opinion a technical lead  is a person who is senior enough and has the required set of skills that can manage the technical aspect of implementing a complete software product or just a part by managing the technical aspect of its development for a small team of up to five people.

The principal focus of a technical lead is the correct technical implementation of a set of requirements by her and her team.

How do I become a technical lead?

In my experience technical leads (or whatever name they have) share the following characteristics:

  • A Technical lead has a level of technical excellence in a all areas core to the product development
  • A Technical lead has the ability to create a technical vision of a finished product, transform that vision in a set of tasks and lead people in their development,
  • A Technical lead can take onto him self to develop the core of the product being developed.
  • A Technical lead needs to have soft skills

In short you need to have all those skills and experience to make it to a technical lead level. But that is not enough. To be successful as a Technical lead you need implicit backing from the organizational management structure. A Technical lead is responsible for the technical aspect of the product being developer and without a proper and implicit organization backing he cannot achieve her goal because technical excellence and soft skills are not enough to technically lead people.

On aspect of the technical lead job is to be the arbiter of any technical decision. In short words if there is any doubt what technical solution is proper for a given problem the duty of the technical lead is to accept upon himself the responsibility of the final decision.

What does a technical lead do?

A technical lead has several areas of responsibility. He is is both an engineer and a operational level manager and thus his work covers both spectrums:

  • Translations of business requirements into technical tasks
  • Planning and organization of technical tasks
  • Technical planning and technology selection
  • Team technical communication
  • Stakeholder technical communication
  • Project technical quality attribute management
  • Construction of the project core

OF the entire list the following two areas of responsibility are important:

  • Construction of the project core
  • Planning and organization of technical tasks

The technical lead must accept and develop the most important and critical part of any project. And he also must manage the implementation of all technical tasks related to the product being build.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post man :) thanks for that :)

    I agree with your vision and i think it is very good you mentioned soft skills. If this is what i have in mind i would call it 'servant leader'.

    Servant leader is a very powerful way of leading people. From my experience people who have technical knowledge and apply servant leadership style are the most respected leads ever.

    Just knowing you stuff is not enough when it comes to organising teams, it is not an easy skill to obtain but i think its worth it :)