Most of the founders, C-level or VP-level, won’t have any objection to hiring a tech lead.

For them, it is someone who will take care of things they don’t want to do:

  • Interview engineers.
  • Decide which technologies to use.
  • Organize the work.
  • Make sure the team is productive.
  • Fire the underperformers.

Thus, the tech lead becomes some sort of wildcard, a jack of all trades with enough technical knowledge and management skills to shield the company executives from the day-to-day development work.

Because these executives don’t understand how the day-to-day development works, they tend to make two mistakes: 1) they trust in their tech leads too much, or 2) they overstep and override their decisions.

When the first one happens -if they did not hire the right leader – they might be allowing the tech lead to fire or hire engineers based on personal affinity rather than company culture fit.

When the second happens, they make the tech leads’ lives miserable, eventually causing an engineering coup.

Engineers turnover is expected, and you should not build your team with the assumption that everyone will be happy and stay forever.

But you should be very suspicious when your team lead advises you to fire someone, especially if that person is productive or you don’t have any way to measure productivity.


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Leo Celis