All - As aspiring CEOs, I know many of you are hoping to operate pure-play software companies, but even for those who aren't, it's becoming increasingly likely that you will operate a technology-enabled company, who at the very least may count a few software developers within its base of employees. If this describes you in any way, this week's blog post is for you.
In his book, The Five Temptations of a CEO, author Patrick Lencioni discusses five areas in which CEOs tend to inadvertently prioritize the wrong things. My experience leading a software company taught me that there is a sixth temptation, unique to software, that seemed to present itself on a near-daily basis. More specifically:
The biggest temptation of a software CEO is to throw bodies (specifically engineers) at problems.
It is this sixth temptation that I struggled with most frequently. With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve come to a few realizations that I’d like to share with this group of aspiring tech CEOs in hopes that you’ll do a better job of managing this temptation than I did.
More specifically, I outline when it might be a good idea to expand the size of your engineering team, and when it might be a good idea to hold off doing so. In part, this decision is shaped by the following realities:
1. Communication channels grow non-linearly as team size increases
2. Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion
3. The development team will never be big enough
4. One unit of additional capacity often doesn’t produce a unit of additional output
5. When CEOs add more developers, they’re often attempting to solve the wrong problem
6. It’s much easier to add than it is to take away
7. Hiring engineers can be a very difficult hire to quantify
Link is below. Please enjoy.