CTO and engineering culture – who is responsible for what? / Hebrew

CTO and engineering culture – who is responsible for what? / Hebrew

Perhaps the most important area of ​​responsibility of the CTO is the engineering culture of the company. What it is? There is no unequivocal answer. It is assembled from different cubes, depending on the company’s business model, its technological maturity, management approaches, and people in the team. And the CTO should be responsible for such an ambiguous concept.

What is the company’s engineering culture, how it differs from strategy, how to manage all this, what you need to know and be able to do this – we invite you to read.

Greeting! The OTUS educational platform is in touch. And today we want to think about what engineering culture is and how a CTO should work with it.

You can often hear that the CTO is a strategist, a technical leader. And it’s true. And what is the same technological strategy? Let’s start our conversation with this.

Technological strategy

The strategy in the work of the CTO has already been written in detail here in this articleso we will not repeat ourselves. Just a few basic points to build the logic.

So there is strategy? To put it simply, it is a certain plan (quite high-level) how the company will move from some current state to another state that it very much wants to get to.

What is technological strategy? This is a plan for technological transformation of the company, changes in engineering culture.

In other words, the part of the strategy that is entrusted to the CTO is entirely based on the engineering culture formed in the company. Simply put – these are the “rules of the game” for the technical department. And it is through this culture that the CTO realizes global business goals.

A simple example. For a long time, the adtech industry in the West was 90% implemented on and around Java technologies. In recent years, there has been a trend towards the popularization of GO in the market of adtech solutions. What does this mean for companies and the CTOs of those companies? It’s simple: to stay on the market, be on trend, keep up with competitors and win new market shares, you need to change the engineering culture with ubiquitous Java to the development of GO expertise. This will be included in the technological strategy of the company.

But the technological stack is not the only component of engineering culture. Let’s take a closer look at this issue as well.

Engineering culture

Engineering culture is the entire collection of rules and restrictions adopted in the company’s technical department. Everything is here in general.

Firstthe most important part of engineering culture is this delivery process, Delivery of the finished product to customers. For most companies, be it food or outsourcing, it is generally a key component of the system. What this includes:

  • Project management methodologies and practices;

  • Supply process;

  • Quality assurance;

  • Automation;

  • Presale process and scope formation;

  • Financial efficiency;

  • Project support (technical debt, documentation, etc.).

The second the important part is this expertise. This can include:

  • Technological stack;

  • Formed approaches and practices for solving tasks;

  • Architectural approaches and patterns;

  • R&D.

Well and the third part is this infrastructure. This includes:

  • Internal infrastructure;

  • Infrastructure projects;

  • Questions of information security;

  • Support and support.

The role of the CTO in managing the engineering culture

Together, engineering culture can be conditionally presented in the form 3 large blocks:

  1. Delivery.

  2. Expertise.

  3. Infrastructure.

And each component needs rules on how to use it. This is the compilation, tuning, adaptation of these rules – and this is the task of the CTO.

Somewhere the CTO has to make decisions and choose. For example, in stack questions. In matters of infrastructural solutions and information security.

Somewhere, the CTO has to create the processes and launch them into the world. For example, in the delivery block, it’s all about that. Or internal support and support.

Somewhere, the CTO should be part of the process and leave the final decisions to himself. For example, financial efficiency of projects, product architecture, RnD process.

Competencies of the CTO

What does this mean in terms of CTO competencies? In fact, there are also 3 main blocks of competences:

  1. Technical background – the CTO must have a lot of personal experience and insight. Yes, this does not mean that he has to try everything in the world by himself, with his own hands. But, at a minimum, he should clearly understand what is and what is not, and where all this can be read in more detail.

  2. Construction of processes – there is too much of this in the work of a CTO. So that a large team can work independently, and the CTO does not become a bottleneck, you need to create processes. Processes quickly become obsolete and require constant tuning. So the CTO simply has to be an expert in this.

  3. Ability to make decisions – This is a complex meta-school. It can be decomposed into critical thinking, systematicity, the ability to analyze data, the ability to quickly immerse oneself in the context and the skill of troubleshooting (problem solving).

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. And if we look at popular CTO competency matrices, the set of schools there will be much wider. But these, it seems to us, are essential to perform the work of a technical leader. And regardless of the company and what it does.


Transition to the role of CTO – The task is not easy. And the question is not even about competences. The main difficulty here is changes in the world viewthe same mindset that allows you to look at everything strategically.

To make the task easier, we at OTUS have developed new CTO/Technical Director course. His idea is to help you get the necessary theoretical basis, as well as practice in a safe environment to pump yourself up and make the transition to the position of your dreams.

And on August 15, we will spend open lessonwhere we will analyze in detail the issues of engineering culture and basic CTO competencies. Register and come participate!

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