Who is the technical director and what does he/she do?

Technical director (TD) is an interesting role. According to Wikipedia the role itself stems from the television/movie industry but you can find it in gaming and also software development. People quiet often confusing it with other roles like CTO or Head of engineering perhaps Lead engineer. Sometimes it is okay to blend roles although I think the best is to keep them separate as much as possible. What are the responsibilites of a Technical director (in software development)?

  • Cost analysis and budgeting.
  • Identyfing problems and grey areas.
  • Forecasting potential bottlenecks.
  • Help with technical hiring.
  • Technical prototyping.
  • Discovering 3rd parties, softwares and technologies.
  • Negotiating with 3rd parties.
  • Liasing with the architects and technical leads.

What should not be in the responsibility of the TD?

  • Managing the development team on a personal level.
  • Writing code on a daily basis.
  • Micro managing anyone (should not happen at all).
  • Getting lost in project details and daily delivery issues (You have scrum master, right?).

Besides all above it is possible to be flexible with this role and writing some code every now and then or even stepping in the shoes of a delivery manager perhaps a scrum master but it is not ideal unless it lasts for an interim short period until hiring happened. This role can be key to your success and delivery to ensure you do not run out of budget, make the right hirings and arrange the right technology. I wouls also suggest to have one TD per project/key client instead of assigning multiple projects to one TD. Finally, keep things separate and do not blend this role with Head of… I also believe that the role of TD is complex and cross discipline. The person who looking to fulfill such a role should have a strong background in hands on software development (ideally full stack) and years of experience of delivering software and not to mention a grasp of budgeting around software/cloud. It should also have very good range of analytical skills and firm communcation skillset to face stakeholders and customers (non IT savvy mostly) when needed. Are you looking for someone to fill the Technical director role described above? Hire me. If you are not sure what should you expect from your Lead developer then continue reading here.