I'm in the final stages of development for my MVP, which I've outsourced overseas. My question and biggest dilemma is, at which point do I hire my first full-time technical employee and what am I looking for when hiring? I want someone who can manage the existing platform but also add upon it, fix any bugs, ensure security and everything tech. Having little tech experience this seems to be a challenge I'm facing as to WHEN to hire this person and WHAT to look for when hiring this person.
I have 5 pilot sites for my product on board and when to ensure a good initial experience for these sites. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Hi, usually I would advise to not change a winning team. If you work well with your oversea team, don't feel compelled to internalize everything yet.
If you absolutely want to internalize the work, look for full-stack developers, preferably with a co-founder experience, or at least someone who has already been responsible for a production application (eg, someone who is phoned when the application doesn't work).
Also, beware, if you're developing a SaaS app you need to host it on servers, my personal advice is always to have a shareholder controlling the servers. You can't risk an angry employee to take down your service and leave
Hey I think you should hire me. Just joking I think you need a person who involved in technical startup as co-founder, or work as team lead ,last important motivated ,creative,peacefull and long vision in nature.
As software Engineer ,I suggest it have good knowledge of web development, open-source And adaption of new technology like cloud computing, docker e.t.
In an ideal world, you would have had the guidance of an experienced CTO when initially designing the architecture of your product - there might now be shortcuts or poor stack decisions which allowed faster completion of the MVP but which will cause grief later.
Since we're not in an ideal world and unicorns take money and time to discover, I think it would make sense to find a good technical leader at the earliest of (a) a couple of months before planning your launch strategy (because you'll want someone to coordinate your demo, weigh in on the clients' feature requests, and have the ability to put together an implementation plan and roadmap), (b) going for funding (they'll want to see one), or (c) readiness to hire a technical team.
Lots of founders make the mistake of assuming they just need someone to code for them in the beginning. That's an element of what an early tech hire needs to do, because everyone in an early startup must wear many hats, but what you need a CTO type for in the long term much more than coding ability is the ability to vet other developers, put together a technical team, create solid architecture, conduct market research and build/buy analysis, make complex technical decisions, and put together realistic execution and hiring plans. You may not need all of these at the beginning, but at the very least, you'll want someone who can evaluate and hire other developers and someone who can put together a realistic technical roadmap.
Congrats on your MVP! Francois Ruty has an important point regarding your existing team. If you are having issues with your current team, then it would certainly be risk averse to bring someone else in domestically or remotely to fill this role. If you are not having issues with your current team, it might still be smart to bring someone in for the role you are looking for, but still consider keeping on at least the best developer of your existing team. This can streamline communication and also cover you if the new hire doesn't work out.
Let's start with just a few of the basic traits you are looking for based on the role you briefly outlined.
When bringing in a technical lead for this particular role, you'll first need to audit the technology you are using for your product. This would entail the codebase, framework and combined languages for the application and database as well as server and hardware standards and requirements. This will help you determine the minimum skill requirements of the person you look to bring in. You should be able to get all of this from your current dev team with no issues if you haven't already. This person would is also play an important role in determining if the codebase and technology you are using is saturated or scarce for certified developers. That can usually trip up your bottom line very quickly if there are few developers to chose from.
This role would also require an analytical and creative mindset if you are looking to not just fix bugs and improve the functional product, but also rely on someone to spot user trends and opportunities to develop new features and improvements on the existing product. This is especially critical in the early stages as you should be looking to steadily update and reinvest in the quality of your application. Usually someone like this might consider themselves a technologist or business analyst with a good vocabulary and amount of exposure to software design and scalability.
The last fundamental part of this is someone who can communicate and document to you, and for you, acentral knowledge resource that can assist any new team members jumping into the fray down the road or if something were to happen to any critical team members. The learning curve for your specific codebase can sometimes be the biggest challenge, so this will help minimize your risk in having to start over. It's also important to consider the careful balance between too much and too little documentation here. So really ask and probe for these traits as well and see what thiey might recommend to get you covered in the short term.
I have many more things you might consider, but let's start here and see what else the others can contribute and see if you have any additional questions we can address.
To add to the comments, you need a CTO when you can no longer manage that part of the business because the time, or complexity of the platform is beyond your skills. Having your team overseas is fine, but having a person sitting next to you that is leading development and validating the technology is doing what you need.
5 sites? If they are quite different, you may need a technical co-founder to help to manage those. that's quite a lot of works and the commitment. Most importantly, you cannot rely on your outsourced team to pivot the product where it is not their focus and of interest.