Help my CTO just quit!
What to do if your CTO quits unexpectedly, here is how you must proceed
A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) plays a crucial role in any organization, particularly in the technology sector. They are responsible for overseeing the company's technological strategies and ensuring that they align with the company's goals. However, sometimes unexpected events can occur, and a CTO may quit suddenly. This can leave an organization in a difficult position, but there are steps that can be taken to minimize the impact.
#1 Assess and communicate the Situation
The first thing to do is to assess the situation. Understand why the CTO is leaving, how much notice they are giving, and what projects or responsibilities they were overseeing. This information can help to determine the level of urgency and the impact of their departure. Speak to your remaining technical leaders such as engineering managers, product managers and developers. In many organizations, the CTO drives the engineering culture.
#2: Appoint an Interim or Fractional-CTO
If the CTO is leaving immediately or within a short period, it is essential to appoint an interim CTO to take over their responsibilities until a permanent replacement is found. This person should be someone within the organization who has the technical expertise and leadership skills necessary to guide the company through this transition. It is also essential to ensure that this person has the necessary resources and support to carry out their duties effectively.
A Fractional-CTO can step in within days to help bridge the gap, but the reality is that your engineering team is probably fine. Any decent CTO creates a process in which the engineering team operates on it's own with minimal supervision.
The Fractional-CTO can help assess the situation and see whether you actually need a fulltime CTO or just an advisor. Perhaps even interview the remaining leaders and managers to identify a potential promotion to CTO.
#3: Review the Company's Technological Strategy
With the CTO's departure, it is an excellent opportunity to review the company's technological strategy. Determine if it aligns with the organization's goals and if any changes need to be made. This review can help to ensure that the company is on the right track and that any new CTO that is hired has a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
As the CEO or COO of your company, you should know what the high level technology strategy is, it should be clear as day to everyone. Remember that the CTO is not in the driver's seat of your technical organization. the CTO is more like an overseer who adjusts processes to eliminate friction and ensures engineering excellence.
In short, you have nothing to fear, your organization will not crumble.
#4 Do you need a new CTO?
Time to ask yourself if you need a new CTO? Maybe your organization will function fine without one, consult a Fractional-CTO to determine your needs and to step in on an advisory, fractional or interim basis.
In any event, you will save yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.