THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN THINKING IN RECENT YEARS REGARDING HOW MUCH VALUE A PART-TIME CTO CAN ADD TO ANY SIZE COMPANY.
July 5, 2019 | CMS Wire
Fractional or part-time CTOs have become far more commonplace than when Tony Karrer first began working as one back in 1997. Back then he was a fractional CTO at dating site eHarmony for its first four years leading up to its $110 million financing round. Today he is the part-time CTO of Aggregage. Karrer said he started down this path after realizing that his strategic work only took up a small fraction of his time. “Most startups don’t need a full-time CTO to handle strategy,” he said. “A fractional CTO works extremely well in those situations.”
While fractional CTOs are usually associated with startups, there has been a change in thinking in recent years about the value that a part-time CTO can add and now even larger companies are embracing their use…
Where fractional CTOs are not useful is in strategic roadmap discussions with windows of two to five years — which is a typical timeframe in which most CTOs operate, said Brad Westveld, co-founder and partner with executive search firm ON Partners.
CTOs also identify trends, work closely with customers on future feature sets, changes in product and other strategic initiatives, he added. “I find it hard to believe that a ‘rent-a-CTO’ can be effective if he or she is only there two to six months, or part-time. The whole nature of a CTO is ‘long-term vision,’ and part-time or not fully integrated in the business would cause more problems than intended,” Westveld said.
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