Our CTO's secrets of success

Just recently, I’ve talked to our CTO, Harm Behrens, about his secrets of success. I was curious what makes for a good CTO. And how does he lead development teams? The answers come straight away.

What makes for a good CTO?

My credo is “people, technology, direction and efficiency”. As a CTO, I’m not only responsible for the technical orientation of the company, but also for the organization of the developers and their meaningful and efficient “use”. The development teams have to effectively work together. Everyone needs to know what to develop and how. Of course, developers also want to find working conditions that they can be successful with. In addition, they need regular challenges, and still have to enjoy the daily-doing as well as feeling good in their teams. So it’s not only about future technology, but also a lot about human beings, empathy, organization, and team building.

How do you lead your teams?

I develop and set up teams here at epagesdevs in such a way that they can move very independently within the given organisational and technological framework. The best ideas for technological changes/innovations then come from the developers and enable me to manage them efficiently. On the other hand this allows me to focus on the product roadmap, CTO-to-Team catch-up’s or COP’s (Community of Practice) with trend-setting topics. So I can ensure that we remain future-proof, recognize risks at an early stage, and consciously exploit market opportunities.

What are your secrets of success?

Fun to try out new frameworks myself, a good technical understanding paired with the business view, and the customer benefit. I make decisions quickly, comprehensibly, and transparently. Employees can contact me anytime. I’d like to be up to the pulse of the organization, and to be able at any time to act instead of react. We put a lot of effort into hiring new employees. Of course, everyone does, but we really invest a lot of time, and involve the teams intensively with trial working days. And if a team member says no to a candidate, then that’s the “law”!

What are the most important requirements for your job?

The requirements are broadly diversified. It ranges from pure technical knowledge to decision-making competence and organizational orientation, hiring and leadership of employees as well as representing ePages at conferences, strategic partners, and potential new resellers in the USA. My morning bike ride to work helps me to start the day with a lot of energy. And with good time management, simple priorities, pragmatism, and common sense, you can master it all very well.

About the authors

Birgit Bader is an experienced Technical Communicator. Her heart beats for UI writing, localization, and API documentation.
Harm Behrens is CTO at ePages, and shares the “bike2work” passion of many ePagees. He’s an ecommerce-addict, internet enthusiast, and Ruby/Docker evangelist.