Whenever I transition to a new opportunity, I think about how to start well. How can I ramp up as effectively as possible? How do I balance the urge to “show value” early with making the right decisions?
The canonical book on starting a new role is The First 90 Days, and I got a fair amount out of it when I read it six or seven years ago. That said, its advice skews generic at times. Yes, I should learn as much as possible. Yes, I should achieve alignment and negotiate for resources. Yes, I should build a team and partner with other organizations. In my first leadership role, these ideas reshaped my perspective, but these days I want more.
For my next role transition, happening later this month, I wanted a set of tactical best practices for starting as a Chief Technology Officer or VP of Engineering, so I did some research and collected these recommendations.
One challenge of writing about these roles is that different companies define VP Engineering (VPE) and CTO roles very differently.