The answer to that question is ‘It depends.’

So, while I can’t directly answer that question for you, I can tell you some of the roles that your startup needs:

• Technical Business Analyst
• Software Architect
• Infrastructure Architect
• UX/UI Designer
• Developer(s)
• Project Manager
• QA Engineer
• System Administrator/Database Administrator/Network Administrator
• Technical Product Evangelist

So, the real questions are:

• Who is going to fulfill these roles?
• How long will you need a person fulfilling a given role?
• Can some of these roles be performed by the same person?

In this post I will talk about some of the basic functions of these roles and in a following post I will discuss in detail issues to consider in whether you need a CTO.

• Technical Business Analyst defines a Technical Business Analyst as:

“A technical business analyst is a business professional who understands both business and IT. She typically works as the liaison between the business team and the technical team to assist in developing requirements for the business.
The technical business analyst is typically part of an IT organization. She normally reports to an IT project manager or director of an IT department. This individual is responsible for the documentation of requirements as defined by the business users. The business analyst must ensure that designs meet a company’s technical standards.”

Essentially, a Technical Business Analyst works in conjunction with the business team in developing business related technical requirements. These skills are essential in the early stages of product development and in any on-going feature and functionality additions.

• Software Architect

From Wikipedia

“A software architect is a software expert who makes high-level design choices and dictates technical standards, including software coding standards, tools, and platforms.”

As you begin the software development process, you will need someone with Software Architect skills to select the tools, development frameworks, databases, etc. that best suit your business needs currently and with the capability of growing with the organization in the future.

• Infrastructure Architect

An Infrastructure Architect leads the hardware design. I look at this person to analyze the software application and business requirements to develop a hardware/hosting and network plan to support those requirements based upon planned user loads and growth.

• UX/UI Designer

User Experience/User Interface Designer(s) – This position and skill set has to do with the usability and accessibility of an application. User interface has to do with understanding user needs. Both of these have to do with the visual design of the application. Most developers have some basic knowledge of these skills, but I wouldn’t rely on a developer if I had a complex site that needed to be built.

• Developer(s)

The software developers. Generally thought of as the people who do the actual coding.

I’ll continue discussing roles in a follow-on post.

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