Fractional or Part-time CTO

July 15th, 2017

Another alternative for a startup might be a fractional or part-time CTO. I’ve previously talked about the spectrum of scenarios surrounding whether you need or don’t need a CTO. Running parallel to that spectrum is the scenario of utilizing the services of a Fractional or Part-time CTO. My previous posts have dealt with the need for a CTO from purely a technical and product perspective. However, another consideration is chemistry.

If you consider that bringing on co-founders is similar to a marriage then you should only want to bring on people that you’ve previously worked with. If you don’t have anyone that you know, then finding a true co-founder is a bit risky.

While not complete, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a fractional or part-time CTO:

Advantages:
• As I previously discussed, your startup may not need the full-time services of a CTO. Going the part-time route will save you money on paying full-time for part-time effort.
• If the person doesn’t fit with your organization the “break-up” cost will probably be less.
• You may be able to scale-up or scale-down how much time the fractional CTO spends with your organization based on need.

Disadvantages:
• Plenty of people believe that you need to have a CTO who is fully engaged, involved and has skin in the game.

In the end, the decision will come down to a combination of factors including need, funding available and your comfort level with the individual person and the role.

While a part-time or fractional CTO may not work for every organization, it is certainly a very viable option for many.

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