A checklist for your first 90 days as a technical leader.

Initial Meetings

Meet your team:

  • Schedule initial meeting with all developers/teams to introduce yourself
  • Schedule initial meeting with each engineer to say hi and understand their responsibilities and skillset
  • Schedule one-on-ones with each developer

Meeting with the CEO and other key stakeholders:

  • Schedule meetings (CEO, Head of Product, Head of Design etc.)
  • Prepare a list of questions to understand the company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals
  • Book in follow-up meetings for any clarifications

Meet with your manager:

  • Schedule regular one-on-ones meetings with your manager

Technical Processes

Understand product technology stack, how it supports the business and identify any gaps:

  • Study the architecture and design of the product. Spend real time investigating the tech stack.
  • Draw a diagram of the existing tech stack.
  • Assess the technology stack in relation to business requirements
  • Identify outdated technologies or necessary upgrades

Evaluate and understand the startup’s technical debt and strategise how to reduce it:

  • Review the codebase and identify bad programming practices or outdated technologies
  • Develop a plan to refactor or upgrade the code without affecting current projects

Review and understand the existing CICD processes:

  • Analyse the current CICD processes in each domain
  • Identify areas of improvement or inefficiencies
  • Define a plan to get them to all to best practices (and to the same baseline)

Commit your first change in each domain! Yes, you should still code. Yes, if your team has a Mobile, Backend, and Front end projects you should aim to make a commit in each one!

  • Checkout each repository
  • Find a ticket off of the critical path (low/mid priority bugs are a good first ticket)
  • Make the change and get it into production!

Setup and oversee quality assurance and testing procedures:

  • Review current testing procedures and make improvements as necessary
  • Plan and ensure execution of thorough testing for each version release

Project Management

Map all ongoing projects, their importance, expected deadlines, any issues and bottlenecks:

  • List down all active projects
  • Onboard onto project management tools to track progress
  • Monitor potential risks and flag any bottlenecks

Understand the Product

Review the product roadmap and understand the priorities and deadlines:

  • Schedule initial meeting with Head of Product
  • Review existing product roadmap
  • Discuss with product team and stakeholders about priority changes required
  • Update roadmap according to the discussion

Review onboarding process:

  • Review current user onboarding process
  • Identify pain points and areas of improvement, ticket and schedule work

Work with customer support to understand users issues:

  • Review feedback received by customer support
  • Identify trends or issues frequently encountered by users
  • Plan strategies with your engineering team to resolve these issues

Team Management and Culture

Begin establishing a culture of continuous improvement and innovation:

  • Create a platform for your team to share innovative ideas e.g. a Slack channel
  • Schedule idea generation and problem-solving sessions (technical discovery)
  • Acknowledge and reward improvements and innovations
  • Create process for scheduling Post Mortems

Consider hiring more engineers or contractors:

  • Identify team’s capability gaps
  • Start the recruitment process or hiring contractors
  • Onboard new members and integrate them into teams

Establish regular communication channels with your team and other departments:

  • Discuss communication tools and protocols with the team
  • Establish daily stand-ups and/or weekly sync-ups

Improve the engineering hiring process:

  • Evaluate the current recruitment process and its effectiveness
  • Consider changes that can improve the speed and quality of hiring
  • Implement strategies to attract top talent in the industry

Defining roles and responsibilities:

  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Ensure every team member knows what is expected from them
  • Identify any gaps in roles that need to be filled

Partner Management

Develop relationship with key partners and vendors:

  • Schedule initial meetings with key partners and vendors

Implement Best Practices

Adopt engineering best practices:

  • Identify the best practices relevant to your organisation
  • Develop guideline documents and discuss with the team
  • Ensure feedback loop is in place for continuous improvement

Initiate code reviews (if they’re not already being done):

  • Develop a code review checklist and process
  • Encourage peer code review within the team

Metrics and Performance

Establish KPIs to track the team’s productivity:

  • Determine relevant Engineering KPIs
  • Setup a system for regular tracking and reporting of KPI

Review and optimise product’s scalability, security, performance under current user traffic:

  • Conduct load testing to ensure product scalability
  • Review and enhance security measures
  • Monitor how the product handles current user traffic and optimise if needed

Improve system reliability and uptime:

  • Keep track of system downtimes and analyse reasons behind it
  • Work on infrastructure improvements to boost system reliability
  • Create “Issue in Production” report
  • Plan strategies for minimising downtimes (load balancing, redundancy)

Strategic Planning

Conduct competitive analysis:

  • Research competing products or services in the market
  • Understand their technology implementation and how it compares to your product
  • Identifying areas for improvement and innovation based on market demands

Develop disaster recovery plan:

  • Identify potential risks and their impact
  • Develop mitigation and recovery plans
  • Test the recovery plan and fine-tune it

Regulation and Compliance

Ensure data privacy and compliance:

  • Understand the applicable data privacy regulations for your company
  • Conduct a regulation audit to ensure that the company is adhering to relevant legal and industry standards. Make note of any gaps.
  • Implement practices to comply with these regulations
  • Review data handling procedures regularly to ensure compliance

So, what have I missed? :)

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