Created: March 25, 2020 / Updated: March 31, 2020 / Status: finished / 2 min read (~387 words)
Do you need a tech lead in your team?
Let's start with definitions of the tech lead role.
A Tech Lead is a software engineer, responsible for leading a development team, and responsible for the quality of its technical deliverables.
- Guiding the project technical vision;
- Analyzing risks and cross-functional requirements;
- Coaching less experienced people;
- Bridging communication between stakeholders and the team.
- Lead with company values
- Deliver value to customers
- Keep the dream alive
I am of the opinion that the distribution of responsibility is likely the best way to get resilience in your system. But with it comes the cost of delays before eventual consistency.
Thus I am more likely to adopt a position where having or not a tech lead will depend on the situation of your team.
Do you need to make quick decisions? Either have a tech lead for that or limit the amount of time allocated for a group of individuals to make decisions.
Do you need accountability? Either have a tech lead that is accountable or have important decisions assessed as a group and the results of the decision written with the name of those that participated in that decision.
Do you need to have a technical vision? Either have a tech lead responsible for defining that vision with the team or have the team work as a whole to define this vision.
Tech leads should have a high-level overview of the pieces that need to be built and an idea of how to get there and when. As individuals, this would require coordinating between individuals with different opinions about those topics.
I work in AI, and this problem makes me think of having a single model (tech lead) vs an ensemble model (group of contributors). If your single model generally predicts the same thing your ensemble model would predict, then the single model is more efficient. On the other hand, if there's no single model that can perform as well as the ensemble, then you should go with the ensemble model.