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Developing Custom Software? Don't Hire an Interim CTO

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Developing Custom Software? Don't Hire an Interim CTO


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Black Pearl Matrix

Skills Needed by a CTO:

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Developing custom software can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially if you are new to this type of project. For this reason, many companies choose to hire an interim CTO to help with the development process. However, hiring an interim CTO may not be the best option for every company.
An interim CTO is a person hired for a set period to manage a company’s technical operations and lead software development.
While an interim CTO may have valuable experience and technical knowledge, they may not have the same understanding of the company’s culture and long-term goals as a permanent CTO.
Also, an interim CTO may not have as much time to dedicate to the company as a permanent CTO, which can affect the quality and effectiveness of the software developed.
The CTO is the person responsible for the technical part of the software development process. He manages technology partners, software developers and IT support, configures the development process and controls, and makes key decisions about technical and architectural processes.
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Finding the ideal people and optimizing software development are also two of the main responsibilities of the CTO. In other words, he is a person of extreme importance in the execution of projects, strategic innovation and business mentoring.

How to Hire the First Developer?

Alongside the bureaucratic issues involved in opening a startup, there is another concern: hiring people who will run the project.
Therefore, to hire the first developer in your startup, you must know that the choice is fundamental for the business to gain scalability.
That’s because the first person developer on your team doesn’t just need to master the languages or write code all day long. She must, yes, have soft skills that give her security.
Commitment to deadlines, attention to detail, proactivity and flexibility are essential details in the behavioral profile of the developer to be hired.
But you can’t give up technical skills either. Therefore, it is important to hire a full or senior level professional, especially when you will be focused on the business strategy, including customer acquisition.

Disadvantages of Having an Interim CTO

1. High Initial Cost

Designing and developing software that meets your company’s needs demands a lot of knowledge and a lot of planning. Development requires integration between professionals from different areas in integration and communication with the development team, such as the CTO, and this means a high cost.
In cases where the complexity of the company’s operations is not so great, existing solutions can provide a better cost-benefit ratio.

2. Delay in Implementation

Between the start of development and the first functional versions, it is possible that the solution takes much longer than the company’s needs can allow. It is possible that in order to remain operational, it will be necessary to contract a partial solution to operate until the system is available. In these cases, it may be necessary to plan data migration between systems, and this should preferably be included in the design of the new system, to ensure data compatibility.

3. It May Be Unnecessary

Before choosing whether you really need a customized solution, it is important to look at the options available on the market. It may be unnecessary and therefore a waste of resources for your company.

What Are the Advantages of Custom Software?

One of the biggest benefits of customization is the functionality tailored to the needs of the business. The team of developers works closely with the company, so that all terms, elements and usability are thought out so that employees feel comfortable using that application during their work routine.
Another interesting point is that the companies that build these systems usually offer a warranty period, in which they provide all the necessary support for bug fixes or operational adjustments after implementation.

What Are the Benefits of Ready-made Software?

In the case of the ready-made program, the clearest advantage is in its immediate use. The company does not have to wait or participate in the planning, development and testing stages. Just hire and start using, unless you need to do some installation that requires greater attention.
It turns out that, currently, many systems, regardless of category, follow the model of software as a service, or Software as a Service (SaaS), and are available on the web for direct access, via browser.

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Is the Difference in Price Significant?

As with any bespoke product or service, it is to be expected that the custom option will be priced slightly higher. However, in the long term, a customized solution will represent a more effective type of technology investment for the company.
This is because ready-made software, depending on its purpose, tends to quickly become outdated, as it has not been adapted to the needs of the business. It may be that the need for integrations and other adaptations will appear as it is used by collaborators, and, with customization, this should already be mapped in the early stages of development.

Which Companies Typically Hire a CTO?

Generally, companies that seek this type of position are directly linked to innovation or startups, with the new trends in the technological market, it is feasible for companies to seek qualified and experienced professionals in innovation.

Functions of a CTO in the Company

The main functions of a CTO in the company are all linked to technology and innovation. A CTO is responsible for the good composition of the technology team and must always assist the team in strategic and innovative projects.
Despite being in the technology area, this position is aimed at the executive area, as it is the role of a CTO to carry out the company’s technological planning and strategy. The CTO is also responsible for hiring and even training new components in the IT area.
Its role is to always dedicate itself to new perspectives and paradigms of the technological market so that the company meets all its demands and achieves results.
The CTO must have a strategic vision so that the company can grow sustainably with good cost-effectiveness and strategic planning.

What Skills should a CTO have?

As with any other executive position at a high hierarchical level, the professional who wants to become a Chief Technology Officer must have a series of general and specific knowledge.

Check below the main knowledge required:

Leadership Profile

It goes without saying, but a leadership profile is essential for anyone who wants to be the reference professional for the highest level of importance in the organization.
The CTO must show himself capable of leading, projecting confidence in employees, and doing it for what he deserves: paving the way for innovation and helping the company’s teams along the way.


Proactivity is also essential for the CTO. Executives must always be one step ahead of planning, anticipating the next needs and eventualities of the processes.
A proactive stance provides new opportunities to innovate, grow and strengthen itself in the face of competition. Not just for the CTO, but for all executives, these points should be a top priority.

Technical capacitation

Of course, you can’t be a technical leader without technical ability.
The appropriate level of knowledge for the position should allow the professional to explore new possibilities and open new ways for the use of technology in the company’s operations.
A higher education diploma in the area and professional experience of at least 10 years are usually required, showing a progression from lower hierarchical levels to high seniority.
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Business view

The technical leader’s work, along with that of other C-level executives (such as the CEO, COO, CFO…), must primarily aim at the success of the business.
Having a critical view of the business and a keen sense of opportunity are basic requirements for a CTO.
These characteristics show their importance in moments such as defining processes, planning goals and choosing between different paths to the same destination.


Like any other professional, the CTO must above all have responsibility.
This class of executives carries a high decision-making power, and their actions generate deep impacts at the organizational level, often being the key point that makes an operation viable or not.
The CTO must, in addition to responsibility, be capable of self-criticism and look at his work and that of others with attention, understanding and objectivity.


In general, executive and management positions require a good deal of patience for the professional to act in his best conduct.
The CTO must be able to explain calmly and didactically, listen well, be flexible and understanding.
Often, the CTO’s patience and perseverance will serve to ensure the maintenance of a good organizational culture, especially in the early stages of an operation, when one does not yet have full access to the expected results.

How Should Your Profile Be?

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To become a CTO, it is essential that the employee has a profile of extreme innovation and creativity, in addition to extensive knowledge in all areas of technological strategies.
Being proactive is also one of the essential requirements to be a CTO, considering that your position will deal with analysis and control of network data and among other technological factors.
It is necessary that the professional has some prior knowledge with great skill or even qualification to perform the function, and that he also has the ability to lead and manage with mastery.
In addition to having knowledge and experience in technology and being a born leader, to become a CTO the professional must also demonstrate good speaking skills, commitment and responsibilities.
It is worth mentioning that, with the high demand for innovations, it is necessary that those who wish to pursue this role are in constant training, updates and training courses.

Experience x Knowledge

In this area of technology it is necessary to have good knowledge and extensive experience in the subject, a balance between these two factors is ideal for a CTO.
But it must be remembered that there is a big difference between experience and the knowledge needed to practice the profession. In these cases, knowledge is acquired through courses on a particular subject or even in the area.
Experience in this case is only acquired when the professional already has extensive and recurrent contact with the subject or profession.
These concepts in the IT area go hand in hand, it is necessary that the position be filled by someone who understands the subject in an academic way so that he can pass on the knowledge to the other employees and in a practical way so that the team has an expanded support and knows deal with some situations.



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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Why Not Hire an Interim CTO

1. What's the Difference Between CTO and CIO?

The CTO develops technology or keeps the wheel turning, and the CIO strategically builds and updates resources for internal use. Despite everything, it is possible that both act within the competence of the other, remembering that many companies do not have the resources to have both.

2. What is custom software?

It is a solution developed on demand, exclusively made for a set of users or a company. As the name implies, it is personalized and focused on a specific business.

3. What is the difference between custom software and basic software?

Basically, the first is built based on the company's requirements, while the other is already developed with general features and is ready to serve the customer who wants to pay for his license or subscribe.

4. What to evaluate to choose a good CTO for your company?

The first aspect to evaluate is the professional level, such as job references and the support it offers.
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For all of the above, we can conclude that hiring an interim CTO is not always a smart solution for all types of ventures, regardless of their size or field of activity.
Before hiring an interim CTO, it’s important to assess whether this is really the best option for your company.
In some cases, it may be more advantageous to hire a permanent CTO or an in-house development team, or even work with a partner software development company.
This can help ensure that the software developed aligns with the company’s long-term culture and goals and is developed efficiently and effectively.
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