Sam Newman's site, a Consultant at ThoughtWorks


I’ve had a chance over the last few years to observe various different types of tech leads. Collated here are my views on what I think makes a successful one.

A Tech Lead Should…

  • Ensure the creation of a clear and consistent technical vision for the project which can best result in a successful project
  • Ensure all members of the team have a proper understanding of the technical vision
  • Ensure that the technical vision updates to reflect new requirements
  • Track and resolve issues where the code deviates from the technical vision
  • Create an environment in which all members of the team can contribute towards the technical vision
  • Understand and address skills gaps in the team which would result in difficulties implementing the technical vision

A Tech Lead Should Not…

  • Tell everyone what to do
  • Necessarily be the best at everything
  • Write no code
  • Write all the hard code

10 Responses to “A Tech Lead Manifesto”

  1. Vishal Singh

    Tech Lead Should
    1. Mentor people.
    2. Also understand that other developers in due course may become better than tech lead in technology as well as domain

  2. Caroline

    A tech lead should also encourage the team when they are under pressure and working to meet a tight deadline.

  3. Guy

    I have a question about the title: tech lead.
    Is it just another name for “system architect” ? is there a clear difference between the two ?

    Will apriciate if you can shed some light on this issue.
    Thank you

  4. vikas

    Tech lead should be the leader of the technology not the team.
    any minor/major issues raised by team members, TeachLead should be able to resolve.

  5. Steve van Bodegraven

    A nice summary…

    Just one question on the response from Vishal Singh; what is the right way to lead a person who has become better than the technical lead in technology or domain (or aspect of the domain)?

    We do not want to restrict or curtail their ability, but we need to ensure they are working toward the right outcome. I guess, knowledge transfer back to the technical lead (and other members of the team), technical reviews and continually highlighting the technical vision become necessary?

    Should the technical lead change mid-project?

    – Steve.

  6. nitin

    Awesome article. I completely agree to whatever every one has commented earlier.
    However I have something to add to it –
    Knowledge sharing is the most important part of building and nurturing a team. Take necessary measures to avoid centralization of knowledge.
    Arranging frequent small technology sessions for team [Just-In-Time] will help to boost team’s confident singificantly.
    Keeping the fact in mind that no one is 100% when it comes to technology however a healthy mindset and a positive attitude towards technical challenges will take a Tech Lead to places.
    Develop and motivate killer instict and clear focus on deliverables among team members. Another important aspect is a Agile is a shift of paradigm for them who comes from Waterfall model. So it’s very much important that every one knows clearly about Agile before jumping and starting Agile practices. If your team is transitioning from Waterfall to Agile it makes sense to spread a word in the team about it.
    It’s very important for a Tech Lead to come out of dictatorship and facilitate collaboration among team in order to succesfully perform in Agile. Come out of “ME” and work towards “US”.
    Agile is all about team work, collaboration and not about any individual contributor.

  7. Anonymous

    […] se inventou o papel de Lider Tecnico e ha algumas coisas que esta pessoa deve alcançar, e muitas delas são as mesmas das que um Designer teria que alcançar, como derivar em termos […]


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