VPE and CTO - the first 90 days


I put this mind map together a few years ago after a discussion about what a new VP of Engineering or CTO should think about in their first 90 days in a new role.


It’s a map of the areas I believe every new technical leader needs to, at least, think about and explore when starting at a new organization.

I’ve divided the map into four major domains:

  1. Company
  2. Product
  3. Technical
  4. Humans

Not every item on the map is relevant to every organization, at least not at every stage of evolution. Indeed, you don’t have to focus on everything in the list. Instead, it’s a useful mental checklist for what to think about as you’re trying to understand your new role and organization. It’s also a road map for thinking about future requirements as you grow and scale.

I tend to skim through most of the items and reach one of three conclusions:

  1. No action needed - everything is cool.
  2. This needs work - let’s work out what we need to do and when.
  3. There’s nothing here and should that worry me?

You can then work out what’s broken, prioritize what you need to fix and keep an eye out for emerging situations.

I’ve updated it a bit as I’m job searching currently, and I hope its useful to folks. Let me know if you spot anything I should add or change.