Project management & leadership | March 17, 2022

Why should a nearshoring partner have the roles of Tech Manager and Technical Leader?

Principal Architect, Technical Team Leader or Subject Matter Expert. In IT job descriptions, we may come across many roles that apply to someone who supports teams of developers and business development teams.

technical team leader and technical manager

At Inetum, Technical Leaders and Principal Leaders are jointly responsible for building a community around them, developing young talents, and supporting sales and recruitment processes. Find out more about how these roles differ and how they make it easier for us to build close-knit project teams for our clients.

Who is a Technical Leader?

At Inetum, a Technical Leader is a specialist who fulfills the necessary requirements to hold a senior position in a given area, as well as having knowledge of the latest technological trends, and is able to make this knowledge accessible to others. A TL’s skills and experience allow him or her to both support recruitment and assist the sales and marketing departments. A Technical Leader helps bridge the technical and non-technical worlds – to make this possible, a TL should have the ability to evaluate tasks and projects and know how to translate business requirements into project requirements. Experience in direct contact with clients is invaluable in this case.

The role of Technical Leader is important to developers

So much for theory – but how does a TL support project teams in practice? Marcin Chrost, Java Technical Leader, confirms that the role of Technical Leader is one which allows us to build bridges between us, developers, and the rest of the company.” In addition, a TL takes greater responsibility for decision-making, so developers gain a leader and mentor who takes responsibility for decisions at the technical level in a given situation.

Marcin Chrost JCommerce

“Technical Leader’s role allows us to build bridges between us, developers, and the rest of the company.”

Marcin Chrost, Senior Java Developer

Mariusz Skomra

“In terms of the recruitment process, it is important to assess both the soft skills and technical skills of the candidate.”

Mariusz Skomra, Senior QA Engineer

A Technical Leader supports recruitment

As Mariusz Skomra, Senior QA Engineer and Technical Leader at Inetum, says: “In terms of the recruitment process, it is important to assess both the soft skills and technical skills of the candidate– and this is the process by which we acquire talents. In addition to verifying technical competences, the technical interview conducted by the Technical Leader allows one to check the suitability of the fit between the candidate and the team, communication skills, creative problem-solving skills, impeccable manners, and work organization.

A Technical Leader shares knowledge

Technical leaders at Inetum are specialists in their fields. They conduct training sessions, webinars and workshops, publish articles on expert blogs, and also speak at industry conferences. A TL is a mentor to the team and indicates the direction of technological development. They tell you which training workshops and conferences are worth taking part in, what certificates to obtain and what topics are worth taking an interest in.

The role of a Technical Leader – how do clients benefit?

However, the role of the Technical Leader is not limited to activities within the company. Having a technical leader in a nearshoring team also translates into benefits for the client. As Michał Orłowski, Principal JVM Leader, says: “A Technical Leader supports sales and is responsible for a given department from a technical point of view (development, projects, etc.).

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 How exactly do clients benefit?

  • Reliable verification of the competences of specialists recruited for the project
  • Mentoring for technical staff
  • Access to knowledge
Java Technical Solution Manager

“A Technical Leader supports sales and is responsible for a given department from a technical point of view (development, projects, etc.).”

Michał Orłowski, JVM Principal Leader

Joanna Wistuba-Wyparło

“In the case of Technical Leaders, the weight of these tasks shifts significantly toward employees, and when it comes to Technical Solution Managers – toward clients.”

Joanna Wistuba-Wyparło, Head of HR Talent Acquisition

Technical Manager (Principal Leader) – a leader among leaders

Both a Technical Leader and Principal Leader are supposed to support employees – however, as Joanna Wistuba-Wyparło, Head of HR Talent Acquisition at Inetum, says: In the case of Technical Leaders, the weight of these tasks shifts significantly toward employees, and when it comes to Principal Leaders – toward clients.”

A Principal Leader at Inetum meets all the requirements for a Technical Leader, and additionally supports Team Managers and the sales department when it comes to verifying the client’s technical project requirements. A Technical Solution Manager has an advanced (C1 level) command of English, which is crucial when working in an international environment.

“A Principal is the leader of a team of Technical Leaders. In other companies, this role is often referred to as Principal Architect or simply Technical Team Leader” says Michał Orłowski.

Principal Leaders at Inetum are people with above-average interpersonal skills, which makes it easier for them both to work with Technical Leaders, when delegating tasks to them, and in dealing with business representatives.

.NET Technical Solution Manager

“A Principal Leader should not only be very good technically, but also have soft skills.”

Marcin Niesyn, .NET Principal Leader

Inetum employee talk about Inetum's customer approach

“Potential clients often ask us: ‘Do you have a leader who you could build your entire team around?’ And, indeed, we can introduce particular people to them!”

Agnieszka Bujak, Senior Business Development Manager

QA Technical Solution Manager

“A Principal Leader is a person who indicates the directions in which the company should develop.”

Leszek Zieliński, Principal QA Leader

Java Technical Solution Manager

“A Principal Leader is the leader of a team of Technical Leaders. In other companies, this role is often referred to as Principal Architect or simply Technical Team Leader.”

Michał Orłowski, JVM Principal Leader

As Marcin Niesyn, .NET Principal Leader, says: “A TSM should not only be very good technically, but also have soft skills – they should be able to communicate, know how to ask the right questions and provide feedback. For example, when visiting a client, I need to know how to diagnose their specific needs and then how to translate them into technical requirements.”

A Technical Manager sets the direction of development

Principal Leader is a person who indicates the directions in which the company should develop. A Principal Leader pinpoints directions, takes care of sales matters, and determines where a given department should be in the future. In practice, we indicate what kind of training courses the employees should attend, we make project estimates and advise which employees should be hired. It is also a representational position because we are responsible for presenting the image of Inetum during meetings with our clients or at conferences.” says Leszek Zieliński, Quality Assurance Principal Leader.


Principal Leaders and Technical Leaders facilitate team building

The Principal Leader and Technical Leader function as support for the sales department, but it turns out that a client who decides to use the nearshoring model of cooperation also benefits from it directly. As Agnieszka Bujak, Business Development Manager, says:

“Potential clients often ask us: ‘Do you have a leader who you could build your entire team around?’ And, indeed, we can introduce particular people to them! This helps a great deal when it comes to building new developer or testing teams, as well as expanding our existing ones. After all, it often turns out that we start off cooperation by adding several specialists to the client’s team, and over time – the cooperation grows to encompass several teams. IT professionals want to work with people who they value and can learn from. It makes recruitment much easier.”

Summary:

The BulldogJob portal, which is a community of IT specialists, asked them the following question – as happens each year – as part of the “Research Report on the IT community”: What is most important for you at work? Development, salary and people (in that order) are the most important factors mentioned by people in the industry. Non-financial incentives are important, but today they are not everything – development, being in touch with technology and the continuous improvement of competences all count in the IT world, and an experienced mentor, Technical Leader or Principal Leader acts as the strongest incentive, in fact. Technical Leader and Technical Manager (Principal Leader, Technical Team Leader or Subject Matter Expert) are roles that not only support internal processes, but also facilitate communication between the technical and non-technical worlds. When building a nearshoring team, it is worth making sure that the vendor has valued mentors in the IT world – this makes it easier to create engaged teams and attract talent, not to mention retaining employees in projects.

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