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I am a software developer who has recently (6 months) been hired as the CTO of a medium-scale services organization in Pakistan (50 employees). I have not been given charge of all the projects yet but the bigger ones and all the new ones are under me. Before me there was no CTO; the CEO was juggling business development, HR and software development while advertising and content creation being under his wife.

My first job was also with this person as boss but in another company. We are also close friends as he being my university senior by a semester.

So somehow he continues to contact me through the QA department rather than directly. I always get his instructions about projects or employees from any of the QA specialists which feels very bad.

There are instances where he does contact me directly in the same day but about different things. After some effort I made him not offer support to employees directly which was undermining my authority as employees used this loophole to their advantage.

The typical instructions are related to many subjects that may be more or less like a new employee has arrived and give him privileges or an employee isn't responding or the client sent a message. Although all these channels are also in my possession and eventually we have to talk directly.

Maybe he is finding it difficult to work with a CTO role which he never had before.

How I can make this clear to him in a way that he doesn't find me odd?

  • So you're asking the CEO to bypass the QA process and contact you directly about things? – Snow Sep 22 '17 at 8:13
  • @SnarkShark nothing about that actually. The QA also comes under me but even if he observes them I don't really have an opinion. The instructions are not related to QA process or things being tested. – Umair Ahmed Sep 22 '17 at 8:19
  • Its like; we have a new employee, give him privileges. Or the other employee is not adding helpful commit messages. In short, he is finding it difficult to subconsciously accept my role. – Umair Ahmed Sep 22 '17 at 8:20
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    @SnarkShark You have a very fitting name. Your snark is as ferocious as a shark. – Jack Sep 22 '17 at 10:25
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So you are at the C-Levle now, congratulations. One of your responsibilities is communicating with the other C´s to get you on the same page and not send mixed messages. I suggest you start meeting regularly with your CEO and discuss such things as:

  • Improvements in structure and processes.
  • Any shift in the direction of the company that may have an impact on the technical stuff.
  • Risks and risk-prevention-strategies.
  • etc.

This is where the topic of reporting lines belongs. First get a mutual understanding of how those should work for your branch of the company. Then, if you boss shortcuts, as him to help you by sticking to those reporting lines.

This will be a process of constant improvement and refinement. don´t expect your CEO to change his habits instantly.

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