A Tech Lead Vs A Team Lead

Are you aware of any skill gaps on your team and have you flagged that to your manager? While not all of it will apply, How to evaluate Engineering Managers can help you better understand Tech Lead KPIs. Tech Leads must be comfortable making technical decisions, like which programming languages and frameworks the development team will use, and how to manage technical debt. At the same time, Technical Leaders should practice empowering their team members to arrive at solutions themselves, so as not to stall progress.
A tech lead vs. a team lead
In many organizations, a team lead is on the path to a more senior management role. Depending on the organization, the team lead might accumulate management duties. Programmers might go to them to have their PTO or vacations approved.

The five competencies of transformational technology leadership

These teams might work across the business and become a source for solutions, as well as early sensors of transformative technologies and potential new value drivers. Where the Team Lead focused on team issues, the Tech Lead focused on technical topics affecting more than one developer. They participated in building solutions for performance optimisations.
A tech lead vs. a team lead
Aside from ensuring that their team uses relevant and appropriate tools, they also assist in auditing the security features. They make sure to follow security standards and make improvements when needed. That might mean software libraries, or it might mean asking whether the team has enough hardware to scale.


They float from team-to-team, start new software projects, and rarely follow up to see the result of their initial architectural vision. Titles like Architect, Tech Lead, Team Lead and Engineering Manager provide endless confusion. In this article, we’ll explore the definition of the Tech Lead role. Keeping the quality of deliveries is one of the essential responsibilities of a tech lead. The role has a considerably high intersection with architects, which, in many companies, are responsible for the whole system, not single applications. The term architect is also used for the person that focuses on the entire life-cycle of the system, including evolution, configuration, and risk management.

The Team Lead had 1-to-1s with people focused on feedback and career development. They actively organised activities to build psychological safety and foster trust. The Team Lead would meet with stakeholders outside of the team keeping a good information flow, or to remove blockers. A key difference between Team Lead and Engineering Manager is that EMs report to and coordinate with a wider group of stakeholders. The Team Lead’s job is to guide the ship for a technical team.

In this article, I’d like to share with you what a tech lead is, what they do, and some lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Previously, DiLorenzo served as COO of Bright technical lead developer Health and as Global CIO for the Food Ingredients & Bio Industrial division at Cargill. DiLorenzo holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Colgate University.

  • They play the role of architect, project manager, software engineer, mentor, and teammate all at once.
  • It can be the case that the role involves teaching or nurturing others, but it is not a specific requirement.
  • Another important aspect of development is identifying milestones and goals.
  • When new recruits come, it is the team leader’s responsibility to ensure they have everything they need.
  • I have also seen street smart tech leads also acting as architects in projects?

The tech lead’s role is to minimize the risk of those changes and ensure they are done properly. That said, choosing a tech lead isn’t just a matter of figuring out who the best programmer on the team is and hanging a fancy title on them. A tech lead also needs the people skills that are important for the management track.
A tech lead vs. a team lead
The tech lead role can be a valuable experience for developers who are considering exploring the management track. Because it is often a relatively informal designation, one generally does not apply to become a tech lead in some formal way. Rather, if you’re interested, discuss the possibility with your manager. Be ready to showcase some ways that you’ve already served as a leader or specialist among your peers, and to discuss the parameters of your new role to avoid the potential for burnout. In order to fill the role of tech lead, you must have deep technical skills, but that doesn’t necessarily mean having all the answers. Again, this could mean that you have some specialized area of knowledge that you become a point person for on your team, or that you simply have superior programming chops.

They also help team members to develop their soft skills, like leadership or conflict management. Tech leads are responsible for making technical decisions in a project. On the other hand, team leaders focus more on managing people. It makes sense that tech leads to having strong developer skills.

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