When discussing an engagement with a new client, a fractional CTO must do several things to ensure the partnership is successful. As a fractional CTO, you are responsible for providing technical leadership and strategic guidance to early-stage startups, and your role is critical to their success. Here are some key things a fractional CTO needs to do when discussing an engagement with a new client.
Understand the client's business
The first thing a fractional CTO needs to do when discussing an engagement with a new client is to gain a deep understanding of the client's business, goals, objectives, and challenges. By understanding their business, you can provide tailored technology solutions aligned with their strategic objectives. To achieve this, you should ask questions such as:
- What are your long-term business goals?
- What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you are tracking?
- Who are your target customers?
By deeply understanding the client's business you can develop a technology roadmap aligned with their business objectives and the client's technology needs
Based on the client's business objectives, a fractional CTO must identify their technology needs and the types of systems and software that would be most beneficial. To do this, you should ask questions such as:
- What are your current technology systems?
- What are the most significant pain points with your current technology?
- What are the critical features that you need in a technology solution?
- What are your budget constraints?
By understanding the client's technology needs, you can develop a technology roadmap tailored to their specific requirements.
Set clear expectations
A fractional CTO should set clear expectations around the scope of the engagement, the deliverables, and the timeline for completion. These expectations can cover the following:
- Defining the scope of the engagement: What will and will not be part of the engagement?
- Defining the deliverables: What will be part of the engagement?
- Defining the timeline: When will the engagement start and end, and what are the key milestones along the way?
By setting clear expectations, you can avoid misunderstandings and ensure that you and the client are on the same page.
Discuss budget and pricing
A fractional CTO should discuss the budget and pricing with the client and any potential additional costs that may arise during the engagement. To do this, you should ask questions such as:
- What is your budget for this engagement?
- Are there any additional costs that we should be aware of?
- How will billing be handled?
Discussing budget and pricing can avoid misunderstandings and ensure that you and the client are on the same page.
Building rapport with the client is critical to the success of the engagement. To build rapport, you should get to know the client, understand their concerns and goals, and establish a strong working relationship. Examples of how to build rapport include the following:
- Actively listening to the client: Pay close attention to what the client is saying and show genuine interest in their business.
- Being responsive: Respond promptly to the client's requests and inform them of progress.
- Being proactive: Suggest ideas and solutions to help clients achieve their business objectives.
You can establish a strong foundation for a long-term partnership by building rapport.
Discuss communication and reporting
A fractional CTO should discuss communication and reporting with the client, how often they will receive updates on the project and the format of the updates. To do this, you should ask questions such as:
- How often would you like to receive updates on the project?
- What is the preferred format for updates?
- Who will be the main point of contact for communication?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success?
By discussing communication and reporting, you can ensure that you and the client are clear on how progress will be communicated and measured.
Establish a project plan
Finally, a fractional CTO should establish a project plan with the client, identifying the key milestones and deliverables and outlining the timeline for completion. To do this, you should:
- Break the project down into smaller, manageable tasks.
- Assign ownership for each task.
- Set deadlines for each task.
- Identify dependencies between tasks.
By establishing a project plan, you can ensure the engagement is organised and on track for success.