Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Fractional CTO

Rian Schmidt

August 10, 2021

Having just launched Circinaut's new site, I thought I'd put together a blog article to kick things off. What better subject than why Circinaut's consulting CTO services are so valuable to our clients.

Circinaut is a small professional services agency dedicated to providing temporary, or supplementary, technology management services to clients, large and small.

But why not just hire your own CTO or retain one of the big consulting agencies? So, here are the top five reasons that my clients have loved working with me and my team.

1. On-tap access to an experienced technology leader and his network

The most valuable part of bringing in an outside CTO is the experience that he or she brings. Every technology has its proponents and detractors. Processes range from free-for-alls to religious dogma. An experienced CTO knows how to balance practicality and immediate gains against spending time building a solid foundation or finding the perfect stack. As with security, the right recipe is what makes sense for your particular situation

I've been in the technology business for three decades-- from an early career designing airplane electronics to my recent stints as head of software development and CTO for corporate labs and small to mid-sized start-ups. I haven't seen it all, but I think I might be getting there.

2. Immediate impact

Anyone who's tried to hire in the technology world knows that it's hard. The competition is fierce, and salaries are high. Even a well-oiled recruiting machine takes weeks or months to find good candidates, screen them, and make an offer-- often only for it to be declined because the candidate got a better one.

A contract CTO can get to work right away with his own network of service providers if needed. The best contract CTOs are hands-on, able to jump in and start writing code, architecting a solution, or performing research for potential architectures or due diligence.

3. An outside perspective

Sometimes, my clients have a pretty good technical team already, and I'm brought in only to serve as a "sanity check" on the way the project is headed or the services that an outside vendor is providing. Since my goal is to act as a temporary (even if long-term) advisor and consultant, I am free to offer objective advice and assessments without concern for the politics that can stifle honest feedback.

4. More affordable and less committment than hiring full-time or a big agency

Hiring a full-time CTO is an expensive proposition. In addition to the healthy salary, the process itself is time-consuming and frought with risks. Choosing the wrong technology partner can have lasting impacts on the company if that person occupies a full-time, permanent role.

They also typically are an all-or-none proposition. Even if you only need some regular consultation or help with a short-term project, you pay your new hire full-time for the foreseeable future.

Circinaut can provide as few as ten hours per month of retained services or quote a closed-end project. All contracts are easily canceled without huge buy-out clauses sometimes found in employment or agency contracts.

5. Help "booting up" your own system

My goal is to help my clients to become self-sufficient. I love the variety that my engagements provide, and I do my best to share every bit of information I learn on an engagement with the client so that they are free to take off on their own when they feel ready without fear that they'll be left in a lurch.

I've been brought in simply to help clients screen potential candidates to fill the permanent CTO or engineering lead role or to screen companies when outsourcing or investing.


So there are the top five reasons to hire a fractional CTO service like Circinaut. If your company needs a technology knowledge boost to move to the cloud or before buying that hot start-up, contact us, and we'll help you find your way.