CTO Insights Part One – Georg Hansbauer

After our great interview with European CTO of the Year, Jonathan O’Halloran, we introduce our unique series – CTO Insight. This series of interviews throughout the year will feature some of the country’s most influential and successful technology professionals – providing some unique first hand experience of their role and their achievements to date.
Our first interviewee is Georg Hansbauer, co-founder and CTO of Testbirds – an inventive company that tests apps and websites using the power of the crowd. They currently have over 100,000 testers located all over the world.
Hi Georg, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Running such a dynamic and tech-focused company must pose significant challenges for a CTO. What do you see as some of the more difficult elements of your job?
Like any position with a lot of responsibility, being the CTO comes with its fair share of both rewarding moments and stressful elements. A huge part of the job is to find balance between all the different parties involved. Organising the priorities of different stakeholders in relation to the requirements of your development team, your employees, and in Testbirds’ case, our crowdsourced testers can definitely lead to stressful situations.
A common example of this is satisfying stakeholders by releasing code that is easy, fast and well-documented versus incorporating your dev team’s desire to work with the most recent and hip technology. Finding yourself in the middle of what is essentially two very different approaches to development isn’t always the easiest place to be, still, it’s always worth your efforts once you manage to find common ground.
Would you say that your role requires a strong balancing act?
Definitely. Another issue we sometimes face here at Testbirds is when problems arise with our propriety testing platform, known as our “Nest”. If our clients face difficulties with our Nest that affects their testing experience and simultaneously our project managers are unable to access vital functions, we need to take into consideration which issues should be given priority.
Is it more important for our internal team to be able to carry on with the testing process or to ensure that our clients have easy and smooth access to the platform? While such a situation can often be difficult, and undoubtedly stressful, it’s imperative to make the best decision possible and at Testbirds these circumstances are given our full attention, as is reflected in our satisfaction score of 9.2 out of 10.”
What would you say is the most rewarding part of being CTO?
A very rewarding aspect of the position is without a doubt completing projects. Simply put, the development process tends to start with an idea. This then turns into a concept and from there on the team can create a prototype. After rigorous testing and implementing necessary changes you’re finally able to see the final product, which even in the digital space where there is no tangible result is extremely satisfying.
Another part of the job that is immensely rewarding is watching your development team in action on a project that sparks their creativity and interests. Watching their thought processes and their discussions as they tackle problems, when you point out an issue and they respond with ten solutions that they have already begun implementing all makes the job exciting and rewarding.
How do you think that technology will impact your business over the next decade?
Testbirds is, for the most part, a technology company. Other than various high level consulting services we fall within the technology sector. Therefore, the impact for us will generally be positive. It will enhance a lot of our business processes by making them faster, increase overall transparency, amongst a variety of other benefits that provide innovative solutions to problems that we tackle every day. The negative side of technology would be that certain positions can become redundant and non-tech savvy players might be put at a disadvantage.
However, the development of new technology is not going to stop and as a company you are always looking for methods to increase efficiency, which leads me to believe that the implementation of technology in society is something that will happen naturally and therefore is better to be embraced instead of avoided.
Using your experience, what advice would you give to budding CTOs out there?
It’s extremely important to find the balance between building new features or products that are easy to use versus incorporating new and complex technology to strive for the “perfect” result. The development team will almost always want to perfect their creations, often to a point that surpasses what your customers or clients actually need.
Unfortunately, while the result can be extremely impressive, the time and resources it takes are often too high. Therefore, as a CTO you need to develop and release products and software that are easy to use in a timely manner while taking your development team’s desires into consideration.
You can learn more about what Testbirds do on their website.
Stay tuned for the next in our series of CTO Insights, and if you’d like to be featured, contact [email protected]