Iryna Savchenko
FinTech Engineering Writer at INSART
18 June 2019

Split, Delegate, or Absorb. Time Management Techniques Used in FinTech

CTOs, as well as any C-level leader, have a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. CTOs are more than just technical leaders. In addition to managing development teams and the technological aspects of software development, they are responsible for company strategy and building relationships with the board, investors, and C-level peers.

If CTOs fail to manage all their tasks, not only will their career get ruined but also the entire project and even business will drown. This is why time management is an extremely important skill for any successful CTO.

There are a number of approaches to improve time management. For today’s article, we have put together techniques used by three leaders of FinTech companies to get their work done. The information is extracted from the interviews conducted by Vasyl Soloshchuk, CEO at INSART and the author of WealthTech Club.

Split maker’s and manager’s schedules

Miguel Zakharia, CTO of AssetBook, is still involved in coding. That’s why he needs to join together the roles of “leader” and “developer”. Miguel says that splitting up his maker’s and manager’s schedules turned out to be the less reactionary strategy for him.

“I split up my week where there’s a couple days for management and administration type of roles and then the rest of the time for building, coding.”

This strategy makes it easier for Miguel to manage his tasks and not switch between them.

“I’m not wondering what I’m working on today and trying to minimize task switching because that gets expensive for me.”

Each of Miguel’s roles has its long-term goal, which is broken into a list of tasks. When it comes to prioritizing the tasks, it is better to do this on a weekly basis. This means you need to choose a number of items from the general plan.

“Every week we put on that task list items from the overall strategy. But some weeks it’s harder than others to do that.”

Delegate and stay focused

Not every task should be carried out by a leader. In some cases, it makes sense to delegate them. Dirk Pearson, chief support officer at Advyzon, says that he tries to delegate to his team as much as possible. He believes that, by doing so, he helps them grow professionally since they need to deal with things outside of their day-to-day job.

Dirk adds that this approach makes each teammate feel empowered.

“It’s not only finding time for the business. It’s also finding time to manage our human capital and making sure everybody knows that they’re appreciated and has their challenges being heard. Trying to get everybody to pull in the same direction.”

However, some tasks cannot be delegated. Dirk prioritizes them based on their impact on the business at that particular moment of time.

“My time usually is spread accordingly between my direct contribution to products, my management responsibilities, and then where I have the necessary skills that fit or fill a problem, versus delegating and getting the right people involved.”

To avoid distraction, Dirk tries to not open his email inbox. He explains that when he gets an email, he always wants to respond to it right away. However, this may shift the focus from the actual task or even block it off.

“Staying focused on the task at hand is I think important to ultimately get through and complete certain things, versus leaving a lot of things unfinished and trying to balance too many plates at one time.”

Give freedom, responsibility, and move forward

Chris Daly, chief digital officer at GeoWealth, has built his own approach to time management, which is based on two aspects: The first one is the statement “Yes, and?” Chris says that this means agreement and movement forward to create a cohesive sense of where everybody’s at and where to move. The following is the second aspect of Chris’s approach:

“Know where you’re at and know where you want to be, and then everything else gets figured out in the middle.”

Chris explains that he has a to-do list. However this is not a strict schedule in terms of minutes and hours. This is a list of things that need to get done within a week.

“I’ve got a to-do list, my team has individual to-do lists, the dev team has to-do lists. Sometimes they line up and sometimes they don’t, and we try not to be overly dogmatic in terms of scheduling minutes and looking over everybody’s shoulders.”

Chris is confident that this gives the team a kind of freedom and responsibility. As a result, they have a strong software velocity and get things done in a “soft way”.

“It gives us room to breathe on any project, and it gives us an opportunity to absorb what comes in.”

Takeaways

When you need to deal with numerous issues, it’s crucial to stay focused on what you’re doing at the moment and not switch between your tasks. For this purpose, Miguel Zakharia of AssetBook splits his development and managing tasks into different schedules. Dirk Pearson of Advyzon tries to not turn his attention to emails before the work at hand is done.

In contrast, Chris Daly of GeoWealth prefers to allow time in his schedule for sudden tasks.

How do you manage to get on with all your work? What is your approach to time management? Share your experience with the community!