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Team Lead vs Tech Lead. Who’s who?

Maksim Shalamov
07-08-2020 12:36
Team Lead vs Tech Lead. Who’s who?


Let’s talk about Leads in IT-teams. Team Leads, to be precise. Who is a team leader and what’s the fuss?

Who is Team Lead

We’re going to start with basics. Team Lead is a team lead (I know!) who maintains all the processes, atmosphere and copes with team’s problems. IT background is not vital. The important part is to understand the workflow and detect all the team needs. Thus, we need some damn good soft-skills, right? Here are Team Lead's job responsibilities enlisted below:
  • Maintain the development process (or build from scratch);
  • Lead the interaction with business and company tops;
  • Divide and allocate task (bearing in mind risk management and deadlines);
  • Hire new employees and compose an efficient team;
  • Arrange team growth and development.

Who is Tech Lead

So, we’ve shed the light on being a Team Lead but who the hell is Tech Lead then? And what are technical team lead skills?
As you know, not everyone eager to lead other people. Besides, not only team management matters, but the product quality and architecture as well. Here comes our Tech Lead. This a person of the highest professional competency. And I am specifically underlining hard-skills here. This person should be able to propose suitable project architecture, predict technical problems (and already have a solution to them). And not to forget – clearly explain their technical decisions to the team. Tech Lead should help with tasks decomposing and set the definition of done. To some up, he/she is a person who:
  • Controls, develops and assures the maintenance of the project’s architecture;
  • Controls the company standards accomplishment;
  • Takes part in tasks decomposition;
  • Mentors employees technical development;
  • Reviews the key tasks’ code;
  • Interviews potential employees in order to grade their hard skills.

About structure

All in all, every team should have a Team Lead (who is preferably not a Tech Lead) and a Tech Lead. There can also be several Tech Leads sometimes if a team is of mixed competencies (for example, includes frontend, backend and mobile developers). Team Lead in this case should have their last word in any tech arguments, as he or she sets the tone of the whole development process. Also Team Lead should avoid the power exploitation, especially when it comes to Tech Lead’s area of interest. However, he or she should be ready to step in when it comes to resolving an argument.
I hope my short article has helped you to understand the difference between these two roles.
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