Chris brings to High 5 Games the experience of having managed global engineering teams for several Fortune 100 companies over the past 25 years. Since moving into iGaming in 2017, he’s never looked back and compares the burgeoning industry today to the dotcom business during the boom in the mid to late 90s.
In his position as CTO, Chris works closely with Jerry Wilson, who is in charge of creative strategy for game content and brands at High 5 Games. Another ally Chris counts on to help him meet deliverables is Gino Fratto, who leads the product and project management teams.
We put Chris under the spotlight to answer a few questions about what led him to High 5 Games, his management style and the challenges and opportunities presented by his new role.
Could you please tell us about how you got to where you are now?
Chris: My background is in software development and engineering on large-scale international projects. Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to have been part of and manage many high-performing global teams across the full spectrum of the delivery experience. In every organization where I’ve led technology, my strong suit is the ability to balance product and customer needs to ensure the success and sustainability of any solution my team delivers.
How do you see your role as the CTO at High 5 Games?
Chris: I’m responsible for leading the development and implementation of the technology strategy for High 5 Games. This involves overseeing everything from building platforms to developing the technology behind H5G’s industry-leading games. Another key process I must carefully manage and oversee in my CTO role, is taking fresh products and features through the rigorous phases of testing and deployment before they are brought to market for our customers.
What is the best way to build and nurture a technical team in the iGaming space?
Chris: As a leader of a tech organization, you and the business are only as good as the team you build, which is why building the best technical team is your key to success. iGaming today reminds me a lot of the dotcom business during the boom when business differentiation was by finding people with the right kind of experience to join their team. Having a globally dispersed business is an opportunity to build a more talent-diverse team but close collaboration must be a focal point to get the most out of every individual.
How do you approach the challenge of aligning your engineers and developers with the broader objectives of the business?
Chris: The best way for teams to see the value of their work and how it contributes to the company’s vision, is to communicate these goals across the entire organization. This communication should be ongoing so that it forms part of the culture and everyone is aligned with these objectives. The biggest challenge often lies in balancing technological innovation with time to market. Engineers and product managers must be adept at delivering solutions through a phased approach. Being agile helps to ensure continuous innovation while at the same time preventing bottlenecks when a final product can’t be delivered all at once.
How do you balance the need for innovation with the stability and reliability required in a tech environment?
Chris: It’s important to have a regular release cadence for products and features which accounts for factors such as quality and time. If a technical solution is not ready for release, it’s often better to hold off and prevent a negative customer experience. The ‘tech debt’ that can accumulate when choosing an easy quick-fix over a better, more time-consuming solution, is another key consideration when project planning. I strive to create a team environment where we are not only solving problems but continually disrupting, so time is built into sprints for not only addressing the unexpected but innovation as well.
“As a leader of a tech organization, you and the business are only as good as the team you build, which is why building the best technical team is the key to success.”
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