Objectives and Key Results are widely discussed – but what are they? Why are they so important? What do you need to keep in mind when thinking about them? How do they fit into any organization? What are prerequisites to implementing them?
In more than 12 years in leading positions in the context of digital technologies, I have encountered some exciting topics and also questions. Many of the issues I would have really liked to solve with the support of competent partners or consultants - but for the most part the topics were too specific - or simply too rarely in demand.
Topics like interim management in leading technical functions, support in M&A issues in the area of technology - due dilligences or general questions of software development - many of them remained unanswered by the market and only the way of self-experience.
In retrospect, it is nice to be able to reflect parts of my experience back to the market. That's what "maretzke IT Consulting" is for. Dedicated consulting or exchange on special topics.
That's what I stand for - and I want to do an excellent job for you.
CTO? CIO? All of these leadership roles are characterized by being spearheads of the digital revolution in their respective companies. Strong communication skills, a pronounced "Sense For Business", innovative strength and the absolute will to move forward. These are the basics for a successful implementation of the role CTO.
My range of services covers the specialist topics of software architecture, software development, quality assurance, IT operations and the associated processes. As an interim manager, it is particularly important for me - together with you - to clearly define what your requirements are. Which goals should be achieved? Are there special projects or topics that need to be addressed? How long should the bridging role be - and how does the transition end?
In longer-term assignments, it has been particularly effective to lead the special characters in the information technology field by communicating a strategy and breaking it down into smart goals. In interim assignments, it is also important for me to establish a basis of trust with employees. Only together can a team in IT generate success.
Writing code and writing cool algorithms are one side of software development - management, maintainable and scalable systems are the other. So how do you reconcile all of this? Motivated people who can and want to act autonomously are certainly a central building block. This is where the values of agile software development come into play. How do you get there?
In my experience, the most important premise is to set goals and provide a framework. A framework that is made up of "industry best practices" in the area of modern software development. These include "Continuous Delivery", "Automated Testing", "Code Conventions", "Manageable Architectures", either leadership through strict framework specifications or through class architecture work, the convergence of business and technology. Special focus must be placed on the area of tension "Bussiness VS. IT". The "VS." must turn into an "AND" - the mindset of the people involved must align in terms of achieving the company's goals.
Currently, a new role - CDO Chief Digital Officer - appears very often in the media. The link between information technology and marketing - the intermediary role between CTO and CMO. Rethinking is required when successful companies set out to rebuild for the future.
Digital often works radically differently than the current industry segment. Most often, digital means "faster" and "more efficient." How do you get your IT and organization there?
In my experience, the digital revolution starts at the highest corporate level. There must be a common understanding - and also common goals - for the future. Digital thinking here means securing the future through the right vision, the necessary strategies and successful operationalization. Only unity in the upper ranks of the company secures the ground for digital transformation - a significant energy and investment effort. With a clear goal - the future.
Do you want to make strategic changes in the market? You are planning company acquisitions? You may place your company on the market? Great opportunities are available here. In most cases, due diligence processes have to be designed - in different departments. IT due diligence in particular often proves to be an exciting topic. But how do you do it? What needs to be taken into account? What templates are available on the market? What are the special risks that need to be considered - and taken into account accordingly in the company valuation?
Many questions, which are rarely met by simple answers. For the most part, technical due diligence is a necessary process in the context of company acquisition that can help identify not inconsiderable financial risks. Nevertheless, a clean process takes time and preparation. I myself have been involved in 5 technical acquisition due diligences and in two sales processes. I am happy to share my experience with you.
I often see young, innovative companies - startups - with a fascinating idea. Usually, the founders or senior executives have a solid background in marketing or business. Not infrequently, the team lacks knowledge in the context of IT. Discussions with and assignments to service providers are not understood - uncertainty arises.
This does not necessarily have to be the case. It is often sufficient to develop a solid IT strategy for the initial period, to coordinate it with the service provider and to question it from time to time. A typical advisor role. Not full-time, but when you need knowledge.
Do not hesitate to ask even with supposedly simple things. We usually find a good solution quickly - for you and your business.
2020 - 2022 | CxO & Member of the Executive Board at Temedica
Michael Maretzke started as CTO at Temedica in 2020 with the clear mandate to support the management team in setting up a ready-to-scale organization. At the time Maretzke entered Temedica, the organization size was a young startup - in 2022, the size of a decent grown-up and fast growing. Despite the Technology focus, Maretzke took over the leadership roles for Product Management, Regulatory / Quality, UX & Design, Agile Processes and introduced OKR's (Objective & Key Results) as an effective method to steer an overall company organization.
During his time at Temedica he was responsible for the development of 7 mobile applications in the digital healthcare segement, 4 of them being created from ground-up. Two of the applications are medical devices class 2a. He furthermore lay the fundament for Temedica's data business establishing a cloud-based data-lake infrastructure. He led the effort to implement an ISO 13485 quality management system with focus on interleavng agile software development with regulatory requirements. Furthermore, he provisioned a technology stack that supports the company's development maturity state - including migration of virtual servers to the cloud.
Maretzke build-up the product development organization from initially (X) to now (X*9) employees and is about to replace certain leadership roles with internal and external talents. He actively participated in the most recent fundraising round.
2016 - 2020 | CTO/COO & Member of the Executive Board at gutefrage.net
2017, as COO he took over the broader responsibility for Product Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), UX & Design, Agile Processes and Technology. The main focus as COO was to define and implement a company wide strategy (based on SEO) for 2018's and 2019's turnaround (sidenote: the turnaround happened in 2021 only - based on the initiatives defined in the 2018 turnaround strategy). Aside the company strategy, Maretzke established an efficient data science team with clear focus on machine learning to optimize the platform's content. In this role he was looking after 34 people.
2016 - 2016 | CTO & Member of the Executive Board at Career Partner
As CTO, Michael Maretzke represents all IT matters in the management. He covers the strategic area of "Technology Management" and the more operative domain of "IT Administration". In "Technology Management", Michael Maretzke defines and implements the IT strategy for the numerous front-end and back-end systems of the various on-site university departments - with special focus on the fast growing online business. "IT Administration" covers approximately 450 workstations and the support of more than 5,000 students.
In addition to Technology department, a central task is the transfer of Career Partner GmbH to the IT framework of the new investor Apollo Global Education. Together with the US-Americans, some synergies in the context of infrastructure and systems could be identified.
In addition, Michael Maretzke is taking on a leading role in the further digitization of the business of the fastest growing company in the private higher education sector in Germany in 2016, according to Focus. The focus here is the digital online learning segment of Career Partner GmbH.
2010 - 2015 | CTO & Member of the Executive Board at FriendScout24
As part of his role as CTO, Michael Maretzke held a permanent seat on the management board of FriendScout24 GmbH. The management team defined the strategic direction and organized the tactical and operational implementation of the strategy in the various specialist areas.
Michael assumed entrepreneurial responsibility for the "Technology" area, which included the aspects of software development and architecture, quality assurance, Agile working methods and IT operations. IT Operations included the 24x7 operation of FriendScout24's web platforms and internal IT - right down to the employees' workstations. The "Technology" area included up to 38 permanent employees, 8 external developers in the near-shore model and 5-10 external consultants.
Michael Maretzke's central operational task was to ensure the fail-safe operation of the web platforms - distributed across two data centers and approximately 450 virtualized server systems. The platforms processed 1 million unique users, 240 million page impressions, 11 million user logins and 30,000 concurrent users in peak situations per month. Technologies used included: various Java stacks, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, mongoDB, rabbitMQ, memcached, redis, ...
Among his greatest achievements as CTO, Michael Maretzke counts the successful launch of the profitable web platform "Secret.de", the launch of the very successful mobile iOS and Android platforms, the product expansion from a search-based online dating portal to a search and match-based portal, the successful organizational further development of product development via agile methods to LEAN startup-based methods - including the introduction of "Continuous Delivery" with now approx. 200 releases per year and the cost-efficient scaling of software development through near-shore teams in Bulgaria.
As CTO, Michael Maretzke was involved in several company acquisition processes. There he was in charge of the due diligence for the technology and product area. Most recently, Michael was in charge of managing the technical transition within an international team.
2008 - 2009 | Senior Business Development Manager at Oracle
In his role as Business Development Manager, Michael Maretzke supported his sales colleagues of the Deutsche Telekom Key Account Team. Especially technical knowledge of the network area and detailed process know-how in the context of telecommunication made it possible for Michael to cover the areas of customer approach (C-Level up to the technician), definition of the technical target architecture up to questions of contract design.
Michael led spontaneously assembled virtual teams of up to 5 internationally staffed professionals to produce high quality responses to our client's technical questionnaires.
His biggest success was the definition and implementation of a network abstraction layer architecture with the goal to abstract complex network protocols through software. Michael worked in an international team with team base in Stockholm, Sweden.
2006 - 2008 | Solution Architect & Principal Technologist at BEA Systems
As Solution Architect and Principal Technologist for BEA Systems, Michael Maretzke took on a role with both strategic and operational aspects.
Operationally, Michael supported BEA's sales team at the customer's site for projects with a strong telecom focus - in the Central European region. He led the international team of subject matter experts to develop target architectures for customer projects using BEA's product portfolio. With growing experience, Michael Maretzke took over more and more parts of the sales value chain for the DACH region: customer identification, addressing the right topic and contact person, creating the technical solution architecture, implementing a "proof of concept" and working out the optimal structure of the contract.
Strategically, Michael Maretzke worked closely with the management of BEA's telecommunications products in the USA. Here he acted as a subject matter expert in decision making regarding the further strategic direction of the telecom product portfolio. Especially useful for Michael was his expert knowledge in the area of IMS networks, "Intelligent Networks" (IN) and BEA's Java products with "Session Initiation Protocol" (SIP) support.
2001 - 2005 | Technology Manager at Vodafone
At the German arm of Vodafone Group R&D, Michael Maretzke took over the management of the software development team with up to 5 employees. The goal of the software development unit was to implement innovative service ideas in the area of mobile networks. Here Michael successfully introduced the iterative software development process "Rational Unified Process". Technologies used included: UML tool Together J, Java ME, Java EE, Enterprise Service Bus, OSGi frameworks ...
Michael took a lead role in defining a research program for "Software Defined Service Execution" in telecommunication networks with 6 sub-projects. There were up to 25 people working on the program. As part of the research work, Michael supported the operational units Vodafone Germany, Spain and Italy in introducing the concept of software based "Intelligent Networks" (IN).
Michael represented Vodafone in standardization committees for the definition of the Java programming language - in the "Java Community Process" - and for the specification of network elements within the "Open Mobile Alliance".
2000 - 2001 | IT Manager Applications at Conrad.com
At Conrad.com, Michael Maretzke was responsible for the e-commerce application of the "Conrad.com" web platform. Here the task was divided into two parts: Continuing the existing application and defining a new target architecture.
The already implemented platform of Conrad Elektronik was created and operated by an external service provider. Here Michael optimized the collaboration and parts of the code structure to increase the availability and performance of the platform. He was significantly involved in rebuilding the search logic of the e-commerce platform.
In parallel, Michael was in charge of a rebuild of the current platform. The goal was to build a new, competitive e-Commerce platform to reduce scalability issues, availability and the dependency situation on the external service provider.
Agile Development [DE]Topic sponsor, keynote speech, Computerwoche Sourcing Days, 24th June 2015, Cologne
Getting page speed into the heads of your organization - a first hand report [EN]Talk, Web Performance Meetup, 15th April 2015, Hamburg
Continuous Delivery - nice or necessary? [DE]Talk, Codecentric Customer Events, 2013 & 2014, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin
I had the great opportunity to work with Michael as our CTO during a fast growth phase of our company. During this time, I could see firsthand his knowledge and experience in scaling a team, creating and attracting leaders, coaching and developing people, and creating an environment for high achievers. Michael also has the ability to gain deep knowledge in a new topic in a short period of time, as he did in the regulatory field for medical devices while we worked together. As we worked on the fusion of this topic with agile software development, it was also interesting to see how he communicated new concepts to the company and made these concepts become part of our everyday language. Apart from that, he worked as my direct manager and I am very appreciative of our work together, the opportunities that I received to develop myself, and his guidance when it was needed.
I've had the pleasure to work for and with Michael during a very interesting and challenging transition. Even faced with difficult situations and when decisions needed to be made he always stayed calm, confident and open minded. His technical knowledge and management skills made working for him easy and effective and I can't remember a day with a bad mood which is something that can not be valued enough. I would not hesitate a second to work for Michael again!
Michael is a very experienced and talented senior executive and a mentor to me. He is passionate about his work and really cares about his people, always finding the right directives and advices to share. His advanced technical skills make it very easy and pleasant to work with him. Furthermore, Michael really knows how to motivate the team, bringing everybody together to follow a common goal and always finding the right words to congratulate his subordinates. Working with him was an honor and I hope I will be working with him again.
Michael is a true leader, someone who understands how to inspire people and really drive a product. He can shine with a wide and deep knowledge base regarding agile methods, business and tech, having experience in all these areas due to his different roles in the past. He is very bright and structured, always open for other opinions and viewpoints and lets himself be convinced with good arguments without Ego being a factor. He has the polish you expect a CxO to have without loosing personality, and is an energetic force in the office. It was a pleasure and I would love to work with him again sometime.
Here’s my foreword for a series of 11 posts summarizing my personal notes from Marty Cagan’s workshop “How to Create Tech Products Customers Love”. From 5th to 6th of June 2019 I attended the workshop by Silicon Valey Product Group (https://svpg.com/) „How to Create Tech Products Customers Love” in San Francisco (https://svpg.com/workshops/). The workshop was held by Marty Cagan himself.
Tracking of product metrics occur on various levels. PULSE and HEART stand for a logical structure of metrics to measure several aspects of your web product performance. PULSE reflects a more low-level and direct approach to performance figures. HEART on the other hand focuses on the customer experience.
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MARETZKE ITC - maretzke IT Consulting
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