After more than 15 years of experience, much of it as a technical lead, I became effectively the head of HR at my small consultancy. I was confident that my technical team leader skills would transfer. I was overconfident. Having a much more direct role in creating and maintaining company culture helped me understand why professional HR is not a luxury for small companies. Even a "great culture" doesn't mean your company does everything right, and you can write down a process, but you can't make people follow it. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Was I lucky enough not to make any really bad ones. I think so. People are too important to leave HR to amateurs. Let's talk about what it means to be in charge of people at a small development shop.