In a balanced organization, working towards a common objective, there is success.
– Arthur Helps
This series of posts is targeted at the “business people” in the software development process. A secret I keep from my Engineering friends is that I have spent a great deal of time on the business side of the house . I have been in various positions in Product Management and I have spent hundreds of hours in Sales-related activities. I even spent a little time “carrying a bag” .
I suspect that if you’ve spent any time as a Product Manager, a Business Analyst, a Product Owner, a Project Manager or a Program Manager, that you have experienced frustration dealing with the Engineering team. We  don’t really mean to be frustrating – as a rule, we are trying to the best of our abilities to achieve what we believe to be the objective of our department. The problem is that we often have a different objective than you do. What is the Engineering team’s objective? To be honest, Engineering teams might not always be able to put it into words. Like the blind men and the elephant, you will almost certainly get different views on the topic from each Engineer.
As a business person, you might surmise, based on your observation of our behavior, that it is something like “spend a lot of time using really cool technologies to create a small amount of business functionality while staying gleefully unaware of business pressures”. Trust me, that’s not what any of us would write down.
Here’s the good news: the actual objective of Engineering is the exact same as what I assume yours to be: to efficiently (i.e., rapidly and cost-effectively) deliver valuable business functionality for Customers. You don’t believe this? Please read through the logic presented in my Introductory Series. If you are a “tl;dr” person, you can jump right to this post.
Assuming you did the assigned reading (or that you just completely trust me on this one), then you see that the business people and the technical people share the same objective. So what’s the problem ? The chief problem is that the Engineering team doesn’t know that they share the same objective. More precisely, they may not know the Business’ objective, nor do they really know their own.
This might appear to be a huge problem and – trust me – it is. But it is a surmountable one. I have solved it with many Engineering teams and many Business teams. The next article talks about how we start fixing that problem.
This post is based on or excerpted from the upcoming book “De-Engineering the Corporation” by Darryl Ricker
 I don’t actually hide this fact from anyone – I am very proud to have been part of both the technical and business sides of the software industry and I’m tremendously grateful that I have been able to have such a varied career.
 Salespersons-speak for being a Salesperson.
 I normally self-identify as a techie.
 Because there definitely is a problem!