Working with Engineers as a Business Person

Want to motivate and work better with your engineers? There’s an insightful blog post on Forbes about Motivating and Working with Engineers as a Business Person. One piece of advice from Ryan Terpstra is to use engineers as a resource for technology product strategy and ideas.

Sometimes business people will go off to a separate room and come up with a strategy, get all of the engineers in a room and give them the mission to execute on the strategy. It’s assumed by management in this case that the strategy is correct. My own observsations make me think this gap between the business and engineering can lead to a vacuum of communication and unrealistic expectations on both sides.

I think it’s much more effective to cast the team as one “product” team with business, engineering and other roles collaborating in the work. If there’s not one product team carrying the flag forward then you will have an engineering team working part-time on the product and thinking that they can win and management lose. Or, you will have the business guys thinking that the strategy they devised over a boardroom meeting is infallible and they can win without engineering winning. Instead of this devisive structure, each should understand they are a role that brings unique competencies and personal passions to work as one team and they will be evaluated as such.

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