I see a lot of glory photos from events that some successful startups I follow share over and over again someone from Engineering team (I’m excluding myself as I cannot attend religiously), would have never been to. At least, I haven’t seen in my career anything before in organisations I worked for!
I could understand the cliches of being “client facing” or terms like “networking”, “touching clients”, “customer relations” etc etc from non-engineering part of the arguments and these can be used to save the argument all the time. However, as someone in the kitchen of the work for some decent amount of time, I wanted to share my sadness about this exclusivity to only some people in some part of the organisation. Yes, I’m looking at you leadership people and sales team!
To be fair, success doesn’t come overnight and these type of events are real proud moments for startups to see where they reached and realise how much they covered so far. I do believe these events are opportunities that could get your next big Client in the room. There could be even more details and reasons a marketer or sales person could add up here. But, my point here is not to discuss those business as usual outcomes. I really would like to grab your attention to something that may unlock some unexpected long term return on investments in and around engineering. (I think I used ROI subconsciously in this paragraph)
To give you more perspective, we all talk about retention, engagement, engineer happiness and a ton more for engineering organisation health. In contrast, we usually less think about the rewarding experiences that we may offer to our engineers like these events apart from conferences we attend. Most probably not every engineer would be up for this kind of events (they are usually introverts in my perception and experience) and most probably the idea here will be shut down by leadership level in the form of “this is sales/marketing event, engineers better write code”!I still wanted to nudge your attention on this. I think sharing triumph moments like this with people lower in the organisational charts or with people in the kitchen usually firefighters in front of screens would create a different synergy and would create better long term commitments. Most of the time engineers don’t get enough exposure to Clients for organisational and stereotypically outdated software development managers. However, understanding a Client, living a moment or two with a Client, understanding how business side of the organisations spend time in the build up could really change how we write software. Software is for people and knowing, feeling, touching the people you write software for is something philosophically needs thinking.
I know this may be not your most important issue in your engineering organisation but I leave this piece to your subconsciousness and would hope to click something when you think about how to keep engineers in your organisation. Most probably the feeling of someone else enjoying your success could be the right title for this piece.
If not any of this makes sense, don’t worry, at least I shared my view on this and thank you for reading. You better enjoy those events while I write code for the software that creates the ticket for you in there. World is not fair and we all accept this!