this is probably the saddest statement i ever heard about engineering.
Tamas Kalman

Totally get that feedback. Let me give you an example about my company and why I’m concerned with Engineers prioritizing work outside of engineering over their own projects:

My company has 10–15 employees. Historically, we have been heavy on sales and creatives since we build both social media tools and create content for social media. We tend to neglect marketing (no one does this full time) and have a 3 person engineering team, which right now is me, our architect (deep backend and sysadmin experience), and a product designer.

Since, I’m the only person writing front end code, I have to be careful of spending too much of my time on non-engineering activities. I’ve got an MBA, but I shouldn’t be analyzing our cash flow or writing slides for the board meeting, when we have a few other people who could do a decent job at it. I shouldn’t be the sole person to track analytics and see which ads are effective at converting users. I shouldn’t be writing slides for sales presentations. I shouldn’t be hand writing life cycle emails, product updates, and onboarding workflows for customers. While I need to know them, I shouldn’t be spending that much time doing customer interviews either. I end up doing a lot of these things because I can do a good job and can do them quickly. Instead, I should be teaching other people how to do these things and delegating the work.

Our customers and products feel absence of engineering. It has a noticeable impact on the products which are stuck in the tar pits until we can code. When I’m not coding, we have production bugs sitting out there, features people want not being developed, and our opportunities for growth through better products or new products slip away.

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