It really annoys me how (at least, in my experience) the sales cycle seems to trivialize the value of product development engineers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “If it wasn’t for Sales, we wouldn’t be drawing paychecks.” Guess what - if Sales had no product to sell, they wouldn’t be drawing paychecks either.
I also find it pretty annoying how Sales (again, in my experience) can sell a feature that doesn’t exist on a product that isn’t complete and somehow it’s the engineer’s fault for “not having that done on time.” Hey, man, I can run out and sell a flying car fueled by water, but anyone will tell you I haven’t got a leg to stand on when I bitch out General Motors asking why that isn’t quite done yet because the customer is expecting it.
One of these days someone will figure out that Sales and Engineering actually need to co-exist. Neither is more important than the other. Engineering needs to react to the needs that the Sales folks have - when a feature needs to be added to a product, that information needs to be seriously considered by Engineering (before it gets sold to a customer). Sales needs to stop promising things that Engineering can’t deliver and then turning around and blaming Engineering for not delivering something that can’t be delivered.
Until then, though… I’m thinking I need to put up some concertina wire around my cubicle.