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"being connected directly into your customers and letting them drive what they needed and balancing it with the engineering,"

Lucky you however, letting 'raw' Engineers interface with customers is usually a disaster. Engineers build tech, the company builds products, and they are very, very different things. A lot of pieces in there - support, training, docs, price, risk, leverage, IP, know-how, relationship management, legality, confidentiality.

Experienced Engineers who have a lot of exposure to Product, Sales etc. can do this, there's usually a role there for a highly technical person to support sales.

If it were only a matter of 'the customer saying we need XYZ and Engineers doing that' then great, but it's almost never that.

You need the right customers. We were really lucky the lady in charge of the business team learnt enough of how the development worked to sit in that middle ground between her team of experts and ours to guide the direction well. I would say she and our engineering principle were what made things work well. If you are working with generic customers out there in the world then its much harder to utilise customer focussed requirements.

That's the idea - allow people to take responsibilities, learn, grow, communicate. It takes effort and time. And sometimes right person. But when it works it is a joy. I've seen young developers in what was their first project. It is bad but that moment I felt envy.

So often people complain about specification. Here you craft them as they fit you (as long as they resolve customers need).

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