Position of Engineering in an Organization


It will come as quite a big surprise to most of engineers, but engineering is not the most important department in an organization. Even in a technology heavy start-up, company board is not lined up with engineers, but it's stuffed by people responsible for marketing, sales, and finance. Engineering is usually part of marketing department alongside the product development, but it's not unusual for engineering to be subordinate to product development and thus another level down in an organizational chart. If engineering is having any special role in an organization it's only due to origins and legacy of its founders expressed through the company culture, and not due to some inherent special value of engineering for the organization. Even CTO, the second most coveted title in a start-up world, is quite a misnomer, since the main concern of a CTO is not technology per-se, but actually marketing and monetization of the product. The technology is important to the role of a CTO only as much as the technology is important for the success of the product. I will venture even further and I'll put forth the claim that sophisticated technology is more often than not a drag on a success of a company since it distracts management from the really important things, such as control of distribution channels, user acquisition, partnerships, and sales pipleline.

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