In this chapter, I describe the engineering role (also commonly known as developers or, in some circles, programmers). But as with the last chapter, I'm not trying to speak here to the engineers—I'm aiming this discussion at product managers who need to learn how to work effectively with engineers.
There's probably no more important relationship for a successful product manager than the one with your engineers.
If your relationship is strong, with mutual and sincere respect both ways, then the product manager job is great. If your relationship is not strong, your days as product manager will be brutal (and probably numbered). Therefore, this is a relationship worth taking very seriously and doing everything you can to nurture.
This strong relationship begins with you. You need to do your homework and bring to the team the knowledge and skills of good product management.
Engineers are typically smart and often skeptical by nature, so if you're bluffing, they likely won't be fooled. If you don't know something, it's much better to fess up and say you'll find out rather than try to bluster.
It's also hugely important that you have an actual appreciation for the demands and complexities of the engineering job. If you were an engineer before or if you've studied computer science in school, you're probably in good shape. But if not, I want to ...