Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager?

Professional Services Engineers and Senior Customer Support Engineers, the Cranky Product Manager loves you.  She truly does.  

You get in there and make our products truly work– sing even! –for our most important customers, many of whom have really bizarre requests.  

You are ingenius, a MacGyver for the new century.  You can work around any product deficiency with a wad of gum, a Perl script, and a laptop stuffed with SSDs.

You keep the Cranky PM informed about what the customers are experiencing and the problems they face, and keep the Cranky Product Manager apprised of the experience of using her product day-to-day.  

You are great. And the Cranky Product Manager could not be prouder of you.  

Except for one thing:  your attitude.  You remind the Cranky Product Manager of a surly teenager.  A “gifted and talented” teen, to be sure, but an adolescent with all the part and parcel attitude problems.  

Witness the Cranky Product Manager’s awesome chart:

  Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager

Professional Services Engineer
/ Sr. Customer Support Engineer
 

General Attitude Embittered and feeling put-upon by parents’ rules. Embittered and feeling hampered by all the product’s warts and failings.
Opinion of self

Convinced she is brilliant and her parents are biggest idiots ever, and that everyone else’s parents are cooler.

Convinced that Dysfunctosoft Engineering are biggest idiots ever, because Engineering requires months to add the product feature when he hacked up an absolutely brilliant work-around within a few weeks. 

Ability to Understand Not Everyone is Like Him/Her If her best friend thinks something is cool, then she does too. Even if any reasonable person can clearly see otherwise. Believes that if his customer needs this feature, then surely everyone does.  Even if it has no alignment with future product direction, obfuscates the user interface, or would take effort away from more critical areas.
Understanding of Broader World Remarkably naive about life outside her home/school, but thinks she knows all from watching a lot of reality TV. Knows nothing about writing production-worthy code that will work for hundreds of customers, not just one: scaling, internationalization, integration, standards, platform support, testability, user experience, error handling, APIs, etc.  Thinks he already solved 90% of the problem when he really only solved 10%.
Political Savvy If Mom says no, asks Dad. If Dad says no, ask Mom.  If both say no, involves the grandparents or teachers.

If Engineering says “no” to including the hacked-up workaround in official code-base, lobbies Product Management, Sales, and the CEO/GM.

Unreliable 

To gain a privilege, promises to do an unpleasant task like cleaning out the garage.

Then does not do it.  Parents nag her for weeks before finally giving up.

Under political pressure, Engineering caves and agrees to add the hack to the official product code base, but ONLY if the PS engineer makes the code thread-safe, uses standard libraries, etc.

Naturally, this never happens.  Count on the PS Engineer to get very busy on a customer crisis instead.

  • http://twitter.com/productcampsv/status/210858683998019586 Product Camp SV

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? http://t.co/q67Ck1Zb #productmanagement

  • http://twitter.com/matzeller/status/210859221649063936 Matthias Zeller

    #prodmgmt – New Cranky Blog Post! : Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? http://t.co/eCa4A17k

  • http://twitter.com/brentsmi/status/210950353141764097 Brent Smithurst

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/xTRlo74t

  • http://twitter.com/andystitt829/status/211095997449895936 Andy Stitt

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/hIbwdOyR

  • http://twitter.com/liliyaa2/status/211117054697279488 LiliyaA

    New Cranky Blog Post! : Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? http://t.co/nzeuI6tG #prodmgmt

  • http://twitter.com/mimi_nguyenh/status/211142950233706496 Mimi Nguyen Heltzel

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/lk1TcxSQ

  • http://twitter.com/pietvandaele/status/211155217067155456 Piet Vandaele

    sounds familiar? RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/HNJUsk8A

  • http://twitter.com/janezupan/status/211160502791979008 Jane Zupan

    Very funny RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? #prodmgmt http://t.co/cnhzCBd9

  • http://twitter.com/ferencgy/status/211169764972834816 Ferenc Gyurcsan

    Very funny RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? #prodmgmt http://t.co/cnhzCBd9

  • http://twitter.com/rrestout/status/211179162885562368 Romuald Restout

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? #prodmgmt http://t.co/OLuWisKl

  • http://twitter.com/tomsadler_uk/status/212158347439378433 Tom Sadler

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly (but Gifted) Teenager? Very funny, and very true: http://t.co/2FbCrG77 #ProdMan

  • http://twitter.com/lexmitchell/status/212186362781249537 Lex Mitchell

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly (but Gifted) Teenager? Very funny, and very true: http://t.co/2FbCrG77 #ProdMan

  • http://twitter.com/lexmitchell/status/212186362781249537 Lex Mitchell

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly (but Gifted) Teenager? Very funny, and very true: http://t.co/2FbCrG77 #ProdMan

  • Kristi D.

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/N4sfV5C3

  • http://twitter.com/adoublev/status/212291215608119296 Amanda Van Veen

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/XeO14ZnL #in

  • http://twitter.com/gregcott/status/213290228415344640 Greg Coticchia

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/EVHgDY6m

  • http://twitter.com/smiglio/status/214703323012534272 S├ębastien Miglio

    #prodmgmt – New Cranky Blog Post! : Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? http://t.co/eCa4A17k

  • http://twitter.com/freneticscamper/status/215514664451309570 Jessica T

    Hilarious and apt as usual. RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer/Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/6jA4GIKm

  • Michael ORourke

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/pZTLPCZE

  • http://twitter.com/v_vashishta/status/217260800291766272 Vineet Vashishta

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/I06gxtaU Funny and true.

  • http://twitter.com/gokejnr/status/217714015323951104 Goke Pelemo

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/5fTD6YIL

  • http://twitter.com/alxndra_popova/status/224151385850122241 Alexandra

    Teenagers vs. Professional Services Engineers? Spot on chart! http://t.co/GM9N8Hfz

  • http://twitter.com/kartik_sxn/status/224500807112994816 Kartik Saxena

    RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/RrPZhbxX :) ..in a previous life

  • http://twitter.com/uysal_onder/status/263171915210956800 Onder Uysal

    Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? http://t.co/Yv29AloF

  • http://twitter.com/ukadrianreed/status/280366903548059648 Adrian Reed

    "Professional services engineer or surly gifted-and-talented teenager?" Great article! http://t.co/PJQhbivg #baot

  • http://twitter.com/igetit4now/status/285824846737330177 phil mostert

    Love this one!!! RT @crankypm: Professional Services Engineer or Surly Gifted-and-Talented Teenager? ##prodmgmt http://t.co/OPMrn6aE