The myth of product development
For me, product development is more of an external affair than an internal one. Defining a product can not happen in vacuum! I often come across companies with totally isolated verticals; R&D and Engineering groups. Although it may be OK for huge companies, for small and mid-size companies it will end up in total disaster. While the CTO and her/his group are dreaming about what is the real need out there, it is engineering and deployment groups really wrestling with customers, try to address their present and future needs. The usual line of defense; we bring R&D guys in the loop! Guys, it is not going to work. Product development is a constant struggle, it is a constant try and error procedure whether we like it or not. As I mentioned, in a small company, my product is my technology and my technology is my product. My VP of engineering is my CTO and my CTO is my VP of engineering. Split these and you will end up with a total disaster.