First, NAIL the fundamentals. I’m a developer, so a large part of my time in the product cycle is spent fixing bugs. I made sure I was the fastest, most efficient, and best bug fixer. I made sure I was the guy you wanted to call when the server crashed in the lab with a crazy callstack and no reproducer.
Second, OWN the features. I got involved in features up front, by spending time getting to know the PM team. I influenced the features, I lended my expertise on them, and I learned about the customer – all this way before the spec’ing phase. Every spec coming to this team had my feedback in it. The PM team loved having my technical expertise freely available, and I actually really like designing features too.
Anyway, two simple things, you have to enjoy it, or else it’ll come across as insincere, and you’ll do a half assed job. I moved around 3 teams before I found one where I really enjoyed the technology and the people, and here I’ve flourished.
So forget all the whining about politics and crap. Step outside of your comfort zone, own PM, own QA, become great at what you do, and do what you love – and the promo will come.