A Day in the Life of a Pivotal Engineer

March 20, 2018 Bebe Peng


Bebe Peng, Senior Software Engineer at Pivotal New York, walks through a day in her life.

Photos by Wesley Verhoeve

Hi, my name is Bebe Peng, I’m a Senior Software Engineer based in the New York office and here is a day in my life at Pivotal.


Breakfast is always the first thing that happens, before standup, at the beginning of the day. It’s served buffet style and the menu changes every day. Having a healthy meal provided means one less thing to worry about in the morning and it gets everybody in at around the same time.


Office Standup: Every day at exactly 9:06am we host our office standup, which is an office-wide meeting where new faces get introduced, people can ask for help, share interesting facts, and we also talk about any events or important things that are happening.


Right after office standup, I’ll have my internal team standup. The whole team gets together and share what they’ve worked on the day before, any relevant status updates, what they may need help on, and any blockers within our smaller team.


I check in with Omni, one of our workplace concierges, at the front desk to coordinate a client’s visit. The concierge team takes care of everything from receiving packages and guests to planning events for us.


I work with Eric, a designer on our team. He shows me what he’s envisioning for a new user flow in the app so we can discuss what is technically feasible or if there are any cases that he’s missed.


Our team holds an Iteration Planning Meeting, or IPM. This is when we go through all the new features — which we call stories — we plan to work on in the next week. Our goal is to come out with a shared idea of what a story means, the priority on it, and what it takes to execute that story. In an IPM, engineers will estimate how complex the stories are with a point scale.The point value we come up with in this meeting along with how many points per week the team has averaged in the past, helps us get a better understanding of what might get accomplished on the product for the rest of the week.


 We break for lunch. On Mondays in the New York office, we have a board game lunch where you can sign up to play board games during lunch, eat burritos or sandwiches, and socialize. Here we’re playing Codenames!


We pair with client developers all day. My role is not just to build software for our clients but to also work alongside them, teaching them agile practices like test-driven development, pair programming, continuous development, and other things like that. An important aspect of working together is to make sure that we have a shared understanding, so when the engagement ends there’s somebody to carry everything forward technically.


I take a break on our seventh floor. We have video games, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard, guitars, and much more. We even have a drum set. Anything that you would want to unwind with during your break. Often times, especially in development, you hit some roadblocks and it’s really helpful to be able to walk away from the desk. We really value the power of taking a break.


My pair and I work together to figure a tricky feature. Through pairing we end up with cleaner, more readable code. We’re more productive and also ramp up new folks at the same time.


I go through some user testing synthesis results with Simon. We want to make sure we’re building the right things by validating (or invalidating!) our assumptions with real users. It’s important that the whole team (all disciplines) be on board with decisions and findings. That way we have a shared context and are working towards the same goal.

This board is a user testing synthesis board and each color represents a statement from a user. We then group them by topics to find patterns and themes.


I end my day, and head home. At Pivotal we believe that sustainable pace results in high-quality software produced at a predictable cadence, so everyone ends their working day at 6:00pm.

Thanks for coming along on a day in my life working at Pivotal. Can you picture yourself working here? Check out the available jobs on our careers page.

Change is the only constant, so individuals, institutions, and businesses must be Built to Adapt. At Pivotal, we believe change should be expected, embraced, and incorporated continuously through development and innovation, because good software is never finished.

A Day in the Life of a Pivotal Engineer was originally published in Built to Adapt on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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