New Product Management and Design Offerings from Pivotal Labs

January 7, 2013 Edward Hieatt

Traditionally, Pivotal Labs has been known for our world-class software engineers, our effective and disciplined development process, and exceptionally successful projects. Our practice is built around strongly-held beliefs about the “how” of developing software, based on years in the trenches. We’ve been at the forefront of the agile development scene for a decade, constantly honing and refining our software development processes. Now we do even more.

Of course, it takes a lot more than world-class coding to build great products. Most successful teams feature the triumvirate of development working with Product Management and Design talent.

The Product Manager is the center of the development effort, deciding iteratively what features should be in the product for the next release and providing answers to the questions that arise day-to-day in the development process. A strong PM practices “ruthless prioritization” to get a viable product defined quickly, and makes sure there is a clear runway for the team to make progress.

The Design role is often the most immediate advocate for the user. UX and Visual Design tailor the product to be targeted, useful, and appropriate for the intended customer.

Clearly these roles need to be successful if the product is to have a chance of success. Some clients have these skills on the team, but sometimes they need help.

You may not have known it, but Pivotal Labs has actually had a small, high-quality design team for many years. Under the leadership of Pivot Jessica Miller, we’ve done great design work for dozens of clients and come up with some innovative ways of integrating design into our development process.

Pivotal Labs undertakes over 100 client projects a year. By scaling up our investment in the Design team, we’ll be able to deliver better products, but we can also help the industry push the thinking forward on how design and development interact.

That same thinking applies to Product Management. In the past, Pivotal Labs relied on clients to provide their own product management. Often this worked well, but some clients clearly needed help. Our new PM team enables us to provide this service to clients – often helping them build the skills on their own team – while innovating on the “how” of the PM role. Again, we are pushing the conversation forward about how the PM, Design, and Developer interaction can be made more productive.

Now we are providing what clients had been clamoring for – a more “full service” Pivotal Labs.

Tim McCoy, formerly of Cooper, will be working closely with Jessica to build on top of our Design success to grow the practice and further innovate on how design fits in to the Pivotal process. Drew McManus, formerly founder of agile PM consultancy Road 3, leads the combined Product Management and Design practices for us as VP of Product.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about these offerings. We’ve done a number of full-service engagements now with Pivotal PMs and Designers doing great work on client projects. And we’re hiring!

About the Author

Edward Hieatt

Edward Hieatt is Senior Vice President of Pivotal’s services organization. In this role, Edward is responsible for the strategy, execution, and business results of Pivotal's next-generation client services organization—Pivotal Labs. In addition, Edward is responsible for Pivotal's worldwide technical field and software subscription renewal organizations, which help clients adopt and become successful with Pivotal's products and services.

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