Hello, I'm Shanfan Huang and I am a designer at Pivotal.
Hi. I'm Eric Malm. I'm a product manager at Pivotal.
And, I'm Jen Spinney and I'm an engineer at Pivotal.
A Balanced Team
SH: When the project started, a lot of my responsibility as a designer was to validate whether this was an initiative that Pivotal should invest our effort in. Eric and I did a lot of explorative research to understand the customer motivations, sourcing input from the field and various stakeholders. It’s important to establish at the beginning that why this project is important and what success or failure might look like.
From the explorative research, we outlined the first few steps to get to a minimum viable product. As the initiative moved along, in about two to three weeks time, a pair of engineers joined the team to start the technical exploration, while I kept validating and clarifying the customer needs and the market needs.
A lot of times designers also facilitate multidisciplinary workshops, synthesizing different perspectives. With the results from the exploration around customers, markets and technology, we need to work as a team to bring ideas and assessments to productization.
EM: We’ve collaborated on a lot of the exploratory research activities for the first month or two. Then over the past couple of months, we focused more on execution towards the initial release. As the product manager on the team, I've been working with Shanfan, Jen, and the rest of the team to identify what we need to get into that release, so it’s minimally viable, and then what our priorities are there in terms of getting those tracks of work planned and scheduled and closed out by the rest of the team.
I've also been coordinating with external teams to flesh out a lot of the supporting documentation and communication materials so that we can successfully release the product. There’s a lot of cross-team communication.
JS: I'm the developer anchor on the team., which means I'm essentially the point person when you need one person to represent the dev team and it's not efficient to bring in the full team. So I've been representing our team in various cross-team meetings. I see it as part of my job to make sure that the dev team itself is happy and productive, and that they have the tools they need to succeed.
As an anchor, I try to make sure that I know everything that's going on. I might not pair on every single story, but I’ll go and get the context for things I didn't directly work on so that I’m able to carry that information forward, and to onboard new people with the right amount of context.
JS: In my opinion, defining scope was a big challenge for us. We had to deliver this quite quickly, which meant we needed to be very intentional about where we would pare down and what would make an MVP. And we also need to work very closely across all three of us and the rest of the dev team to define what the appropriate level of scope is and then actually make sure it's attainable.
SH: For me, one of the biggest challenges was taking into consideration the different perspectives within Pivotal. As a team, we are very small and autonomous. But in the wider scope, the product covers a very large part of what Pivotal is offering. So there are many stakeholders in this picture. People come in with very different opinions. How do we balance different stakeholder inputs? How do we move forward in an agile way yet still consider the larger impact we’d have with the wider organization? It’s about being a moving part ourselves while coordinating with all the other moving parts.
Looking To The Future
JS: One thing that makes me really excited about this is I see it as a really nice combination of our efforts along with open source projects that were initially developed outside of Pivotal that we've looked at and embraced and said, oh, that's a great idea.
EM: I'm excited about this being the initial release of how we're viewing Pivotal's main platform to evolve in the future. It’s great seeing us make concrete, tangible progress on that so that we can continue delivering what we think these valuable outcomes are for our customers in the future.
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