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Nic Werner

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LABS
From handshake to trust fall: Patterns of high-performing agile teams

Waterfall, agile, XP, lean – these are all processes and methodologies. But it’s still a team of humans building the software. And how the team works together is crucial; we’ve all been on projects where more time was spent on why it was doomed to fail than on actual development.

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LABS
Strolling down the Happy Path

A highly-functioning software team has parallel development and design cycles. Developers and PMs work on building the software, while PMs and designers work together to ensure that the software will meet the user needs. But as a designer, how do you make sure that the team understands the reasoning behind your designs?

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LABS
Feature Flagging: A PMs Best Friend

There are often times when you’re building a feature, and have broken it into smaller user stories. But this new feature won’t be completed for a month, and you’re releasing into production every week. You can’t break the continuous integration build cycle, but you also can’t release an unfinished feature.

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LABS
Epic Sharding

Epic Sharding

Anyone familiar with agile has heard of the concept of user stories. According to every agile diagram, all you need to build software is user stories!

Except software development doesn’t quite work that way.

tl;dr: If your story gherkin contains multiple “and then”, you’re doing it wrong.

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LABS
Receiving Feedback

Receiving Feedback

Here at Pivotal, we’ve spilled much electronic ink about giving feedback, so let’s take a seat on the other side of the table.

Receiving feedback can be tough. We all feel vulnerable when someone is pointing out mistakes we’ve made, or outlining ways we can improve.

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LABS
How to interview for a PM position

How to interview for a PM position

Product manager roles vary by company. But when you’re interviewing for a PM role, there a few basic facets to follow. You’ll not only impress the interviewer, but you’ll be able to spend more time discussing your amazing background and how it correlates to their needs.

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LABS
The Myth of the Sole Product Manager

There is a myth that the Product Manager is the sole person for the success and failure of a product. It’s been boosted by the concept that PMs are the “mini-CEOs” of a product. After all, the engineering team sees them building the backlog, and the management team sees their reports and revenue.

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LABS
Defrosting the icebox (and other clever analogies)

First, there was the Backlog. And code was shipped to much rejoicing. But Agile demanded more, and the Icebox was created.

What is the icebox?

No, it’s not a place where you can take half-baked stories and heat them to a semi-palatable feature.

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LABS
What does it mean to "groom" your backlog?

“Today I’m grooming the backlog”

 

You’ll hear PMs say this a lot at standup. It sounds fancy and glorious, like the backlog is this Wild West of Stories That Must Be Tamed. But what does that really mean? In short, grooming your backlog means ensuring that the team is still headed down the right path, and that you’re keeping an eye on the future.

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LABS
Volatility for Product Managers

Historically, if a client asks when a certain set of stories will be completed, we point to the Tracker backlog and show the date. We know if the velocity decreases, then the date is pushed out. That’s great in developer land, but as product managers we need some certainty that features will be delivered by a specific date.

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