Tales From a Balanced Team

August 9, 2016
SpringOne Platform 2016 Speakers: Jim Thomson; Product Manager, Pivotal. Alex Basson; iOS Developer, Pivotal. Josh Franklin; Product Designer, Pivotal Have you been the engineer blocked on shipping a feature because you were waiting on Design to "figure it out"? Or wondered why you’re building a particular feature, or have your own ideas for the product vision? Have you been the designer who spent days designing an interaction only to find out it couldn't be built, or the PM trying to bridge the divide? It's time to take down those silo walls! Josh Franklin, Alex Basson, and Jim Thomson – a designer, an engineer, and a PM, respectively, will give a "Balanced Talk" on their successes and failures building the Small Token iOS app, and share the tactics they used to stay aligned as an Agile team and continuously learn from each other. Extended Description On traditional product teams, engineering, business, and design often sit in their own, walled-off silos.The “business” (usually a product owner) generally defines large swaths of requirements, chucks them over a wall to designers, who chuck designs back to the business, who package it up and chuck it over to the developers and ask how long it’ll take to deliver. They request features and designs with no regard to implementation, and engineers don’t have any input or view into the “what” or “why” of product and design decisions. There’s a better way! At Pivotal, we form “Balanced Teams,” made up of developers, a product manager, and a designer. For many reasons, a Balanced Team leads to better products and happier team members. In this talk, a balanced team of Engineer, Designer, and PM use real-world examples from our work on Small Token, a charitable giving iOS app, to illustrate specific advantages of working as a balanced team. We show how our practice here at Pivotal contrasts to a “traditional” product development cycle - and why it works. We expect the audience to learn techniques they can take home to their own product teams. They will be better empowered to evangelize for, and fully take advantage of, Agile principles. Specifically, engineers in the audience will learn that they can have an important voice in the direction of a product.
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