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01 05

Overview

TThis is one of my favorite side projects I’ve worked on. This was a pure research project to document and reveal some of the key metrics about Pivotal Tracker from a product perspective as an agile project management tool. The reason I conducted this research was that I was very curious about the process behind the product ideation and decisions of what made tracker the product it is today?

I was desperately curious to learn more about how the product operations work, what does success mean for the product team and how the product team measures and prioritize new features and the iterations of the multiple product life-cycle through user feedback.

After contacting some of the people who work for the Tracker core team in Denver, I prepared a plan which main goal was to answer these questions:

  • What is the main goal of Tracker as a product?
  • What is the main goal of the product team in the short and long term?
  • What are the main impressions from users using the tool?
  • Is there any feedback cycle to prioritize the direction of the product?
02 05

The Research

This is the result of the research case study made in the Pivotal Chicago office to discover the metrics of the product success, prioritization on product decisions and the overall key learnings, future research and feedback from the user interviews conducted.

03 05

The Process

So what's tracker?

Pivotal Tracker is a project-planning tool that helps agile software development teams form realistic expectations about when work might be completed based on the team’s ongoing performance. Tracker visualizes your projects in the form of stories moving through your workflow, encouraging you to break down projects into manageable chunks and have important conversations about deliverables and scope.

About the tracker's team goal

In 2006, Pivotal Labs built Tracker for tracking and execute a simple project management style and primarily, to manage Pivotal's own client projects. The team wanted to simplify constructive communication, make priorities clear, and allow the projects to adapt as customer needs evolved. Ten years later, the team has been constantly striving to perfect that mission.

How my research started

As I mentioned before, the main goal of this research was to understand the dynamics of the feedback cycles to support the product and the current impressions on how Tracker is being used.

I performed a series of guerrilla-style user interviews with 20 people in just one week! I wanted to learn as much as possible in a very efficient way so one of the challenges was the time I had to recruit my users and ask them about the product. That's why I took some time designing my interview script with only 5 questions with the goal in mind of getting all the information I needed in no more than 15 mins. Crazy right? Well, I made it happen thanks to my users participation and patience!

I was able to get around 337 specific comments around the product itself so I created an affinity map to start categorizing all this feedback and the result were 5 main categories: General negative, general positive, new feature request, usability and user education.

Then I took each one of these buckets and start creating a relationship with Tracker components like Stories, mobile, desktop, analytics, user interface and notifications and everything started to look more clear and organized.

04 05

The Challenges

Time. That was one of the biggest obstacles I could have faced in this project. As I mentioned before, I wanted to make things practical and simple so I had to have a lot of control on the type of questions in my script to be careful with the time.

Another challenge was to recruit people. I had the opportunity to ask around at the office other co-workers and clients if they could give me 10-15 mins of their time and I am so truly grateful they did!

Another interesting challenge was to build an affinity map all by myself since I was the only one not being actively participating in a billable project at that time so I was extremely cautious not to bother other people mainly because of the time constraints. Also, categorizing and going through the feedback was a little bit painful for me because it was a lot to digest but it was completely worth it at the end. The next weeks, I spent around 60 hours to put together all my findings and conclusions in a presentable way.

05 05

The results

20people

interviewed

5days

of interviews

5categories

of users feedback

We interviewed 15 people in 5 days and within that time we came up with 3 design versions based on the quick feedback loops we got. Throughout the interviews, we were able to adapt the design according to the synthesis of the results of the interviews.

This provided us with a better understanding of what people were expecting and how they wanted to interact with when applying for a car loan. This users feedback helped us a lot to shape the design of our app to design a product that people really want and like.

What I learned

I could identify the main categories where I got most of the feedback from clients and users perception of the product which was really revealing for me in terms of the usage of the tool.

I was able to identify 3 categories of feedback from Tracker that were more relevant for most of the users I interviewed. Unfortunately, part of the limitations was to only consider a small segment of users (Chicago office) to get more consistent results and be able to observe these trends from a higher lense since this collection of feedback only belongs to a very specific and small group.

Another cool thing that happened was that the product team in Denver contacted me and we had a one-on-one session to present my results and they were surprised about how fast I ended up getting some of the same results they got in only 2 weeks. They asked me for another meeting where I explained them my process and of course I shared my feedback, artifacts, findings and everything I got with the team.

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