Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of your favorite SaaS product?
The path from problem statement and conceptualization to implementation is long and complicated. But it’s the people behind each product feature and launch that truly make it all come together.
Here’s a rare peek into the nuts and bolts of the Pigment business planning platform, where we discover what makes an exceptional product team. You’ll learn what motivates engineers, product managers and designers, how engineering program managers build smooth processes, and the Pigment Engineering team’s approach to problem solving.
Meet the Pigmenauts: Engineering edition
An all-hands-on-board marathon to building the best business planning software in the world.
That’s the Pigment Engineering team summarized in a single sentence. They’re a rapidly growing team of 30+ engineers, product managers, designers, and program managers.
They’ve come together from diverse backgrounds and experiences with the common goal of building an exceptional product.
This team does it all: hackathons, in-product onboarding, exclusive all-hands meetings, dedicated career development, and super fast releases. At the end of the day, the Pigment product team aims to use their exceptional talent and love for challenges to obtain the most sustainable, bulletproof, and reliable version of Pigment.
What motivates and drives the Engineering team?
“The team is motivated by solving complex challenges and creating the best product on the market.”
Yes, but there’s so. much. more. that the Pigment Engineering team strives to be! In an innovative initiative to capture the team’s thoughts, leadership conducts a Pulse Survey every three months with a few key objectives:
- Monitor the health of the Engineering team
- Measure job satisfaction with a simple KPI: “would you recommend working at Pigment to other engineers?”
- Identify areas where coaching and training could be beneficial
- Understand what the team likes working on
- Determine what can be improved
As a byproduct of the Pulse Survey, the Engineering team finds it easy to articulate what exactly drives and motivates them while working at Pigment:
Talented team and a positive mindset
This is the number one reported motivational factor that drives the Engineering team at Pigment. The team develops a close bond and works together on developing a can-do attitude to increase job satisfaction.
If there’s one thing designers, engineers, and product managers have in common, it’s the undying love for solving problems. The Pigment Engineering team values the privilege of taking on challenging projects with complex solutions. The collaborative spirit makes problem-solving a team exercise, rather than a major source of anxiety.
Abundant development opportunities
The team has multiple programs in place to offer career and skill development opportunities to team members. This includes one-on-one coaching, buddy programs, customized career tracks with coaching to achieve career goals, and a simple yet thorough onboarding program.
By helping each team member scale their careers and grow into their roles, the Pigment Engineering team ensures that equal and equitable opportunities are offered to all its members.
Autonomy and ownership
The Engineering team displays unseen levels of ownership when building the best business planning solution in the market. This is made possible by the adherence to minimal, non-invasive processes and the current flat hierarchy.
And those are not just words: the Engineering team has the autonomy to call out features that are negatively impacting the product. The team dedicates time to ensure every new feature or piece of code fits with the overall vision and philosophy of the product and team.
There’s an important distinction between being state-of-the-art and being up-to-date. Aside from being heavily hyphenated, state-of-the-art technology is best in class, tried and tested software with proven impact. Whereas, up-to-date technology refers to the latest trend or iteration of tech.
While there’s a place for adopting the latest technology, the Engineering team prefers to invest in proven technology that enforces best practices and low risk, dependable performance.
What is the Engineering team’s mentality when working on the product?
Philosophy and motivation are important for striving towards a long-term vision, but reaching that ideal state requires hard work. The Pigment Engineering team maintains a mentality of speed, delivery, coaching, and reliability:
- Maintain a great velocity and do it with all hands on board.
- Reliability with automated testing to prevent defects as much as possible when shipping to production
- Coaching and mentorship for technical skills and career development
- Technical leadership and collaboration through bottom-up decision making
- Stay informed with industry best practices, tools, and state-of-the-art technology
The team emphasizes moving fast, but never at the expense of reliability:
"We deploy at least once a day but with care: in other words, we are fast but it’s not at the expense of stability for our clients. If releases are stalled, anyone is ready to drop what they’re doing and give a hand. Some even developed custom tooling on top of their other tasks to make our lives easier."
With this mentality, the team is able to ship fast, reliable releases at least once - if not several times - a day.
The Engineering team’s approach to problem solving
Pigmenauts view problem solving as a continuous process.
The Engineering team engages in learning and discovery throughout the quarter, and plans for regular, cross-functional reviews. They work closely with multiple stakeholders from tech, product, design, business, and even customers, to identify and solve problems.
The technical team kicks-off every project with a meeting including all stakeholders and anyone on the product team who wants to give feedback. In these meetings, problems statements and potential solutions are clearly defined. This at times necessitates a Proof of Concept to validate the idea.
“The goal of reviewing projects and prototyping is to agree on the solution that makes the most sense from both a customer and technical point of view. We document alternatives and the reasons to discard them in order to align team members on the best solution.”
The entire team is encouraged to engage in the process to push changes and prove out solutions. Although the team does not always align on every decision, they open up to feedback and reach a consensus before moving forward.
How does the Engineering team keep the customer in mind?
Community is a great medium for Pigmenauts to hear the customers’ voices. And the Engineering team is no exception.
Product managers work with Customer Success and Sales to understand the key priorities and pain points faced by customers in their search for a better way to make decisions. The combination of these inputs with the long-term vision of Pigment and the innovative ideas of the technical team help define future outcomes.
“We try to extract the real, underlying needs from customers. Often, customers ask for a certain feature, but in reality are trying to address a much bigger pain point. So we build the most complete solution by combining the voices of the customers as captured by Sales, Product, and Development.”
In particular, product designers play a key role by designing high-precision mock-ups and running user experience testing on features developed by the team.
What are the technical challenges facing the team?
Pigment is a rich and complex tool capable of handling enormous volumes of data. At the same time, the platform boasts a sleek, simple, and intuitive interface. Users enjoy real-time insights in a solution that’s easy to use.
This star combination of flexibility, ease-of-use, and processing power comes, of course, with a unique set of technical challenges:
- High performance and balancing infrastructure costs
- Processing huge volumes of data
- Complex business logic and formula engine balanced with simplicity and user experience
- Reliability and testing for product that grows at lightning speed
- Building a collaborative platform where multiple users work and communicate together in real time
How do you train a best-in-class team?
The most optimal path towards building a world-class technical team is through intensive and customized training.
The Pigment Engineering team enjoys several comprehensive training programs, both for new joiners to get up to speed, and for old hats to stay sharp:
- Customized onboarding per technical track
- Pigment buddy for the first few weeks
- Coaching for personalized career development
- Simple onboarding tasks for a comprehensive view of the tech stack
- Option to complete the same product certifications as Pigment clients and partners
- Exercises to complete within the Pigment app
Here’s a fun fact: the Pigment Engineering team is incredible at word-play as well! Every quarterly release is named after a color (AKA pigment) which is voted on by all the newcomers in the quarter.
Apart from color-themed releases, the team knows how to have fun through hackathons, all-hands, and one-on-one coaching to build a lasting team bond.
Loved learning about the Pigment Engineering team? Join them! Check out our Careers page for tons of open positions we’re currently recruiting for.