Being the first person to take on a newly created role in an organization is nothing new for Flower Pledger. In fact, it’s a challenge she has faced head-on.
As a result, she frequently found herself having to adopt a “learn as you go” mind set—often, without the benefit of insight or advice from other professionals in similar roles.
“I can’t tell you how many times in my career I wished that I had a mentor to provide guidance as I navigated new challenges,” she said.
Pledger still thinks about those challenging opportunities often, which is one of the many reasons she has chosen to be such an active member of the Pragmatic Alumni Community (PAC), the online community through which product professionals are given the chance to work together to exchange tools, examples, and tactics for success.
Now the vice president of product operations for Quorum Software, Pledger serves as the link between the various Quorum groups that develop and coordinate software releases, including Product Management, Engineering, Support, Customer Success and others.
“We work to align communication and procedures across the organization by developing standard processes, templates and documentation for customer engagement, product planning, kickoffs, release readiness, launch and more,” she said. “We serve as the right hand to product leadership, overseeing operational tasks, managing strategic initiatives, continuously improving product team efficiency and evangelizing Agile methodologies.”
Recently, Pledger and her team introduced six new customer advisory boards (CABs) to help keep them on the path of building the best oil and gas software for their customers and prioritizing their efforts to meet customer needs.
“Each CAB is a panel of trusted advisors made up of Quorum customers and is an extension of a product team,” she explained. “By offering advice and submitting requests to shape our business and product roadmaps, these boards have clear charter, schedule, and roles and responsibilities for Quorum employees and customers.”
As part of a CAB, Pledger said customers actively engage on a strategic level to influence the product roadmap, share opinions and collaborate with peers.
It’s the same type of interaction and collaboration found with the CABs that Pledger finds so rewarding about being an active member of the PAC.
“It has all the benefits that come with participating in a professional organization, including networking opportunities and professional development,” she said. “It has also allowed me to engage with industry leaders and likeminded professionals with varying experience and unique perspectives.”
Pledger said being part of the community means she can reach out for assistance any time she experiences new challenges.
“I’ve been working on developing standard practices for release cycle planning, including outlining expected inputs and outputs needed by the teams, ultimately providing the business with the data points they need while still aligning with Agile methodologies. The PAC has been a great resource for me during this process. Everyone has a unique way of approaching and addressing challenges; learning about these different perspectives as I map out what will work for me and my organization has been invaluable.”
Being able to provide that same support to others has been equally rewarding for Pledger.
“I’m fortunate because my experience has helped me learn how to optimize business processes, streamline product development, create and oversee customer advisory boards, improve cross-departmental collaboration and communication, and create an effective user experience,” she said. “I feel like I have something to offer just about anyone faced with establishing a product management department for their organization or even someone beginning a career in product management. The PAC is a great place to share those resources with others.”
Editor’s Note: Each issue of The Pragmatic features a member of the Pragmatic Alumni Community (PAC) who goes above and beyond to share their knowledge, connect with their peers and find innovative ways to apply Pragmatic Institute’s best practices in their work.