Pivotal Labs Reviews | Glassdoor

Pivotal Labs Reviews

Updated March 25, 2017
74 reviews

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4.0
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Rob Mee
44 Ratings

74 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work-life balance is a core benefit extended to every individual contributor on the floor (in 14 reviews)

  • They really stress pair programming and test driven development (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • no private computers during work time due to pair programming, but there are email station computers around the office (in 10 reviews)

  • Some teams have started experimenting with shifting the work hours to 8 to 5, but that's about it (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "software engineer - amazing company with amazing people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Monica, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - open, & collaborative environment, everyone's opinion is valued equally
    - a lot of very smart people who are always more than happy to help
    - management was supportive of my interests in product & design, and got me involved when opportunities came up
    - I felt like the company as a whole, as well as individuals, cared about my happiness and growth
    - great work life balance, daily breakfast, occasional free lunches, fully stocked kitchen of any kind of snacks or drinks you could want, they got it all

    Cons

    - no private computers during work time due to pair programming, but there are email station computers around the office
    - not really a con but set work hours from 9-6, lunch break from 12:30 - 1:30 - everyone takes lunch at the same time to maximize pairing time


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Yes, Pivotal!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Junior Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The culture is unbeatable. Every pivot is knowledgable and passionate about what they're building, and a person new in their career stands to learn a lot from all the projects being built around them. The everyday perks like daily breakfast don't hurt either.

    Cons

    Projects and allocations rotate frequently, so there is sometimes uncertainty about what you'll be working on and when. This is a pro and a con.

    Advice to Management

    I can't imagine I would change anything. From day one I've been in the loop and growing as a developer.


  3. "By far the best programming job I've held in 10 years on the market"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - You will be treated like a HUMAN BEING, not just a tool. You will be trusted to know how to do your job, since you were hired under that assumption. This seriously opened my eyes and put all other programming jobs I've had to shame.
    - They take agile and XP practices seriously, so you can expect to reap the full benefits of it
    - Emotional maturity: We're all adults here, so let's talk freely about what's working and what's not. Who would have expected this to work so well?
    - Frequent breaks! You are not a machine, and Pivotal knows this. If you ever need a break, take a break. See my first point!
    - Constant access to an embarrassment of refreshments (including free breakfast) with zero shaming for taking full advantage of it (you know what I'm talking about)
    - Full benefits, which include the aforementioned refreshments and other fun stuff along with the expected medical, dental, 401k, etc. usually implied by that
    - Lots of opportunity to learn and flex your talents, such as lunch talks (with free lunch) and the freedom to use technology you are interested in (but maybe don't have any experience in yet) for projects you are on
    - Great camaraderie! Everyone feels like one big team. Frequent hangouts after work together, including game nights and happy hours.

    Cons

    - Monetary compensation is maybe a bit low for the field (offset by all of the benefits, but it is a consulting firm, so they have to charge their clients more than they are paying you if they want to make any profit -- think about that for a second!)
    - You will gain 15 pounds working here; I'm serious about all the free food

    Advice to Management

    Just keep being true to your values, and I'm sure the company will keep shining from all the individual lights of its wonderful employees.


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  5. Helpful (11)

    "Raised gender/disability issue and was told to quit. So I did."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Renton, WA
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Renton, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Wonderful philosophy
    - Highly invested in engineers
    - Great benefits, both in office and out
    - Ping Pong culture

    Cons

    - More interested in "getting dollars in" than "doing it once, doing it right".
    - Deliberately leads on "big" clients rather than stick to their proclaimed philosophy of "do it right".
    - Regional management supports inappropriate behaviors rather than insisting they stop immediately.
    - Little to no HR support - HR bows to all management and problems are swept under the closest rug.

    Advice to Management

    Stop promoting engineers into office directorships when your product managers and designers are a MUCH better liaison to your potential market. Also, be more concerned when the next female employee brings you issues; not all of them are going to decide it isn't worth the time/money/effort to sue you for it.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Amazing place!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome environment. Truly an engineers dream. Extremely authentic team and organization which is genuinely passionate about truly changing the way the world builds software. Agile done right. Great work/life balance.

    Cons

    Strict start & end times but generally understanding about needing some flexibility if given enough heads up. Most pivots really don't mind given that the structure allows us to maintain a sustainable peace.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Great plaform, great process, great people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The company is putting together some amazing pieces.

    At labs we're focused on finding the best processes to build and deliver software. With growing practices in product management and design, we're continuously exploring ways to improve how software is build on every project and with every client.

    With our Cloud Foundry and other product teams under the same virtual roof, we get to see first hand how our practices can be put to the test delivering long term value to customers of these products and services.

    Some have the impression that Pivotal's process is dogmatic, but I've found it to be an environment where everyone is always open to trying new good ideas and sharing what we learn along the way.

    Cons

    The hours are not nearly as flexible as they are most other places.

    Set your expectations appropriately, and work with your manager or team when you need to make exceptions.

    As a consultant you're expected to be billable all hours of the week that you're here, so if you have other projects you want to work on be prepared to do it in your own time.

    The recent change to an non-accruable vacation policy has been a source of contention.


  8. Helpful (11)

    "title: Excellent environment to practice the pure craft of software development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs full-time

    Pros

    Pair programming all day every day means that you will be learning and teaching constantly. After four years, I'm still surprised nearly every day with how much I learn just by observing and interacting with my colleagues. There are awesome catered breakfasts every morning, endless
    snacks, and a whole group of superstars called the "Happiness team" who keep office life weird and awesome. Work-life balance is a core benefit extended to every individual contributor on the floor. Overtime is totally unheard of. Your workday will start at 9am, end at 6pm, and your phone will never ring outside of work hours.

    The company's core values are: "do the right thing", "do what works", and "be kind". Management and labor in the Pivotal Labs organization (a services division inside of Pivotal), strive to live up to these lofty ideals and they succeed more often than not. I've seen management on more than one occasion turn down business from clients who were unkind or unprofessional in sales meetings. Since upper management has strong positive and negative incentives to bring in business, turning away a client who is likely to make the Pivots on the floor unhappy is a strong signal that management truly does take the long view and values the creation of a nurturing and sustainable workplace environment over short-term gains.

    Occasionally you will be staffed on a very challenging project with a client who doesn't fully see the value of some of our more esoteric practices. You'll sit next to passive-aggressive client developers who will complain bitterly about writing tests, or pairing, or just want to do things their own way. Try and treat these engagements as the learning and growth opportunities they are. Make sure that you are truly empathizing with your "difficult" clients (or difficult co-workers) and bring an attitude of humility and willingness to change your opinion when faced with facts, like for instance, the fact that despite writing a lot of tests a product still has frequent regressions when new features are added, etc. Weekly retrospectives are an opportunity to speak directly with your product team about what's not going well and how to immediately change your team's process to make it better. Over time I've learned that being direct (remembering also to be kind), is almost always the best approach. In most cases, even on the most challenging projects I've worked on, clients eventually see the value of some parts of our process and come to adopt them.

    In summary, Pivotal Labs is a fantastic place to work and I've benefited tremendously from my time there. I highly recommend it as a workplace for software developers who want to learn a process for continuously improving their craft. If you come in with an open mind, you will grow tremendously in technical ability and in the ability to empathize with your clients and co-workers.

    Cons

    Salaries lag behind industry standard. I've seen many of the most talented employees leave because they felt their professional development wasn't progressing rapidly enough. These folks in many cases were among the most productive members of the office. People coming and going is normal for a consultancy, perhaps it's just the name of the game, but I suspect that more could be done to retain our best folks.

    Advice to Management

    To all of the management, from managers to the CEO: thank you for creating a unique and awesome workplace. You attract amazing consultants who love to teach and learn from each other. You truly do advance the mission of changing the way the world builds software. You have been doing a great job on the whole.

    Keep an empathetic eye on the folks who work on Labs projects. They are trying their best in almost every case and if they are raising an issue to you, it's quite possibly a last resort, because everyone does see how busy you are and how much stress you are under.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Solid company, but not technically fulfilling"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Smart people, good food, sane working hours. You can learn a lot in a short period of time by working on many different projects

    Cons

    Lots of large corporate clients, so you'll spend more time solving organizational problems than technical problems

    Advice to Management

    Focus obtaining more startup clients or clients that need help with technical issues as opposed to process issues to keep the engagements interesting


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pivotal is a great place to work. It's a very healthy environment with plenty of fun, smart, empathetic and supportive people. It's a great place to learn and pick up new skills. I've been here a few years and I feel that I've learned more than I have in 8 years before that. There is a great work/life balance, with sustainable pace being one of the core values. Overtime and working on weekends is something that just doesn't happen. Being a consultancy means a lot of different projects coming through the door, and you get your pick of technologies you can work with. Want to learn Android? Just let your manager know and they'll do their best to put you on a project where you can learn Android. And with XP/pairing being the MO, you'll be proficient in no time. A lot of attention is put on making employees productive and happy. Have a specific keyboard that you like? Send an email and they'll get it. Chair, balance board, yoga ball... anything you need for work is just an email away.

    Cons

    As we do pair programming, working same/fixed hours is necessary, so there's not a lot of flexibility. The usual is 9 to 6 with one hour lunch break. Some teams have started experimenting with shifting the work hours to 8 to 5, but that's about it. Compensation is well below industry standards and there are no bonuses, and it has been a cause of churn rate, with employees sticking around, on average, for 2 years.

    Advice to Management

    Work on talent retention. Improve compensation.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "A Great Stepping Stone with great peers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Santa Monica, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pivotal Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - High communication environment.

    - Immersive learning.

    - The chance to see how many different engineering teams operate. I could compare and contrast
    engineering approaches while watching the results unfold.

    - Well respected in the tech community. Their name carries a lot of weight in the American startup community.

    - Fixed 40 hour work week.

    Cons

    - Little freedom to experiment with technology.

    - Full time pair programming can be exhausting and draining.

    - On the consulting side, not much opportunity to grow technically beyond a certain level.

    - Most engineers leave or move into management after 2-3 years (because of technical ceiling)

    - Company values felt like they were eroding in my time there. This was the narrative of people on their way out when I joined. I felt like they eroded even more by the time I left. "Do the right thing" became a murky concept as consulting was pushed to cooperate with enterprise sales. This ultimately led to why I left. This could be changing for the better, since Rob Mee was made CEO again.


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