Transforming the way large enterprises build software

Product Design Internship, Agile & Lean methodologies

In Summer 2018, I had the opportunity to work in the service and consulting branch of Pivotal, Pivotal Labs. Pivotal Labs works with mid-to-large enterprises to change the way these companies design and deliver software to production. I collaborated with product managers, designers, full-stack engineers, and client teams to to define and deliver end-to-end digital products, while introducing these teams to new practices grounded in lean and agile methodologies, user-centered design and test-driven development.

I successfully completed my internship and received a full-time return offer, effective in 2019 after graduation.

During the 12-week internship I worked on 3 different projects, delivering a range of cross-platform experiences for web, mobile and email. I also had the opportunity to work on the development of Pivotal's main product offering, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, a cloud-native platform that allows companies to deploy and run their applications faster and more efficiently. I was fortunate to be exposed to multiple facets of the company and see how different business branches work separately or concurrently.

Huyen and Labs design team Huyen working on affinity map


At Pivotal, I learned how to understand the 30,000-foot view of the product that I was designing for by identifying stakeholders and business needs. I facilitated workshops and led design studios to collect ideas and input from all team members, and identified key patterns and insights that led to product design enhancements. Additionally, this collaborative design process enabled our team to have a shared understanding of what to prioritize and develop next. At Pivotal, I also furthered my understanding and practice of the framework oriented around delivering incremental value to the user by incorporating lean and agile methodologies.

This internship experience made me appreciate the impact that design consulting and strategy can have on supporting both business and user needs. Moreover, I saw first-hand the value-add that working closely with an in-house technical team brings to the software design process. Great design comes not only from hard design skills (e.g. Sketch, Framer, InVision, Photoshop, etc.), but also from a strong team of people with a diversity of skills and perspectives working collaboratively.

* Due to strict NDA, I cannot disclose the details of my work during the internship. Feel free to email me at huyentp@umich.edu if you'd like to know more!