Your throw-away comment “when it didn’t have a good reputation” in regards to Cloud Foundry they would use Pivotal Labs to get in the door.
This comment (take it FWIW since it is anonymous, but seems pretty dialed in) makes me wonder if they have fixed these “reputation” issues since this was posted on Quora 1/1/17. I don’t work in the industry, so any reactions would be worth reading for all of us from you or SteppenWulf or anyone who actually is more connected. Thanks
Our company had a very close experience with Pivotal Labs working with them for an entire engagement for over a year and worth several millions dollars. I work for a top tier of Fortune 100 well known company operating around the world also known as a famous brand.
Our senior management was approached by Pivotal CEO and his marketing team which resulted in apparently convincing arguments that our technology organization sucked big time and that they would totally reinvent how we develop software. Since we spend tons of dollars yearly on technology, it seemed like a good idea to our senior management aspiring for the next promotion. Pivotal Labs positioned themselves as the “expert” in software development methodology, and flashing amazing success stories from other large companies engaged with them.
After a long and very painful engagement, every single person working on the floor with Pivotal Labs is unanimous: the engagement was not only a waste of time, but much worse, also detrimental to their career. Their peers now look at them with disgust having produced absolutely nothing really new, useful, or game changing. To be fair, they learned what is an hypothesis and how to invalidate having terrible ideas which was always proclaimed as a huge success since nothing else was delivered. Their “work” is designed to stretch the assignment as long as possible since Pivotal Labs gets paid by the hour, not delivery. As for pair programming, it is anything but a new model but everyone involved stated that it is not productive in the long run.
Let me give you an idea of how much money they sucked from us. Well, just four Pivotal Labs folks costs just over $2 million for one year since they charge $42,000 / month / person. This is not counting our own people. We had six other groups with a similar setup, so $12 million per year. Now you would think that you have top notch quality engineer well trained team on Pivotal Technologies like Cloud Foundry, Gemfire and Spring, right? Wrong! They gave us 3 total newbies on these technologies, one semi-expert which turned out to not know much after scratching the surface. Within that a pack an arrogant freshman from college. For $150K / year, you would much higher quality level folks on the street.
Absolutely nothing useful got delivered since they are not responsible nor liable for any deliverables. The team’s attitude is that we are a pile of crap and they know how to develop software. We were often treated with condescending attitude, insulting statements, and blaming any issue on our side. Our people were much more hands on, had total knowledge of the business which Pivotal refuses to learn since they just want to be “generalist”. The Pivotal team is fanatic about controlling their in-house Pivotal Tracker and nothing is set in stone to avoid commitment at all cost. The user stories are generic, subject to sudden change and scope, there is no sprint, and nothing can be tracked easily to ensure total lack of transparency from the client side. They bill by the hour and they overbill many more hours per day than they actually work: team members often come late without any excuse, they have their own “meetings”, often disappear from their desk for no reason, and they leave at their own time no matter what.
But here’s the worse part: nobody except top management is allowed to see Pivotal Labs weekly report which always claims “great progress and amazing improvements” stating a total dishonest representation of the truth. And if anyone on our side tries to inform our management that things are not going well at all, Pivotal has a direct line to the top management to complain at these individuals and their careers are instantly damaged because they are tagged as a not being a good team partner and resisting their “culture”. Bottom line, everyone on the client side has to keep their mouth shut and live in fear of being outed just for stating the obvious issues taking place at Pivotal Labs. That is absolutely surreal. Because of this setup, the level of arrogance from Pivotal Labs is absolutely the worse imaginable in a working environment. Our people were deeply depressed and all wanted to leave the company.
Pivotal Labs is an expensive scam. Super smartly designed by folks only interested to cash as much money from you without having any legal responsibility to deliver anything tangible. It just a matter of time that their clients actually understands this and we are certainly not the only one. Our senior management took a while to realize what was going on and finally ended our contract with Pivotal after was too much time and money wasted down the drain. Projects were late, the entire code had to be rewritten from scratch and Pivotal never took any accountability. Total scam. Make sure to ask around REAL clients before going with Pivotal Labs to avoid losing a fortune and precious time.
Obviously I don’t think the whole thing is a scam, the numbers speak for themselves. This guy sounds pissed that they didn’t seem to value his abilities. Everyone has an ax to grind and looks to blame someone else. But, that wasn’t the only similar story I found looking around.