Being part of a startup is chaotic. Elon Musk once described it as: "eating glass while staring into the abyss". It's hard to make plans and even harder to stick by them.
Startups crave structure
When we started Insight, our first mistake was to not use Pivotal Tracker right away. We thought we wouldn't need a tool to discuss and plan our ideas. The communication overhead is so small when you're only two.
The reality of a startup is quite different. There are so many things you need to juggle with that having some structure becomes crucial to your productivity. We currently do one week iterations where we prioritize work every monday. It gives us a good sense of how much time has to be spent on the business and on the product.
The increased focus
Pivotal Tracker is a todo-list on steroids. You write down your future features, bugs and chores so that you can focus on completing the item on top of the list.
It's not really unique to the tool, but it does it better than any other one on the market. You can fit your stories in multiple iterations and you get a clear overview of the work ahead of you.
Most importantly, you can assign points on your stories so that you have a rough idea of how much work your stories are worth.
The deeper insights
(no pun intended)
We also assumed that we knew how Pivotal Tracker works. After all, it seems like a pretty simple tool: Stories, points, states, epics, what else?
In any software, there are always hidden gems that you only find after you use the product a lot. Understanding Pivotal Tracker's ins and outs permitted us to literally derive higher business logic and bake it into our product.
Being our own users
Finally, using Pivotal Tracker let us build our own dashboard. We look at it every friday to see how the week went. I'm a big believer of using your own product. There's no better way of finding all those quirks that need fixing than by using your own product.
Big Thanks to Ailiza and Emanuel for reviewing this post.