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Procore at SXSW: Tortoise or Hare? Getting Product Dev Speed Right

After two long years of waiting, Austin’s biggest event of the year finally returned. South by Southwest (SXSW) is a two-week long showcase of technology, media, music, film, comedy, and conferences. With attendees from all over the globe, the range of events is vast: everything from high-profile guest panels focused on innovative ideas for combating climate change, to leadership workshops, to concerts headlined by world-renowned musicians, and beyond.

This year, Procore’s SVP of Product, Wyatt Jenkins, partnered with tech leaders from Chime, TaskRabbit, and Tally to discuss getting product development speed right. Similar to the classic tortoise versus hare tale, many startups want a move-fast approach to product development. But there’s a case for being more steady and thoughtful like the turtle. Jenkins joined Amy Truong, VP of Engineering at TaskRabbit, Jan Chong, VP of Engineering at Tally, and Michael Ducker, Director of Technical Strategy at Chime, to discuss what product development processes need to work well to ultimately be successful. For example, turning ideas into working code, deploying written code, getting in front of users, and leveraging user feedback into the next big idea.

With an audience full of tech professionals, the panelists leveraged their experiences at both large and small companies to define how to quickly diagnose and treat points of technical friction. They also discussed the successes and failures of tiger teams, technical debt, and making tradeoffs between scope, quality, and ship date.

“I always think of a great product as a garden,” said Jenkins on the topic of altering products and his approach to taking on tech debt. “And you have to go in and pull the weeds. You can’t keep planting the same thing in the same soil. You have to go in and look at the garden and decide what you keep and what you change.”

The panel was followed by a highly-engaging Q&A session during which audience members had the opportunity to ask the panelists professional and technical inquiries. It seems like only yesterday that we had our first panelist sync meeting, and we owe a huge thank you to the other panelists at TaskRabbit, Tally and Chime for taking on this SXSW adventure together.

Check out the panel description and more information about SXSW here.