Where’s my Pony? A Farewell to Shawna Wolverton
I started writing this blog post way back in 2015 after a twitter conversation involving Shawna Wolverton. For those of you not aware, Shawna has been working at Salesforce the last 14 years. She’s been instrumental in forming the platform. Shawna has been the director, vice president, and senior vice president of product management since 2009. Shawna should be well known with to anyone who’s attending Dreamforce the last few years and went to the True to the Core.
Anyways, back to the reason why I started this post in 2015. This conversation occurred:
@Kwongerific your kids scream for matching ponies but also ask for fruit, are you going to hold out on fruit until they get the ponies?
— Shawna Wolverton (@shawnawol) July 14, 2015
This conversation started when Daniel Hoechst shared his frustration about ideas with very low points get included in releases while more popular ideas languish on the IdeaExchange. The point that Shawna was trying to get across to me is that product managers have to choose. The choice sometimes is between having nothing delivered versus something delivered. We still want our ponies. We also need our fruit. It’s Product Manager’s job to make sure get something.
Sometimes, we can get our pony (big feature). Sometimes it’s too hard. Sometimes it’s too niche. Sometimes we can’t get the whole pony, but we get a bit of it.
@Kwongerific this is the stage in product development where we reset expectations. You asked for a pony, we are delivering a My Little Pony.
— Shawna Wolverton (@shawnawol) July 21, 2015
Here’s what I love about this conversation. Shawna was able to deliver an explanation, one she knew we wouldn’t be happy about, in a manner that was funny and helpful. It also gave me the great line to constantly ask her when I was going to get my pony. As you can see from the feature image… Shawna finally gave me my pony, in sticker form.
I can hear you asking: “Brian, this is great and all, but you started this post in 2015… why now?”
Good question. My original idea was to explain why we don’t always get what we think are vital features. I threw away (ie deleted) about 10 versions. Sadly, there was a catalyst to wanting to post something.
Salesforce friends, big news. After an amazing 14 year career, tomorrow is my last day here. It has been a pleasure and privilege working with and for you. My connection with all of you is the stuff of product manager dreams. Thank you. Stay tuned for what’s next…
— Shawna Wolverton (@shawnawol) November 30, 2017
This makes me very sad. I’m also very happy that her journey will continue and I’m sure it will include many awesome things. So Shawna, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for your 14 years of helping make Salesforce awesome. Thank you for putting up with your – at times – whiny customers who want everything last week. Thank you for making sure we always got something and that the product team took our ideas seriously. My only regret is I never did convince you to come on to the Wizardcast podcast 😉