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Difficulty aligning on priorities and testing despite a wealth of feedback

Having the joint Umbrage and Productboard relationship was critical. Umbrage knew the problems we were solving for the industry, and with Productboard they helped us tailor our product management workflows to meet the needs of our clients, faster.
Brian Arnst

Brian Arnst


In the fast-paced world of oil and gas, accurate financial projections are the cornerstone of success. That’s why ComboCurve has emerged as a game-changer, offering a configurable auto-forecasting engine that enables companies to extract maximum value from their energy data in a fraction of the time. With the power to deliver four days’ worth of results in just four hours, ComboCurve is redefining efficiency in the industry.

As the company has grown, however, it has faced limitations due to manual processes and disjointed systems throughout the product development lifecycle. This hindered the ability to prioritize high-value opportunities, manage dependencies, and establish a robust testing framework. Recognizing the need for change, ComboCurve joined forces with Umbrage Studios and embraced the transformative power of Productboard.

Challenges: Difficulty aligning on priorities and testing despite a wealth of feedback

During a period of rapid growth, ComboCurve found itself juggling disconnected systems. The company had a wealth of feedback coming in from across channels, but Product struggled to prioritize what was most important and identify the signal from the noise. 

Having our feedback in too many disparate places risks prioritizing the wrong thing — and prioritizing the wrong thing can make or break a calendar year.

Douglas McMaster

Douglas McMaster


Managing dependencies was also getting harder and harder with no comprehensive view across product lines. And, with so many PowerPoint links in the mix, cross-functional teams spent considerable time in meetings to get on the same page about product strategy and progress. “We had lots of PowerPoints, too many PowerPoints, and too many one-on-one communications and meetings to get to the same understanding of information — it was hard to communicate across the organization,” he added.  

While the company had previously used Jira everything, and still loved it for sprint management, it was no longer the place where teams could house and follow the entire product management process. The time had come to rethink its processes and streamline using one centralized system. 

Solution: Partnering with industry experts and a platform purpose-built for business transformation  

ComboCurve decided to seek out a partner that specialized in serving more traditional industries to up-level its product management practices. Umbrage, part of Bain & Company, quickly stood out from the competition.

Umbrage began by digging into the “why” behind product decision-making and processes. Its product team asked how Combocurve planned its portfolio, developed new products, broke out major stages across the lifecycle, and where they experienced the biggest pain points. From there, it was easy to implement Productboard effectively. 

“Having the joint Umbrage and Productboard relationship was critical,” explained Brian Arnst, Director of Product at ComboCurve. “Umbrage knew the problems we were solving for the industry, and with Productboard they helped us tailor our product management workflows to meet the needs of our clients, faster.”

Once Productboard was fully enabled, ComboCurve’s engineers also took quickly to the platform. As Jordan Smith, Co-Founder and VP of Engineering at Umbrage put it: 

Productboard brings the ability to marry engineering and operations with a product focus. It bends enough to fit into what you have going on system-wise, but allows you time and space to digitally transform your company by integrating the right system and process to measure and calculate success. When you take all of your business priorities and package them correctly, the handoff to dev is seamless.

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith


With a single source of truth to manage the entire product lifecycle, ComboCurve teams are now able to prioritize the highest-value initiatives, better manage costly resources, and maximize developers’ impact.

Results: Now, teams prioritize highest value initiatives, reduce risk, and maximize dev resources 

Using Productboard, ComboCurve now maintains a data-driven approach to prioritization that helps teams feel certain they’re making the right bets the first time around, reducing any risk of expensive rebuilds. Here are some of the key results teams have experienced:

Prioritizing High-Value Initiatives and Minimizing Risk:

By utilizing Productboard’s data-driven approach to prioritization, teams at ComboCurve now have increased confidence in making informed decisions.This has allowed them to choose the most promising initiatives from the start, minimizing the risk of costly rebuilds or rework.

Strengthened Cross-Functional Trust and Improved Decision-Making:

Productboard’s intuitive and real-time roadmap view has bolstered trust and collaboration among cross-functional teams. Decision-making processes have been enhanced, enabling account executives to proactively engage in long-term deals with a clear understanding of what can be promised to different customer segments.

Enhanced Clarity in Developer Resourcing and Progress:

The seamless integration between Jira and Productboard has provided ComboCurve with greater visibility into developer resourcing and progress aligned with the overall strategy. EPD leaders can easily identify the need for additional help in critical initiatives, monitor contractors’ work, and ensure smoother progress towards key goals.

Customer-Centric Approach and Efficient Resource Allocation:

Productboard Insights has empowered product leaders to consolidate and prioritize customer feedback from multiple channels. This enables a customer-centric approach to product development, ensuring that features address the root cause of problems. By investing resources in the right areas, ComboCurve prevents wasted engineering efforts and optimizes resource allocation.

Alignment and Confidence in Product Plans:

ComboCurve teams can now effectively share product strategy throughout the organization, energizing other departments and fostering a clear understanding of the company’s goals. Through the use of Objectives in Productboard, strategic product pillars are aligned with North Star goals, allowing other teams to grasp the purpose and targets of each strategic objective. This alignment boosts confidence and supports effective go-to-market strategies, as well as allows time to straddle multiple initiatives effectively. 

Increased Visibility on Progress and Time Savings:

The adoption of Productboard has significantly reduced the time spent on seeking progress updates, as cross-functional teams and product leaders can now easily monitor progress on product strategies. This allows teams to dedicate more time to strategic work and execution, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity.

Empowered Engineering and Design Culture:

Productboard has fostered a collaborative environment that strengthens ComboCurve’s engineering and design culture. It enables teams to document problems, gather client feedback, iterate on designs, and establish acceptance criteria. By streamlining the collaboration process, the risk is minimized, and a robust automation and testing plan is implemented from the outset.

Improved Third-Party Collaboration and Real-Time Oversight:

ComboCurve benefits from the ability to identify the need for third-party assistance in development and monitor contractors’ (remote workers across the world) contributions in real-time. Productboard facilitates seamless integration and data accessibility, providing the necessary context and feedback for successful collaboration. This capability is particularly valuable in a volatile economy where capacity expansion and trust in partners are vital.

Accelerated Sales (CX) Closure and Sales Enablement:

Productboard has had a positive impact on the account executives’ ability to close deals at ComboCurve. Sales teams can leverage the rich data available in Productboard, filtering roadmaps based on customer concerns and identifying the release timeline of relevant features. This empowers the sales team to make informed commitments and significantly speeds up the sales process. Productboard Portal also serves as valuable sales enablement tools, combining new features and value propositions to provide training resources for the team. (future state not now)

In summary, thanks to Umbrage, the adoption of Productboard has brought numerous benefits to ComboCurve, including improved prioritization, reduced risk, enhanced cross-functional collaboration, and increased visibility into progress and resource allocation. These positive outcomes have led to a customer-centric approach, confident product planning, streamlined development processes, efficient third-party collaboration, and accelerated sales closure.

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