VMWare Carbon Black
VMWare Carbon Black
Company Founded

2002

Location

North America

Challenges

Unruly backlog; Unaddressed customer needs; Misallocated resources:Before Carbon Black adopted a centralized platform, product managers lost time and missed critical insights trying to prioritize customers’ core needs. Go-to-Market teams struggled to close feedback loops with little insight into feature progress. In the end, some customers felt new features weren’t solving issues they shared.

“Productboard is the single best place we can go to identify the things that will demonstrably impact customer retention. With Productboard, we look at where we have clusters of feedback around particular areas that indicate ‘this is a small effort that we could potentially have a big impact with.’"”
Andy McAdams | VMWare Carbon Black

Andy McAdams Director of Product Operations, VMWare Carbon Black

VMWare Carbon Black

VMWare Carbon Black

Saving 7.5 hours per security incident is a tantalizing possibility for companies big and small — and VMWare’s Carbon Black business unit makes it a reality with a platform offering real-time audits, managed alert monitoring, and much more through a cloud native endpoint. 

Carbon Black’s secret to success? Listening deeply to what its customers need most.

“Productboard is the single best place we can go to identify the things that will demonstrably impact customer retention. With Productboard, we look at where we have clusters of feedback around particular areas that indicate ‘this is a small effort that we could potentially have a big impact with.’”

Andy McAdams
Andy McAdams
Director of Product Operations, VMWare Carbon Black

These days, Productboard is proving essential as Carbon Black works to protect businesses from a range of security threats; it’s the single source of truth where teams capture and validate customer pain points, prioritize high-value initiatives, and maximize EPD resources. 

But, things weren’t always so seamless. 

Here’s a snapshot of Carbon Black’s transformation:

  • 4,000 feature reqs sit in Salesforce → 1 centralized source of truth captures core pain points
  • 75-row spreadsheets manually updated w/feat. status → 1 Customer Board CSMs self-serve
  • 20 EPD staff, 1 yr of work, low adoption → data-driven prioritization optimizes for value, effort

VMware Carbon Black Manager, Product Management Arjun Narang and Director of Product Ops Andy McAdams share how Carbon Black improved efficiencies and ways of working with Productboard to deliver customer value faster. 

How it started: unruly backlog, unaddressed customer needs, and misallocated resources 

Before Carbon Black adopted a centralized platform, product managers lost time and missed critical insights trying to prioritize customers’ core needs from what Andy describes as an “unmanageable” backlog. Meanwhile, Go-to-Market teams struggled to close feedback loops with little insight into feature progress. In the end, some customers felt new features weren’t solving issues they shared. 

Without strong data to push back on opinions from the loudest voices, Product also wasted costly EPD resources – and sometimes even a year of time – on roadmap initiatives that drove little adoption. 

Andy and Arjun dive into the core issues:

  • Struggled to capture and deliver on customer needs

In the days before Productboard, Carbon Black used a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to both enter and act on customer feature requests. The trouble: Product didn’t get notified automatically about new feature requests; Customer Success never got a message when a sought-after feature reached development. An information gap grew between these teams as 4,000 feature requests piled up — requests customers kept asking about. 

“Customer success was putting stuff in, and it was basically going into a black hole,” Andy says. As a result, “what we delivered for the customer was rarely explicitly what they asked for.” 

And, with limited insight into the status of features, Go-to-Market also lost the chance to close the loop with customers about to get what they wanted most. (Andy explains: 1min, 30-sec

  • Allocated EPD resources on low-adoption investments

Missing the data needed to push back on high-effort initiatives suspected of having limited impact, Carbon Black also faced situations like this: 20 Engineering, Product, and Design staff spent over a year building a feature that drove low adoption and delayed other high-impact work. (Arjun shares – approx 1-min)

  • Lacked a repeatable process for adapting and sharing the roadmap

Using PowerPoint decks for roadmapping made it difficult for product managers to drive alignment, share updates, or adapt strategy based on evolving customer needs.

“[PowerPoint] was very difficult for maintaining updates because it wasn’t integrated into our Jira or Confluence workflows.” Arjun says. 

Additionally, these decks were sometimes shared org-wide just once a year — drawing an initial burst of valuable feedback from customer-facing teams, but lacking continual updates over the following months. Working with static tools, Carbon Black struggled to capture evolving customer needs. (Arjun shares – 1min)

The good news: Carbon Black changed course with Productboard. Here’s how things are going. 

How it’s going: delivering customer value with the right solutions, faster

Using a purpose-built product management platform, Carbon Black’s Product and Go-to-Market teams have transformed their approach from discovery to launch. Go-to-Market teams capture users’ actual pain points with a new feedback template, and every insight pushes to the same place: Productboard. Product managers validate promising ideas on deep-dive customer calls, ensuring roadmaps drive as much value as possible — and keep Go-to-Market teams in the loop with real-time feature status and Customer Boards (hear how in 1min).

Easily linking feedback to features, Product now makes the right bets consistently with a data-driven approach to prioritization. These days, teams no longer lose time on low-ROI initiatives and allocate engineering resources effectively with a holistic view of dependencies. Best of all, Carbon Black is working to empower everybody to think like a product manager and provide feedback on product strategy. 

Arjun and Andy share how Carbon Black can now:

  • Maximize customer value by validating pain points early

Leveraging a new feedback template that aggregates pain points and use cases vs. proposed solutions, Go-to-Market now captures customers’ actual needs and easily pushes them to one place — Productboard – where product managers oversee data-driven prioritization. (Andy shares – 2min, 45-sec

With feedback all living in one interactive platform, Product can now quickly ask Customer Success for clarification on a request or ask to call a customer and pose followup questions. 

Once an initiative goes into production, Product lets Customer Success team members know which feature to follow in their Customer Board — helping them easily close the loop with customers who shared the problem now being solved.

As a result, Carbon Black can set more reasonable expectations with customers while moving faster on delivery through a standardized way of working. 

“Now, we can say: ‘this is the feature that will solve the problem in the way we’ve determined will solve it,’ and then it flows through the process from there,” Andy explains. 

“We go through Design, attaching the feedback we want to include in the scope of the feature, what we want to solve, and it progresses all the way until launch [in Productboard].” 

  • Prioritize bets and enhancements that will drive revenue 

From Arjun’s perspective, Productboard has also helped Carbon Black pull off something especially significant in a turbulent economy: being able to consistently prioritize the highest-value opportunities. 

Using Productboard’s Salesforce integration, product managers can now tag insights to every relevant feature and subfeature while automatically linking data about the segment and revenue of the customers who shared the pain point.

This, Arjun explains, empowers Product to validate (or dismiss) assumptions based on actual financial data. (Arjun shares: 3-min)

“Now, we can tag customer feedback with an associated importance score to every feature and subfeature we would possibly consider doing for Carbon Black,” he said. “Then, we can see that maybe we thought feature A must be a higher priority than feature B, but based on customer feedback and associated revenue, that priority should be flipped.” 

When Carbon Black releases a large V1 functionality and strives to make enhancements in the order that would most benefit customers, here again the path ahead is much more clear.

“The question would be: ‘which of the followup enhancements do we want to deliver first,” Arjun explains. Now, instead of making a Microsoft Word doc charting out 30 potential enhancements to consider and using “intuition and all the other learnings I have as a PM” to prioritize among them, Arjun and others can take out the guesswork and make an entirely data-driven decision based on anticipated revenue and effort. (Arjun shares: 1-min)

“That’s helped us really focus on what we should do next,” Arjun says. 

  • Allocate engineering resources effectively

In an economy where effective resource allocation couldn’t be more critical, Carbon Black is also thrilled to have org-wide oversight over the top-priority initiatives that may require extra developers. Reviewing the next 5 or 10 features to deliver in a quarter, Carbon Black can now do this with Productboard: (Arjun shares – 50-sec)

“We have shown there’s a new feature we want to take up. It is highly requested but doesn’t yet have a staff. Some of the other things we were thinking of working on aren’t as high priority, so in terms of dependencies and making resources available, we need to shift people over to this one because across all of Carbon Black Cloud, it’s a top-5 requested feature.” 

  • Enhance strategy by encouraging internal feedback

Lastly, with the ability to easily action notes about their products, Carbon Black is eager to encourage its teams to shape strategy by sharing their own ideas. The goal: increase engagement across Carbon Black by empowering every team to think like product managers. (Hear how in :45)

“We can actually provide feedback about our own products and have that considered. That’s one of the things I’m excited to help them understand. They all have thoughts about why we should work on something or we shouldn’t. I’m excited to build that culture where they actually pitch those to Product.”

Andy McAdams
Andy McAdams
Director of Product Operations, VMWare Carbon Black

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