• Onwards and upwards - PebblePad continues to invest in its product and its people.

    by Jodie Young

 

Onwards and upwards - PebblePad continues to invest in its product and its people.

~ Meet the Team ~

JUNE 30th 2020· by Jodie Young

 


MISSION IMPROBABLE

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone involved in Higher Education. Our previous blog post acknowledged the terrific work happening at speed and at scale in universities across the globe to support a shift to online learning. The changes have been felt here at PebblePad as well. Our entire crew has transitioned to working from home, with our consultants advising customers via Zoom, the support team troubleshooting from afar, and our developers writing code in their spare bedrooms. All of which perhaps takes our CEO Shane Sutherland, Development Director Toni Lavender and CTO Andy Everson back to the very early days of PebblePad! With all of this disruption to everyday routine, you could quite reasonably assume that it has impacted on our ability to maintain forward momentum. But, no, the truth is that our team has grown during COVID and continuing investment in the product and our people means we are thoroughly on course when it comes to delivering on the PebblePad mission. Indeed, each and every day we're continuing to help our customers blaze new trails in learner-centric education. 

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THE MISSION BRIEF

In reflecting on how PebblePad evolved from fledging eportfolio platform to enterprise-wide Learning Journey Platform, CEO Shane Sutherland says, “Right from its very beginning, PebblePad was designed to help learners plan for, make sense of, evidence and tell their stories of learning and achievement." While this original mission brief is now more than 16 years old, it still holds true today and acts as the guiding principle behind every new development and feature within the platform. Indeed, our mission objectives were used by Development Director Toni Lavender as the critical sense-checkers for every product decision taken in our newly created product strategy. Exciting times lie ahead with our reframed roadmap (which we’ll be sharing with the world very soon) marking out a definitive pathway to improving and enhancing the PebblePad currently trusted by so many universities to support their teaching and assessment workflows at scale. Without giving too much away, the focus areas for our forthcoming development include:

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  • Workbook and Portfolio enhancement

  • Assessment and Administration at scale

  • Data availability

  • Connectivity and Integration

  • eSubmission
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Amazing and beautiful things happen when talented people are united by a desire to make a difference.  Our fabulous new recruits are brimming with terrific ideas and creativity and are already inspiring - and being inspired by - our incredible development team. I'm so excited about the future, and our customers should be too.

Toni Lavender, PebblePad Development Director

 
 
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THE MISSION TASKFORCE

To help us achieve our mission, we have recently welcomed a raft of terrific people into the product side of the business. Below you'll find a short Q&A with the very new, the moderately new, and the longstanding members of our product team. These are the people who spend their days collaborating and doing clever stuff to drive our Learning Journey Platform forwards.

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Image shows Elina Lulle - Lead Product Manager at PebblePad
 
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Elina Lulle - Lead Product Manager
Elina comes to us with great deal of experience and knowhow with previous roles in development and IT consultancy and as product owner, scrum master and technical product analyst. We're incredibly excited to welcome her to the team. And as if working for PebblePad doesn't add quite enough excitement to her life, she can be found enjoying outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, hiking, and skydiving.

Tell us a little more about your role
My role involves gathering knowledge to be a strong advocate for our customers internally and really understanding their needs. As a team we prioritise the diverse feature requests, ensuring we deliver the most value to our customers.

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
At PebblePad we recently set out our three and one year strategies, as well as revamping the way we prioritise our roadmap. I am really excited to see everyone aligned to our vision at all levels, with everyone driving forward top priority outcomes for our users. We have some exciting projects lined up that we can’t wait to get stuck into.

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Image shows Heather Price - Senior Product Manager at PebblePad
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Heather Price - Senior Product Manager
We're incredibly fortunate to have Heather join the team. She has worked in the field of programme and project management for 20 years, gaining experience across a range of public sector and national bodies including Jisc, the National Library for Health and regional library and museum bodies. When not thinking about PebblePad processes and roadmaps, her happy place is on a horse.

Tell us a little more about your role
I work closely with the Platform team and my role involves collaborating with the team to develop and implement product strategies that are consistent with the PebblePad vision and objectives.

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
I am really excited to be working with such a motivated and experienced team and I’m particularly looking forward to collaborating with the team and their stakeholders to identify priorities, and help ensure the outputs of the Platform team are shaped to deliver the company vision and underpin the delivery of the amazing PebblePad products that so delight our customers.

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Image shows Sarah Roden - Product Owner at PebblePad
 
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Sarah Roden - Product Owner
Sarah is the most experienced PebblePaddler on the team, having been with PebblePad for 9 years. She originally joined our Quality and Support Team where she shone in supporting our customers and is now a Certified Product Owner. In addition to her expert software specialist and project management skills, Sarah is PebblePad's star baker and is likely to turn up to product meetings with cake, which makes her incredibly popular.

Tell us a little more about your role
I manage the requests for new features that customers send in through either forums or email and determine the value to the platform for each of these requests. Once I gather all of the requests, I work out common goals and determine a development path. From there, I work with the development teams to plan how a feature can be built and how we then take the plan and put it into practice.

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
I’m most excited about working with our two apprentice teams (soon to be three!). Having recently completed the huge project that is assessor fields, I’m now looking forward to doing as many new and varied projects as I can with them. Watch this space for a list of future projects for release.

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Image shows Chris Smith - PebblePad Product Owner
 
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Chris Smith - Product Owner
Chris has extensive experience in design and User Experience roles with a focus on accessibility, which we're very lucky he brings to his Product Owner role at PebblePad. Chris has been part of the team for 9 months - which is coincidentally the time he's been recovering from snapping his achilles tendon!

Tell us a little more about your role
I come from a design background and have always been passionate about user-centred design and content design. My roles involves working with all aspects of the business to ensure the user’s perspective is heard during the process of design and development.

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
I’m most looking forward to the changes we’re making to our processes for future development work. We have a desire to build the right things, for the right reasons, in the right way, and we’re changing things up to make sure we’re working towards this goal.

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Image shows Alex Hajdasz  - UX Designer at PebblePad
 
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Alex Hajdasz - UX Designer
Alex has been delighting us with his UX wizardry since 2018. Although his focus has recently shifted into the field of UX, Alex has actually been working as a graphic design professional since 2012. When he isn’t counting pixels in Sketch, he’s either playing a video game or blogging about one!

Tell us a little more about your role
I'm responsible for the visual design of the PebblePad software and ensuring it remains intuitive and easy to use.

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
With so many new initiatives in place for remote testing and gathering user-centric feedback, I'm finding opportunities to meet people who use PebblePad every day. Meeting these amazing users and hearing their stories is exciting because I know it will help shape our future designs for the better.

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Image shows Jude Smalley - Scrum Master at PebblePad
 
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Jude Smalley - Scrum Master
We're delighted to welcome the talented Jude to the team, who brings with her a wealth of experience as a project analyst and product owner, which stands her in very good stead in her scrum master role. Jude has 13 tattoos and counting, including a large piece of the goddess Athena, so she's really glad one of the teams she works with goes by that name!

Tell us a little more about your role
My role involves coaching teams and the business in the spirit of scrum and agile to boost productivity and morale. I am basically a glorified cheer leader!

What are you most looking forward to / excited about? 
I took a leap of faith to try out what is a new role for me, so that I could do what I love most; helping other people. I'm excited and hopeful that between myself, the Product Owners and the development teams we will create some sort of symbiosis that maximises their productivity whilst still loving what they do.

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LEARNING MORE ABOUT PEBBLEPAD

Now that you've met some of the team behind our award-winning Learning Journey Platform, you might like to learn more about what PebblePad can do. If you would like to discover more about the platform and how our trailblazing community are using it, then our PebblePad - The Learning Journey Platform is the ideal place to start. Simply click on the link below to download a copy.

 
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DOWNLOAD THE PAPER Hubspot CTA
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Author

Jodie is Assistant Head of Communications, and Content Specialist and Editor here at PebblePad. An experienced educator, talented writer, and a genius at simplifying the complicated, Jodie spends her days planning, crafting and publishing content for the PebblePad community and wider higher education audiences. Outside of work, Jodie is a published poet, and in honour of her Aussie heritage (the lucky devil is based in Melbourne) our Head of Brand & Communications, Rich Dando, considered recrafting this profile into a poem but quickly came unstuck trying to find a word to rhyme with kangaroo. Unlike Rich, Jodie isn’t quite so easily derailed, and you'll see her expert stamp on many of our hugely popular publications.

 

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