Interview with Jovia Nierenberg, COO of Webplanner 23

Jovia NierenbergJovia Nierenberg is Chief Operating Officer at Experience in Software. This is the company behind Webplanner, a new tool for project management. She’s only 23 years old. I asked her about her life as a Webplanner COO, her future plans for Webplanner, and her advice to young women interested in project management.
Jovia, how did your 23-year-old career end up as COO?
My father started Experience in Software (EIS), in 1983. After graduating college, I started working at the company as a bookkeeper. A few months later, my father became ill and could no longer run the business.
We were at a turning point when Webplanner’s initial development began, which I was product-managing. Due to my father’s health issues and my previous experience at the company, I felt it was logical for me to take on more responsibility and become COO. I have enjoyed streamlining EIS’s business processes, and learning how to run an organization.
What is your role?
We all have many hats in a small business. From defining company procedures and operations to product management Webplanner to checking mail, I do it all. I manage other employees, provide Webplanner customer service (someone else does Project KickStart), design the Webplanner user interface, manage company finances, as well as perform various other tasks that don’t fit into any other job description.
Wow! That’s quite a job. Tell us about the role you play in Webplanner’s development.
Webplanner development is my favorite part of my job. I create the user interface sketches for new features and pages and work with the primary developer to make them a reality. I am focused on product usability. If a user is having trouble understanding how to use something, I will go back and make it easier.
I manage the development team. I communicate with customers about bugs they have found and any changes they would like to see. Every time I use any web app, or other piece of software I think about how I can make Webplanner even better. An Evernote account is where I store ideas and other cool things that I see around the world.
Steven Johnson’s book Where Good Ideas Come from has influenced a lot of my thinking. I am very interested in how people plan and think. Webplanner (and future apps) can help me to innovate.
Webplanner screenshotIt seems like you have a lot of great ideas for the product. How is Webplanner developing and what’s next?
Very well! Our beta testing group doubled in size during May and continues to grow. The last hurdle to release is setting up our billing system. Webplanner will be available on the market once it is. We plan to launch an Android and iPhone app.
Many updates are in the works as well, including improved multi-project functionality as well as better integration with other software such MS Project and salesforce.com. We will continue to implement feature requests from our users.
Webplanner, the first Project KickStart. Why do you love project management tools?
I am fascinated by the way people think and the tools that can help them achieve their goals. I find it exciting that project management software can help people make their ideas a reality.
What advice would you give young women considering a career in project management or software development.
No dream is too big. When it comes to achieving your goals, passion and good planning are equally important.
Look for books that tell success stories. Marc Benioff’s Behind the Cloud was a great book that I recently enjoyed. Follow blogs and forums that are of interest to you. To exchange ideas with others, build a network. Introduce yourself to people at local tech events. I have found that people will be more inclined to help you if you are friendly and warm.