Michelle Wolverton says goodbye to Lone Rock Point

As I write this I’m feeling a bittersweet mix of emotions. I’m also feeling sadness and excitement as I take the next step in my career and depart Lone Rock Point, the place that has been my professional home for the past few years.

Because of my work in this role, I have been presented with an extraordinary opportunity to work at NASA as a product manager while overseeing a portion of the Agency’s web footprint, helping to meet IDEA requirements – because I believe that growth lies in the flinch, I accepted this position.

Making the choice to leave a role at an amazing company was not an easy decision for me, especially when it has become more than just a workplace. This place and this team have been my sanctuary, a nurturing environment where I have grown both personally and professionally over the last 4 years. Every milestone achieved has left an indelible mark on my life, shaping me into the manager, colleague, and leader I am today.

Michelle Wolverton, Stacy Holtz, and Gary Kovar
Michelle Wolverton, Stacy Holtz, and Gary Kovar

At Lone Rock Point, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the room to grow in many areas. Improving the way I listen to users and connecting their pain points to solutions and helping support a team in building a product to address their needs. That, in turn, has meant significant research, analyzing the results of that research, and challenging myself to provide targeted recommendations in an agile way. 

Doing something valuable takes time and time is valuable. My time at Lone Rock Point has taught me the value of landing on the right solution for clients, taking the time to put together a robust and tailored recommendation rather than the rapid-pace-whatever-we-can-do-fast-enough-to-please-the-client approach in typical agency settings. That is a value that I’ll carry with me throughout every other project and program I lead in the future. 

As a significant step on the company’s agile journey, I’ve helped the team embrace an agile methodology by adopting the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as we’ve worked with NASA. Applying SAFe to our work, the NASA project team has learned together the framework works within an enterprise project with many moving pieces and conflicting caveats, dependencies, and risks to be tackled for every aspect of the project lifecycle. The results of that have been amazing – including improved communication and collaboration which have set the tone for future client work throughout the company.

It’s common to think a business is about profits, keeping the lights on and finding the next client, but companies are made of people who share the same goals and support one another in achieving those goals. 

Lone Rock Point and its people reminded me that a strong team supports each other every step of the way. This is ingrained in the company culture. Each individual on the team is confident in sharing their ideas with each other knowing a shared team brain will make their ideas stronger or better defined for clients they support. The best teams push us all to do that more often, seeking out the brilliance of people around you because you know better is lurking. 

Working with our President, J.J., has taught me to think differently about managing my team, making solid recommendations to clients, to respect my time and give it away sparingly. As a manager he’s given me the room to grow into a leadership role and a safe place to come out of my comfort zone.

All these lessons and more I take along with me as I join NASA as product manager for the next phase of our project. 

Good culture is in good people and positive intent.  I’ve been fortunate to work with whip smart individuals who do their best work. I have every bit of faith that they will continue their best work for existing and future clients as I depart. 

A single blog post can’t touch on every single lesson I’ve learned over the years. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities, the work, and most importantly, the people. Thank you, team Lone Rockers, for the invaluable lessons, unwavering support, and the countless opportunities for growth.

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