Pluralsight + Manulife logo

Empowering best-in-class engineering teams to ship better products for customers

The Challenge

Equip engineering teams to make data-driven decisions

Manulife is committed to responding to its customers’ needs, which means its teams need to constantly transform the way they work. That involves ongoing technology skill development and the ability to examine how engineering teams are working—and how they could improve. 

Leaders at the company wanted to improve project management processes and create more time and space for innovation and experimentation. They also wanted to build a culture of engineering excellence that was centered on trust. But they didn’t have enough data. They were used to looking at burndown rates and number of stories completed without having any real context on what their engineering teams were actually focused on. 

Who we are

Manulife, the holding company for The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and John Hancock Financial Services, is a large company that provides a plethora of products for customers. It deals with wealth and asset management, insurance, banking, security, travel insurance and more—meaning it’s part of both the insurance industry and the financial services industry. 

Manulife by the numbers

founded in 1887


global offices



Committed to ongoing evolution

“You can’t be customer obsessive if you’re not employee obsessive. You have to look at what enables [teams] to get more done…because they want to have an impact on customers’ lives.” 

Gary Feierabend, Assistant Vice President of Engineering Transformation

The Solution

Launching Innovation Labs to speed up output 

With Pluralsight Skills, Manulife gives its employees the ability to learn on their own time, without taking them away from their squads. With Skill IQ and Role IQ, team members can get a clear, unbiased understanding of whether they’d be a good fit for front end or back end engineering roles, and are able to self-evolve. 

With Pluralsight Flow, Manulife is able to take a more unbiased approach to career advancement. In the past, they’d often promote more extroverted employees who made themselves visible, admits Gary Feierabend, Assistant Vice President of Engineering Transformation. Now, they’re able to recognize the hidden talent that wasn’t obvious to them before, by better understanding who’s doing what in the system and how they collaborate with others. 

Manulife takes full advantage of the analytics data available through Skills and Flow. By tapping into valuable information that helps leaders understand how different approaches are working, how teams are reacting to them and what challenges are cropping up or disappearing, they’re able to change their program quickly and get ahead of problems that team members may not have even recognized yet.

It’s also important that engineering leaders show compassion and empathy in how they look at the data, says Naveed Zahid, Director of Engineering, Engineering Transformation. 

“What I find so effective about Flow is that it really forces you to get to know your team, and so there's always that human element as well. When you look at data, what does that data mean? For the engineers, it's all about making sure that they're supported by their leader and that when the leader looks at data in Flow, they can have honest and constructive conversations with their engineers.”

The key benefits of Pluralsight for Manulife

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Better onboarding

Increased visibility into what’s working and what’s holding new employees back has helped Manulife provide more useful support during onboarding.

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Putting the right people on the right projects

Skill IQ and Role IQ helps squad members and leaders see who would be a good fit for different projects. 

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Stronger engineering teams

Armed with better data, Manulife has been able to optimize how frequently they’re committing code, conduct more effective code reviews and deliver better products to customers.

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Career advancement

With Skills and Flow, Manulife can spot hidden talent on its team and provide more unbiased promotion opportunities.

Building a culture of engineering effectiveness

“Not only does Flow really focus in on engineering effectiveness, it also ensures that a lot of our other objectives are being met as well… making sure we’re resilient, that we’re secure.”

Naveed Zahid, Director of Engineering, Engineering Transformation

The Results

Armed with data

Flow allows Manulife to continuously celebrate successes, identify roadblocks and effectively mentor employees to create a world-class engineering org—allowing them to deliver better products, faster. 

Now that leaders at Manulife have become comfortable using Flow and taking advantage of key reports, the next step is to continue to familiarize leaders and engineers with other reports, and have engineers become part of data discussions that help teams get to the next level.

“I think the most powerful thing for me is those "aha moments" that we get from the leaders when they realize the data is powerful and start thinking of ways they can use it to their benefit, instead of being scared of it.” - Melissa Davy, Senior Product Owner

A match made in heaven

“We looked at many tools in the marketplace, including an intro to Flow at Pluralsight LIVE. Let’s just say my eyeballs went wide open and my jaw dropped. I thought, I want to experiment with that as fast as I can.”

Gary Feierabend, Assistant Vice President of Engineering Transformation

Want to increase the speed of innovation at your organization?