Outstanding P-Camp this weekend

This Saturday's convocation of product managers, P-Camp 2009, was an outstanding event. Great presentation and great conversation. Many thanks to Rich, Luke, and everyone else at Enthiosys for organizing P-Camp, and to all the sponsors for making it happen.

Here are a few take-aways from the presentations I attended:

  • Agile is having a huge impact on product managers, not to mention the rest of the organization, outside development. I'd venture to say that the effects on how product managers and product marketers work--not the products and services on which they work--is bigger than anything I can remember, including the Internet.
  • Social media (blogs, Wikis, etc.) are also shaping how PMs work, though the exact contours of these changes are pretty indistinct at this point. Some companies, such as Chordiant, are willing to take big gambles on the power of social media, doing things like exposing their roadmaps to an unprecedented degree, in the name of building stronger relationships with their customers.

  • Everyone's all a-twitter about Twitter, the channel of social media that got more attention than anything else. However, Twitter received this disproportionate attention because of its novelty, and all the questions about its proper use that it raises. We'd be wrong to conclude that it's overshadowing other social media in its actual use for product management and product marketing.
  • PMs need to talk to one another. That's nothing new, but the scope and quality of conversations at P-Camp showed the real need for PM professionals to compare notes. When a relatively novice product manager asked me for advice about career development, part of my answer was, "Read the blogs, and ask questions in the comments sections. For the time being, it's the easiest way to learn from your peers."
  • There's a lot of room for innovation in this profession. Since the PM profession is still evolving, individual PMs have a lot of opportunity to find creative solutions. For example, serious gaming presents an alternative to traditional requirements collection. (For an example of serious gaming in action, see Enthiosys' "Buy A Feature" site.)

Finally, thanks to everyone who attended my talk on Agile's effect on tech company structure and operations. I'll be sending them to the conference organizers for posting. There was a lot of ground to cover in a short presentation, so if I sounded a bit like Frasier Crane  on speed, my apologies.

[Cross-posted at The Heretech.]


re: Outstanding P-Camp this weekend

"Agile is having a huge impact on product managers"Hmm, sure seems like there is something wrong here. I'm willing to admit that agile is impacting how products are developed, but is it right to say that they are having a big impact on PM activities? Being a product manger is SO much more than product development that if it IS having a big impact, something's wrong.I can fully agree that agile would have a big impact on program managers. However, the job of a product manger should be much different than the job of a program manager. Is it possible that we're calling program manager product mangers? Or is it that product mangers are doing program manager tasks?- Dr. Jim Andersonwww.TheAccidentalPM.comThe Accidental Product Manager Blog"Home Of The Billion Dollar Product Manager"

re: Outstanding P-Camp this weekend

@Tom - Great summary! The ProductCamp in Boston was really good, and this one sounds like even more ground was covered. I hope we see more of these events. Also: I hadn't seen the Enthiosys game, which is very cool (and, of course, right up my alley...).@Jim - I know people aren't going to like this, but "Agile" in the PM world, to me in a lot of ways, is like Twitter among the digerati. People are REALLY excited about it, because there's some value there, and they're getting really excited and--and--and-!!!We're forgetting:Agile is a development methodology, created in reaction to wasted cycles stemming from poor management.Product managers should be focused on assessing the market, creating the strategy, and providing enough context so dev can make proper engineering decisions based on solid data.- Chrishttp://twitter.com/chriscummings01

re: Outstanding P-Camp this weekend

I'm glad to see the volume being turned up on the value that Agile can bring to the Product Manager. I do have some concerns though for the focus on (social media)tools mediating the important conversations. As for Chris' comments re "Product managers should be focused on assessing the market...so dev can make proper engineering decisions" I get the sense that you've yet to experience a really good Agile project.Sam Bayerhttp://blog.b2b2dot0.com aka "TheAgileStartup"