ProductCamp Austin – Summer 2009 – recap

I’m writing to share my recap of ProductCamp Austin.  As expected, the event was fantastic – over 300 product management and marketing professionals sharing their knowledge and tips.  I met some great folks, and wish I could’ve met more.  The only negative was the day wasn’t long enough!  But that leaves us wanting for next time, and leaves open a bunch of unfinished conversations.

My own cryptic notes from several sessions are published on Slideshare for whatever value they may provide you.  They include audience comments and are not in a narrative, but are rather cryptic and choppy.  They’re free; leave me alone.  Along with that, a few slide decks and better notes by others that I’ve found shared so far.  Note, more may be collected on the PCA website over time.

Meanwhile, I must simply reiterate that the ProductCamp experience is as much about the things you can learn as the people you meet.  If you are interested in product management, agile, product marketing or even user experience, make it a date next time ProductCamp rolls into your town.

Session notes etc
Personas to Production / Paul Sherman
Employee to Entrepreneur / Kevin Koym
Down and Dirty Marketing Ideas / Jonas Lamis (notes)
Buyer Personas Justify Bigger Online Marketing Budgets / Brian Massey
Podcasting Means Business / Fred Castaneda
Agile and PM / Growth Acceleration Partners
10 Ways to Predict an Impending Launch Disaster / Dave Daniels @ Pragmatic (best presenter)

Notes by ID University

Session notes etc

Personas to Production / Paul Sherman

Employee to Entrepreneur / Kevin Koym (mindmap)

Prove and Disprove your Ideas / Jonas Lamis (notes)

Buyer Personas Justify Bigger Online Marketing Budgets / Brian Massey

Podcasting Means Business / Fred Castaneda

Agile and PM / Growth Acceleration Partners

10 Ways to Predict an Impending Launch Disaster / Dave Daniels @ Pragmatic (best presenter)

Others’ notes

ID University

Session 1:

Jonas @ TechRanch

Prove and Disprove your ideas

Industrial revolution was an anomaly, bc of the cost of information. Companies will have 0-10 employees, rather than 1000s.

Getting paid;

  • what you do = advertising

    • keywords–>correct audience–>testing mesages–>browsers to buyers.

    • Landing page with 3 plans, and buy button – lead to a ‘not live yet’ page with signup and a reward for signing up.

    • “nothing happens til somebody sells something.”

  • what you know = thought leadership

    • Passion/Knowledge/Domain => sweet spot is all 3 shared area.

    • Perceived value by most readers: Least = your co’s products and services. Most = industry trends.

    • Find the best 5 blogs in your subject area, and ask to write a guest post.

    • Google rankings: video is 1st, audio 2nd, blogs, then website.

  • who you are

Colleen & SmartWoman

Thought Leadership for Consultancy

Vicki: I increased my business by doubling my price.

Colleen: offer classes to mid size orgs with staff of Pms;

team with marketing firms to bring in PM/mktg expertise.

Time tracking and estimation is key to running your own business.

Commoditization of templates: set of deiverables.

Smart: My biz Skyrocketed after $ back guarantee at end of project. Only 2% do this.

Many of my customers I’ve never met in person.

I do gap analysis repeatedly. Commoditize that; FAQ=product. 1-2 months or less –> this is a proposal for a bigger project.

I frequently fire clients if i learn they are nuts, when the gap analysis is completed.

Polite but insistent with slow payers. Pay dates @ milestones. Smart does 50% up front.

Be able to identify your ideal co. In 1-3 sentences.

How important is your experience? Put yourself in ideal client’s shoes. If they need a specific subject area, it’s more important.

    • Bag the Elephant = book about bagging large companies as clients.

    • Results with companies and clients = your “experience,” where it’s NOT your time in an industry. Testimonials also help.

      Smart: Position yourself so you don’t NEED to know the industry. Process > domain knowledge.

    • Roger: Domain knowledge is important for strategy-interested clients.

    • Positioning: Product expert of type (SaaS) in an area (Medical) or Process (prod mgt know-how).

    • Strategy–>higher in the org., CEOish.

    • First: Interview prospective cust, lay out the probs.

      • Roger: They don’t do it, and do NOT hire us to do it.

      • They want right side of pragmatic grid (tactics) not left: they believe they already have good strategy.

    • Idea: sell a win/loss to sales manager, then develop a strategic proposal.

Smart: I have increased my biz in this economy. Relationships are my #1 job.

Rate Examples:

      1. $150-225 hr

      2. monthly

      3. Colleen: Doubled my hourly rate as an employee, added a bit more, and calculated for a job. $10k engagement, cust said “fine.” I should have asked for more.

Agile PM and Requirements

Roger on Pragmatic: Practical Product Management, + req’s that work, by Barbara or Steve only. Did not help me monetize my business, but helped me greatly to be a better product manager.

Typically, 1 yr to 18 months to successfully adopt agile.

Agile requires more intensity and more mature company.

Balance between documentation and conversation.

Challenge if marketing, customer talk, sales and training are also demanding time.

Rigorous prioritization; If you don’t prioritize, the dev team will do so, and will not use yours. Riskiest or biggest payoff should come first.

Daily accountability achieved by The daily scrum, where you hear each person say what they did.

UI may be scaffolding

QA gets shafted frequently.

“Wagile” = agile sprints + a testing cycle afterwards. This often leads up to real agile, as an intermediate step.

Roger: most do functional decomposition. You lose site of the user benefit.

Make progressively more demanding exit criteria, using versioned user stories.

Quality must be built in from day 1, not at the end.

Sell a company on reducing config time on large scale implementation, without knowing look and feel; that allows input on the implementation of solution itself. Sell the “realtime feedback” of agile.

When and how for UI? As soon as possible. Change to UI usually means big underlying changes.

Roger: frame metrics without interactoin. Ace criteria = x seconds to achieve x. Also design persona to show why this is important.

Roger on PO: Product owner = product manager + architect + UI/UX.

Growth Accel Partners.


see above

Your status + value goe up with knowledge about the market, NOT the product.

Who does CEO go to about market data? VP of Sales, because they are known to have people in the market. Fallacy is that these people just know recent deals, NOT what’s actually happening in the market.

Knowing the buyer and knowing how they buy makes you a rock star.

Don’t promise the future and kill today’s sale, or you lose the trust of Sales. Make sure those you speak with are not in the pipeline, so you don’t sabotage a sale and they may not tell you everything. Open ended problem discovery vs. Validation of ______.

Colleen – Time Management

with Tom Evans from Lucrum Marketing

Paul Y: How to avoid things that provide less value or don’t move the revenue needle?

Sometimes, be an asshole and push back on meetings.

Identify schedule in 4 categories, color coded

green = add value

blue = other work

yellow = rest/exercise

pink = errands

“The Time Breakthrough.” The Strategic Coach, by Dan Sullivan.

Buffer day = prep for focus/free days. Use this as delegate/calls/etc.

Focus day = midnight to midnight, 80% or more must be focused target value add.

Free day = required for rejuvenation; must do No work.

Focus day on Friday because no-one pays attention.

Zero inbox.

Minimize context switching.

Tom Evans:

MS Framework team/model/role clusters (c) 2004.

Program management + UI + Testing are all non-PM funcitons that product managers get stuck with.

Blackblot strategic PM

Become a market expert.

Mrd= prob space

mkt opp = biz case

plan + guide market docs (mkt plan, positioning)

goal: market req doc, not even product req doc.

Maxims on last slide

disconnect on off days

multitasking is a myth

block productive time

deleted/delegated = completed

manage your time in Project

gannt to show how adding a task pushes others back.

Daniel Pink: Whole new Mind (creativity)

Babuta: Zen to Done (Simplified GTD)

Covey; spend time in Important/Not urgent Quadrant

closing suggestions

  • some 2 hour sessions to get us more depth on some topics

  • response back from volunteering requests

  • know highest rated sessions from last year

  • vote online the night before

  • hashtags for each room / effective use of Twitter during the day

  • printed schedule

  • mroe roundtables

  • some 30 minute sessions to give us access to more topics

  • small group discussions over lunch

  • More time between sessions for networking

  • longer day, 9-5, to get in more sessions

  • Timekeeper in each room

  • Informal follow-up in 2 weeks

  • repeat selected events from sessions that overlap

  • take time to introduce newbies to folks

  • post schedule changes online

  • post meetings for partnering; link up and share interests

  • tracks; beginner and advanced (from Tweetcamp)

  • Badges for volunteers

  • stickers for volunteers/rookies/etc

  • Label sessions novice/intermediate/advanced

  • feedback online sessions and overall

  • bios of speakers before sessions

Best session = John / PM & PM?

Best speaker = Dave Daniels

Olga re info interview

heard about your work, want to learn about your background. Let me buy you lunch.


~ by John Peltier on August 17, 2009.

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