2018 Tracks and Sessions

These are the sessions that were held on July 14, 2018

Evolution of the Role of Product Management – Eric Boduch

Wind at Your Back: Making your Market Category Work for You – April Dunford

Empathy and Customer Understanding – Steve Willson

What Product People Need to Know About Churn and Retention: Lessons from 3,000 Buyer Interviews – Alan Armstrong

Product Discovery in a B2B company – methods and processes – Mehrad Karamlou

Recruiting Product Managers – Michelle Diaz

The One Metric that Counts in Product Management – Swapna Malekar

Creating the ultimate dashboard to manage your products and your team(s). – Saeed Khan

Hidden requirements and how to find them -Roman Temchenko

Creativity Techniques for Innovators -David Boyle

Hey Product Manager! Take Control of Your Time – Sogol Fathian

PowerPoint Karaoke – Jennifer & Barry Doctor


Evolution of the Role of Product Management – Eric Boduch

Hear about how industry trends like the rapid adoption of Cloud and SaaS, the ongoing emphasis on Design and UX, and the increasing importance of product data and analytics have impacted the skills, roles, and toolsets of Product Managers.

Learn about the key findings from a recent survey of 300 product leaders conducted by Pendo and Product Collective. You’ll learn about PM career paths and progression, their spheres of responsibility, decision making authorities, alignment with other functions, reporting lines, and outlook for the future of the role. Some of the findings are bound to surprise you, others will probably confirm what you suspected but didn’t know for sure.

And get actionable ideas and techniques, you can implement today to strengthen your product teams and create engaging products customers love.


Wind at Your Back: Making your Market Category Work for You – April Dunford

Vicious competition, saturated media, overwhelmed customers – have you ever felt that winning in your market is like swimming against a very strong current? It doesn’t have to be this way. In this talk I will teach you how to turn market headwinds into a tailwind that will blow the doors off your marketing efforts. This talk will show you how to set your offering in a context that takes advantage of market momentum and helps you avoid unfavourable market drag.


Empathy and Customer Understanding – Steve Willson

Many products fail because we develop them by believing that we ARE the customer. We’d like to talk about, and hear examples of, ways in which you have been able to observe actual customer behavior, capture that information, and bring that knowledge to the table when discussing product development.

Notes (Thanks to Mitun B.)
Different ways of figuring out what customers need include:

  • Data detective –
    • Adj – get an understanding of the present
    • Disadj – cannot get insights of the future
  • Journalist –
    • Adj – finding out what they want in the future, developing empathy with the customers.
    • Disadj – Clients may not know what they want or that something existed that would be beneficial for them.
  • Anthropology – observing operations instead of being told what is being done.
    • Adj – the understanding could be used to create buzz in the team to understand why they are doing the project implementation in a certain way.
    • Disadj – misinterpret, restricted access, present data, not future
  • Impersonator – Act like a customer for usage of product.
    • Adj – Easy, cheap
    • Disadj – biased usage may not be representative of clients’ usage.
  • Co-creator – Engage with customers who work with you.
    • Adj – can get different view points before final roll out.
    • Disadj – If sample size is not selected properly, can get biased set
  • Scientist – Running experiments. Running something and observing how customers react.

    What Product People Need to Know About Churn and Retention: Lessons from 3,000 Buyer Interviews – Alan Armstrong

Product people tend to gravitate toward the initial sale and product usability. While important, these aspects of the customer journey do not paint the whole picture. Based on insights from thousands of buyer interviews, Alan Armstrong, Eigenworks CEO, has developed a diagnostic tool to help you pinpoint opportunities and pitfalls along the entire customer journey, starting before the sale and continuing throughout the customer lifecycle. With this tool in hand, you can identify how to attract the customers who have the best chance of retention and growth, diagnose why your customers are leaving, and see where they’re most vulnerable. This model also helps you uncover what you’re doing to delight your customers and keep them aligned with you on a successful customer journey.

Alan Armstrong has a passion for helping B2B product companies overcome internal bias and get to the heart of what their buyers need and will pay for. After 15 years building, marketing, and selling products, Alan founded Eigenworks in 2008, where he has studied thousands of buyer decisions over the past 10 years. Alan is now sharing his learnings from these adventures as a regular speaker at B2B events across Canada and the United States.

https://www.slideshare.net/secret/ghc8xLkKz77Opp

Product Discovery in a B2B company – methods and processes – Mehrad Karamlou

Product discovery is one of most important responsibilities of a product manger. Although the trend is changing, but many product managers spent little time on discovery and more time on delivery.

In this session we can talk about processes and methodologies we use to perform product discovery in a B2B company.


Recruiting Product Managers – Michelle Diaz

The aim here is to engage the audience so they can provide their input on various topics surrounding experience, background, interview experiences etc.

For hiring managers and non-hiring managers.


The One Metric that Counts in Product Management – Swapna Malekar

How do you measure yourself as a Product Manager? How do you know your success as a Product Manager?

Would love to explore how different Product Managers think about this role in their own context – Is the success of the product or the team the ultimate metric to measure yourself against or is it instating a collaborative culture in your team or is it your execution skills the ultimate measure of success?

Swapna is a Senior Manager, Product @ RBC | #ArtificialIntelligence #Blockchain | Previously Head of Product @Klood, Product Manager @Scholastic, Product Owner @Accenture


Creating the ultimate dashboard to manage your products and your team(s). – Saeed Khan

Or “Putting the Management back into Product Management”

When considering the term Product Management, it appears that most companies focus more on “Product” and not very much on “Management”.

The quote “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”  comes to mind. What are we measuring as part of Product Management? What are the key metrics that should be tracked to drive teams forward, optimize processes and create product success.

Most teams in a company (e.g. sales, marketing, engineering), have clear and often standard metrics on progress and success that are directly attributable to the efforts of those teams.

But the same cannot be said for Product orgs.

  • What common or standard metrics or measures are used to assess that products are moving in the right direction and are achieving their goals.
  • What standard metrics are used to measure how well Product Managers are doing in their jobs.
  • Why is there no standard CPO dashboard that is shared across departments or within upper management in a company to communicate the state of the product(s).

This panel discussion  digs deeper into the area of metrics, measures and management to help Product Leaders define and use a standard dashboard  ito better manage product, process and people within a company.

Notes (Thanks to Mitun B)
Presently product managers use metrics from sales and marketing, finance to measure their performance. Two kinds of dashboards were suggested – one internal to the team to monitor performance of a profile of products and the other that upper management need to see. Dashboard development could be a product development.
Some key elements suggested for dashboard for product managers:

  • Having relevant descriptive, predictive and prescriptive data specific to products.
  • What we are doing, who are we targeting, who do we to update and what are they interested in, who are we accountable for, who holds what responsibilities
  • What are the key questions that need to be answered


Hidden requirements and how to find them -Roman Temchenko

Projects are developed according to a set of requirements. Often there are many explicit requirements. And usually those represent only a tip of the iceberg. There are also hidden requirements: implicit and/or unknown requirements. And some of hidden requirements are important. Not recognizing important requirements in time leads to not good consequences. I will talk about common categories of hidden requirements that are often missed only to be discovered a bit too late.

Roman leads a team of software developers during the day, and helps businesses with software development outsourcing at his agency Reliable Dev  ( https://www.reliabledev.org/) at night. He is passionate about making software development better. Which is why he is interested in product management a lot.

Notes (Thanks to Mitun B.)
Several categories of requirements were explained and discussed – specifically hidden requirements, unhappy paths, edge cases, unaccounted interactions, target audience specifics. Most of the above requirements could be done by Business Analysts. However, the next set of requirements – meta requirements – were more specific to Product Managers as they require a more system level view analysis. Meta requirements include

  • How the product should be implemented
  • Future extensibility
  • Ability to change development team – for eg. The project could be outsourced, would the project still work
  • Use of specific tools – understanding what tools would be used in association with tool that is under developed
  • Use of specific methods – understanding the process flow/ methods that would be associated with the tool developed.

Rule of thumb – Earlier any potential problematic requirements are detected, the lower the correcting costs would be.

Creativity Techniques for Innovators -David Boyle

You can decide what you are going to think next, but you can’t decide what or when you will invent something new. Inspired thoughts are different and pop into our heads like they came from somewhere else. So how do we not just think but live in such a way that we can have more epiphanies that are truly unique and useful?

Graham Wallas wrote The Art Of Thought in 1932 and gave us CMI, the concentrate – meditate – illuminate technique. Since then many great thinkers like Dirac, Heisenberg, Tarski, Bohr, Einstein, Goedel, Feynman, Gould, Von Neumann, Watson and Crick, Altshuller, and more have given us advanced problem solving techniques. Inventors really do think differently. This is a lively and interactive lecture about how great minds think clearly and how to avoid greed driven hypesters who muddy the waters with con games.

Dave Boyle learned electronics at an early age, then software, wood working, sculpture and ideas. He has worked in Science Centers, Film and TV and Hi Tech Startups.


Hey Product Manager! Take Control of Your Time – Sogol Fathian

As product managers we get pulled into multiple directions throughout the day and before you know it, the day has gone by while you have done nothing but hopping from meeting to meeting, answering random questions and pings on email and slack.

Want to share what I have learned to manage time more effectively.


PowerPoint Karaoke – Jennifer & Barry Doctor

Powerpoint Karaoke (also called powerpoint roulette or battledecks) is an improv game where a person presents a slideshow to an audience without knowing the contents of the slides.

As a product professional, presentation skills are an essential need, so come learn and laugh!

Jennifer & Barry Doctor have successfully facilitated this participatory session at multiple Product Camps. You never know what slide will come next!

Are you willing to play the game?