2010 Tracks and Sessions

At the ProductCamp Toronto in Spring of 2010, the following tracks were run.

  1. Product Management 101 — this is aimed at people new to Product Management or those who want to learn more about the basics of the topic.
  2. Start me up! — this is aimed at people who are interested in or involved in startups. There is a thriving startup community in the Toronto area.
  3. Advanced Product Management — while open to anyone, this track is intended for experienced Product Managers and Marketers who want to go deep into topics with others in their field.


Time Prod. Mgmt 101 Start Me Up! Adv. Prod. Mgmt
10:45-11:30 am (Session 1) Introduction to Product Management – Calum Tsang Balance Innovation vs. Stability with Limited Resources – Chris Eben Role of Product marketing in the overall scheme of Product Management – Amrita Mathur
11:45-12:30 pm (Session 2) Product Pricing – Siobhan McLaughlin The Customer Is Never Right – Stephen Pollack Practical methods & tools to manage release roadmap and feature pipeline – Alan Armstrong
1:30-2:15 pm (Session 3) Requirements Simplified – Rod Hardman Button Soup – How to make something from nothing as a product manager at a startup – Al Huzienga Lean Communications – Align diverse teams and accelerate revenue for high tech products – Saeed Khan
2:30-3:15 pm (Session 4) How to Structure a Product Management Team – Andrew Schmied How to Pitch Your company to investors – Craig Hayashi Product Management Becomes Strategic…Are You Ready? – Tom Grant
3:30 – 4:15 pm (Session 5) A Little Bit of Strategy Can Save your life – Aldwin Neekon 5 Minute Talks – Various Presenters Product Design – Richard McCann

Session Details

Introduction to Product Management – Calum Tsang
An introductory session about what Product Management is and isn’t, what it’s goals and objectives are and how to introduce it companies that don’t have it formally or don’t understand it

How to balance innovation vs. stability with limited resources – Chris Eben
Many PMs have to balance supporting an existing customer base with infrastructure, platform and general enhancements while innovating to increase sales and market share. You can never do it all with the limited resources you have. A facilitated discussion on this topic would be useful

The role of Product Marketing in the overall scheme of Product Management – Amrita Mathur
The product marketing role is very valued in the overall product management framework. Typically, the product marketing person serves as one of several sources of input to product requirements owned by the product manager; while the product manager will be one of the several sources of input to marketing messages owned by the product marketing person. Would like to discuss this symbiotic relationship further, pros and cons, what functions lie where etc.

Product Pricing – Siobhan McLaughlin
This session will introduce the topic of pricing, discuss different types of pricing models and give advice on how to go about determining product pricing.

The Customer is Never Right – Stephen Pollack
We’ll review how some PM teams get too caught up in being led by the customer versus their own innovation — this can be detrimental to early stage markets whereas thought leader teams tend to do better.

Practical methods & tools to manage release roadmap & timeline – Alan Armstrong
A session or discussion about advice & best practices in managing pipeline / requests of feature, and how they fit into the release pipeline. It would be great to discuss any differences between a standard product vs one that allows custom development for each client with a generic base system.

Requirements Simplified – Rod Hardman
Creating effective Product Requirements documents takes a lot of effort, often undermining whether they actually get done. Much of what is written is rarely implemented and the details are not always static as they change when the team learns what it really wants. This session would sort through what is really needed in a Requirements document focusing on what actually gets done.

Button Soup – How to make something from nothing as a product manager at a startup – Al Huzienga
PM’s at a startup can have a hard time reconciling theory with reality when they arrive day one – there often isn’t very much to work with. This session could focus on how a startup PM identifies the resources at hand, then grows them into an idea, an innovation, an opportunity, and finally a business. Real life war stories definitely required.

Lean Communication – Align diverse teams and accelerate revenue for high-tech products – Saeed Khan
A major part of product innovation and success rests on efficient and effective communication across teams in a company. In startups, this happens almost naturally. In medium and large companies, process needs to be put in place. Lean Communication is a model based on Lean principles that can be used to align teams and accelerate time to revenue for high tech products. As key members of the overall communication network, Product Managers and Product Marketers will benefit significantly by adopting this model.

How to structure a product management team – Andrew Schmied
Discussions on ways to create and grow product management teams. There are few standards on how to structure teams of product managers and product marketers. The aim is to get attendees to discuss what they’ve seen in their experience that worked and didn’t work and why.

How to pitch your company to investors – Craig Hayashi
Practical advice on how to best pitch your product/company to investors for the purpose of seeking investment.

Product Management becomes strategic…Are you ready? – Tom Grant
In response to big industry trends, tech companies need their employees to play an increasingly strategic role. But how do you know what it means to be a “strategic PM”? What should you be doing, or not doing? And what skills, experiences, or tools are required?

A little bit of strategy can save your life – Aldwin Neekon
Product managers sacrifice their personal lives for their product’s success. But we’d sacrifice less and succeed more if we could get away from the to-do list long enough to devise a decent market strategy. I’d like to have a conversation about how to do this, how to get your company’s support, and how to prove that the strategy is working.

5 Minute Talks – Various Presenters
Based on the very popular Ignite series of talks, — where the motto is “Enlighten Us, but Make it Quick! — speakers will have 5 minutes to present and share their passion on a topic of interest. The speakers are:

  • Aldis Levalds – Multi-Criteria Decision making
  • Alicia Ann Jarvis — Accessibility
  • Marcus Daniels — Startup Product Management – 3 ways to be a rockstar
  • Ari Glaizel — Transitioning from Engineering to Product Management
  • Alan Armstrong — Gaining Credibility and Authority
  • Martin Harris — Topic TBD
  • Saeed Khan — Product Management Axioms

Product Design – Richard McCann
Lets compare the design process in different industries and companies. Who leads the design? Who infludences the design? How does the product get shaped? How to get buy in? How to ensure we design the right product.

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