Wrap-up: Product Camp Melbourne 2014 (part 1)

So much happened during Product Camp, we’re pulling together a few updates.  This is part 1 of the overall summary and we have a post on the Product Manager Tools session. There’s also part 2 and part 3 and the keynote on Scaling Product Management by Ben Ross.

In what’s becoming a Product Camp Melbourne tradition, we ran a ‘speed networking’ session. You have less than a minute to meet the person across from you & introduce yourself. It’s a high energy way to start, meet a bunch of people and Liz keeps us all in line! As one attendee said:

you got to talk to someone who a) was working in the PM space; b) looking to get into it; c) generally interested in the PM ecosystem or; d) all of the above.

Being an un-conference, all topics are participant created. We had topics suggested prior to the day (as posted on Uservoice) and topics from folks who volunteered right there on the spot. Each person who suggested a talk had the chance to give a brief overview to the attendees & the voting began.

All that was required was a little forethought, stickers, pen and paper. Great real life demonstration of “product-market fit” in action. – Roz

What did we talk about on the day?  We’re working on short summaries of each of the talks.  Here’s batch #1:

How to take your Product Management Career to the Next Level

Product Managers have always been thought of as the CEO’s of their product, but in recent years Product Managers have been stepping up to CEO roles in major companies as boards recognise the importance of having coherent and amazing product strategies. How can you take your career to the next level? What is that level?  Our panel included:

A few tidbits…

Learning the language of business is important. You want to care about what the CEO cares about.

Start with the people. How does your product make money? What does it cost? Adrienne mentionned using a Value Driver Tree to help understand your product.  If you don’t know the answer to some of these questions, Paul suggested finding the right people in your organisation who can help you understand the full situation.

It’s easy to get stuck in the daily tactical to-do list but you need to carve out time for other things.  Adrienne highly recommended connecting with other product managers as one of the professional development items you need.

As this is an un-conference, the attendees were participating in the conversation.  Amanda Ralph said you should know how your product is doing via a set a metrics you look at every day (& these should link back to the bigger picture).

Don’t wait to for someone to say you can go do ‘x’, just go. Learn all you can.

You should map where you want to go with your career.  It doesn’t need to be a 5 year  plan but look forward.  It’s important to write down where you want to go and think out the steps required to get you there so you can start taking action – do you need a class to learn more about finance? Do you need a mentor or sponsor within your current business or externally? Putting it on paper (tablet) helps to make it more concrete.

Web Product Strategy for New Ideas – Fox Woods

Based on her experience at a hackathon, Fox Woods talked about how to plan and test new ideas. Using a systematic approach, she ran though 7 steps you can use to help decide if your idea is something to move ahead with and what to watch out for if you do.

If you’d like to know more, you read Fox’s article about her SheHacks experience and working through the team’s ideas.

Innovation Types Overview & SCAMPER ideation – Mark Sokacic

Mark gave us bird’s eye view of 4 classification models related to innovation types:

  • Moore’s 16 Innovation types
  • Sahway’s 12 Dimensions
  • Doblin’s 10 Types
  • Business Model Innovation Method

Then Mark covered Michalko’s SCAMPER as a framework to think about product innovation.

What's scamper?

What’s scamper? (image credit: Roz)

We all SCAMPER-ed and workshopped the idea of an aged care mobile app with Mark acting as facilitator and whiteboard scribe. We ended up reinventing a wearable reminder tool for the elderly into a smart house /green solution for a much broader market.


Minimum Delightful Product – Ben Rowe

We’ve all accepted that creating an MVP is the smart way to build digital products. The problem with MVPs, though, is there’s a danger in rushing to market with something that’s viable, but misses the ‘delight’ factor.

Ben’s talk explained the topic of delight, and spoke about the two different levels of delight that can be added to your product.

First there’s ‘Surface Delight’. This is the highly visible, visceral elements that create a great first impression. A beautiful user interface, playful transitions and interactions, and pithy microcopy are examples of surface delight.

But the problem with this type of delight is that it fades over time, so we must also consider the next level – Deep Delight. Deep delight is about creating a long-lasting delightful experience. Ben spoke about concepts like invisibility and flow to create sustained delight. And that deep delight is created by being aligned with your user’s values, and helping them to be awesome.

Asking the question, “What’s the smallest thing we can build that will delight our customer?” can help us finding the balance between launching quickly to validate a hypothesis, versus launching something that your users fall in love with.

Food Blogger’s Corner

It hadn’t occured to me to have a special section on the food but after a chat with Roz during breakfast, it sounded perfect! Product Camp organisers would like to thank Xero for sponsoring breakfast and a serious thanks to MYOB for sponsoring the 92 Degree Espresso coffee cart and barista to make sure we were all caffienated!

Here’s Roz’s taken on our breakfast situation:

Breakfast sponsored by Xero
Fruit cups
Pikelets with chicken, mayonnaise and saffron threads
Selection of museli and yoghurt
Selection of pastries (mmm… cherry danishes. Atkins diet, be damned!)
Pikelets with chicken, mayonnaise and saffron threads
Fruit Cups
Coffee Cart sponsored by MYOB
Getting caffeinated with 92 Degrees Espresso & MYOB

Thanks to our the people who contributed their notes from the day & made this post & the forthcoming posts possible including: Roslyn Lau (copy & food pix & comments), Janet Horwell, Jon Hardy (who took the  majority of the wonderful pix!) & our speakers!