Product Camp 2013 update

We’re excited to announce both of our keynotes for Product Camp Melbourne!

Guy Inbar has over 15 years experience in product development & management. He’s currently Head of Mail Product Management & Innovation within Australia Post’s Letters business.

Guy will share his experience about innovating and managing Australia Post’s letter business.

For our second keynote, Marc Galbraith will talk about ‘Jobs to be Done‘.  Marc is a Lead Consultant ThoughtWorks.  Marc has been practicing Agile Software development for over the last 10 years. As a coach he has noticed that now we are finally getting good at software, but designing software for great purpose seems to be a gamble. Marc also dips his toe in product management and wants to ask the question if we can make things really well, how can I make use of the talent in the most effective way to delight customers.

What is ‘Jobs to be Done’? Marc puts it:

What if I asked you this question: “What job did you hire that product to do?”  Or as Clay Christensen once put it: “Gosh I wonder what job people hire a Milkshake to do for them?”

It’s a strange one which lead me on to a trip to New York. I sat in on a unique workshop and had my mind blown away as I pondered: “What is someone going to stop doing when they start using your product?”

I want to know how to design business models, products and services in smarter way. When you use a product or service it’s solving a problem, how do you describe that problem?

“Jobs to be Done” gives you a way of describing these problems products and services solve. It also helps give fresh perspective on innovation opportunities and see market disruptions just in time.

I would like to share what I’ve learnt and applied so far in this field hope to provoke some of you into investigate this for yourself.

Don’t miss out on these two!    You can sign up for Product Camp by clicking the big orange Eventbrite button below. Join over 80 Melbourne product managers who have already RSVP’d.

Eventbrite - Product Camp Melbourne

Product Camp topics are suggested & lead by those attending on the day. Other than the keynotes, you suggest, lead & vote on what you want to hear. There’s currently 6 topics suggested on our Uservoice site. Go there & vote or suggest a topic you’d like to hear more about or a session you’d like to lead.


We’ll be updating the agenda & sending out email reminders via Eventbrite with directions before the event.


  • Follow Product Anonymous and Brainmates on Twitter as we’ll both be keeping you up to date. If you’re more of a Linkedin person, we’re there too (Brainmates & Product Anonymous).
  • Follow the Product Camp Melbourne twitter & #pcampmelb hashtag
  • Tell your friends & co-workers about Product Camp.  We have a poster you can hang in the office, download it.
  • If you’d like to volunteer to help out with Camp or your company is interested in sponsorship, get in touch via the comments here. The comments are moderated so they won’t go live to the site.


Product Camp is here! 20th July 2013

Eventbrite - Product Camp Melbourne

Suggest a topic you’d like to hear more about or a session you’d like to run with Uservoice.


Hi all,

Mark Saturday, July 20th in your calendars now! Yes, Product Camp Melbourne returns & it’s the place to be for anyone interested in product management & marketing.

What should you do now?

  • Have you put July 20th in your calendar yet?
  • Follow Product Anonymous and Brainmates on Twitter as we’ll both be keeping you up to date. If you’re more of a Linkedin person, we’re there too (Brainmates & Product Anonymous).
  • Suggest a topic you’d like to hear more about or a session you’d like to run.  Do it here on Uservoice.
  • Tell your friends & co-workers about Product Camp.
  • If you’d like to volunteer to help out with Camp or your company is interested in sponsorship, get in touch via the comments here.   The comments are moderated so they won’t go live to the site.

More information to come.

Melbourne #prodmgmt – Last Product Anonymous of the year

If Product Camp just got you started on the idea of talking about product & meeting fellow product managers,  make sure you come out to the last Product Anonymous of the year on Thursday 22nd of November.

Prod-Anon is also looking for people interested in talking or leading discussions at next year’s monthly meetings.   Contact them at @product_anon or info@ the product domain name.

2012 ProductCamp Melbourne Wrap-Up

What a buzz this year’s ProductCamp Melbourne was! Following the group welcome from sponsors PageUp People, Product Anonymous & Brainmates, we cranked up everyone’s early Saturday morning brain cells with a speed networking exercise. The raucous of Melbourne’s product community connecting one on one, on mass, was deafening.

KeyNote #1 – Jason Cormier, the Partnerships Development Manager at Sensis API (SAPI)

The networking energy jolt primed us for the ‘Mashup’ session during  the keynote ‘Inspiration, Re-Invention, Hackathons & Mashups’ by Jason Cormier, the Partnerships Development Manager at Sensis API (SAPI).

Drawing on his experiences working with innovation teams at Lonely Planet and Sensis, Jason gave us an overview of how Mashups have evolved and exploded with the rise of digital tools like APIs, open platforms, and hackathons. He is a self-confessed ‘enthusiastic lazy’ person who is constantly looking for ways to optimise things that exist already and do the bare minimum amount of work to innovate.

We had the chance to practice a Mashup, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Each Mashup team was allocated a number of cards listing a product and we were to ‘mashup’ that product with another product. We leveraged the power of creative collaboration by cooking up new ideas that were unexpected surprises in a very short amount of time.

Bryce Dunn, Senior VP of Global Product Management at PageUp People

Bryce kept up the theme of clever Mashups when he shared his tips on how to love your sales channels. He kept us engaged by illustrating his points with his extraordinary depth of knowledge of the history of cars, using graphic examples of how cars have been managed, some more successfully than others.

Bryce brought to life the importance of understanding the sales channels for our products, keeping everything simple and easy for sales, as well as maintaining your excitement for your product when talking to your sales channel. Checkout the whacky cars that have been launched by the biggest automotive manufacturers and learn how to maximise your channels in Bryce’s slides.

Jen Leibhart, Co-Founder of Product Anonymous and PageUp People Product Manager & Adrienne Tan, Chief Brainmate

Jen and Adrienne led a collaborative session about the day in the life of a product manager. The data collected will be ultimately drawn up in an infographic that we can all show people at a BBQ when we try to describe what we do for living. We ran out of time during this session so Jen asks that you take a few minutes to answer the 6 remaining questions in her survey.

KeyNote #2 – Sarah Colley, Psychologist from Pockets of Brilliance

Sarah led an engaging session about innovative culture.  Taking her learnings as a consulting psychologist guiding high risk companies on how to make safer decisions, Sarah took us down a fascinating journey to explore the pillars of creating an innovative culture:

  • Environment
  • People
  • Process

Through a number of creativity exercises, she quickly honed in on the point that we can actually be creative problem solvers and develop this skill further through practice. Neuroplasticity enables us to develop this important skill. Find out how to bring an innovative culture to your organisation by reading Sarah’s slides.

Chris Dahl,  Co-Founder and Desktop of Nitro

Chris, fresh from launching his baby ‘Nitrodocs‘ into the market last week, followed his curiosity to find out how other product managers had used virality to generate takeup in new products. Whilst it was a topic of great interest to everyone, it appeared to be one of the few areas that the crowd had little personal hands-on experience in.

The discussion may well spark up one of the many bright and enterprising product managers in the room to explore the ‘how?’ further, and maybe even potentially develop a product idea to enable product managers to create and track virality. Any takers?

Leni Mayo, entrepreneur from Learnable

Leni has a stellar track record of working on new product ideas including Australian startup success story, 99Designs. He shared his insights from his rich experience by leading a session about testing ideas.

He posed the questions to the group of what is MVP, how much effort should be exerted in testing, when to persist and when to chop? There was much discussion around the metrics for success, for product managers to make value based decisions.  We agreed that we need to define success by defining the metrics upfront. He recommended the AARRR metrics, as described in by Dave McClure in Startup Metrics for Pirates.

Thanks to all the session leaders and sponsors including MiGoals for the lovely notebooks that many attendees wrote copious notes in and will treasure for years to come. A round of applause also goes to participants for coming along to contribute and making it such a great day for all.

To get a sense of the vibrancy that the ProductCamp participants generated on the day, check out the photos that Robert Nagy, Product Manager and Photographer took. They are open for viewing on Brainmates Facebook page.

November is jam packed with product management community events. We hope to see you there:

As most of these activities happen infrequently, we encourage Melbourne folk take the opportunity to join Product Anonymous‘ monthly gatherings to discuss product management topics & meet others in the industry or related fields (like UX). If you’re responsible for a product – be it your own at your start-up or for one that’s been around for years at a large company, share experiences & knowledge at their meetings. Until then, join them on their Linkedin Group.

Kind Regards,

Product Camp Organisers


The second keynote announcement – “Do what you do best and partner for the rest”

Coming up first time slot this Saturday…

Inspiration, Re-Invention, Hackathons & Mashups

“Do what you do best, and partner for the rest.”

Jason Cormier from @SensisAPI will be discussing how combining your things with other people’s things can fast track innovation, increase productivity and deliver elegant solutions for your customers. Drawing on his experiences working with innovation teams at Lonely Planet and Sensis, Jason will discuss how the ‘mashup’ mentality has evolved and exploded with the rise of digital tools like APIs, open platforms, and hackathons.

This will be an interactive session – a key theme of the weekend.  Getting involved is more fun and rewarding than just sitting back and listening.

As a speaker Jason Cormier will be very informative to listen to as an experienced content syndication strategist and a strong advocate for open data and services. As a Partnerships Development Manager for the Sensis API, Jason is responsible for product strategy, marketing, and partner acquisition for one of Australia’s most prominent syndication platforms.

Keynote announcement – Product Management with the Brain in Mind

Coming up this Saturday…

Product Management With the Brain in Mind:Grow your Creativity

Sarah Colley will share her insights into how product managers can refine the art of creativity within their jobs. She will explain the relevant principals of neuroscience,  how our brains can rewire themselves through a process called neuroplasticity, and share her framework for high performance product teams from a psychologist’s point of view.  We will dive deep into one of the 6 major tenants of successful product managers – creativity.  This session will be an interactive session with a number of hands on activities to illustrate how product managers can retrain their own brains to be as creative as possible during the relevant stages of the product delivery cycle, as well as in our personal lives.

Sarah is a consulting psychologist and has dedicated 12 years to the formal study of psychology and the human mind. She was awarded her undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Queensland.  She has worked as a researcher, analyst, undergraduate and postgraduate lecturer, consultant and developer of training and assessment tools, delivering practical psychological solutions to teams and businesses around the world.

Sarah was a consulting psychologist for a small international consulting company, responsible for developing and instructing cognitive-behavioural-based processes for clients across Australia, New Zealand, U.S. Canada, Ireland and Norway. She has worked with CEO’s and executives through to employee work teams.



Product Camp Melbourne – Oct 20th

We hope to see everyone out at Product Camp this upcoming Saturday (the 20th).  If you haven’t been before – or even if you have – you may be wondering a few things like:

What is product camp?
It’s a day of product managers & others interested in #prodmgmt getting together to share knowledge. It’s a great way to meet people & learn a thing or two.

Check out this post on Product Anonymous re: why you should attend.

What gets talked about at Product Camp?
This is pretty much up to you – the participants. There’s a keynote in the morning but otherwise the sessions are participant driven.

You can submit a topic you’d like to talk about on the pcamp uservoice page.   Check out the Speakers page for more information. You can always read our wrap up from la2011 or 2010’s camp to get some ideas.  You can also submit ideas early on Saturday morning in person.

If you’re not interested in talking, you should still check the uservoice page & vote on the topics you’d like to hear.

What are the details of the day?
We’ve added a schedule to give you an idea of the events of the day.

Kick off starts at 9am but we’ll start voting, registrations & chatting at 8:30am.

The day will wrap up about 4pm and there will be drinks at a nearby pub for anyone who wants to continue the conversation.  Camp is being held in Melbourne CBD at the PageUp People offices (William btwn Collins & Lt Collins).

Make sure you RSVP (it’s free but it’s good for us to know numbers for catering)! Register now!

Product Camp Melbourne Roundup 2011

2011 Product Camp Melbourne was a terrific success with product managers from a range of different industries sharing their wisdom and the lovely Liz Blink  MC-ing the event. In order to preserve some of the learnings, we have provided a short summary of the day.

Keynote Nigel Dalton from Lonely Planet

Nigel gave an inspiring talk, sharing his experiences  during his 25 year career in product management. From the Product Management of microwaves, to the day to day challenges and changes encountered at Lonely Planet, Nigel frankly shared his personal experiences, “warts and all”. He also took us through Lonely Planet’s journey  from troubled times to the successful implementation of Agile as a business mainstay,  not only in Lonely Planet’s software development arena, but also across  several departments, including HR and marketing. You can catch Nigel’s newest adventure as leader of new business Lunatractor ” We could have spent the rest of the day listening to Nigel’s yarns, but he closed off  by sharing his passion for increasing literacy, and encouraged us all to read at least one hour a week.  This kicked off a theme for the rest of the day, and everyone contributed to a reading list for product managers.


Marketing Your Technical Product/ Service …to my mother” – Charlie Crouch ( from Boston University

Charlie gave us invaluable insight on how to market a technical service/product. He reminded us to keep in mind who our customer is, what they want to hear and to remember to communicate with them  in their terms. For example, most customers may not care too much about the technical features of the product, and in most cases will not understand the technical descriptions. The customer is interested in what problems the product/ service solves for him or her and what benefits can be derived by using the product/service.

Panel discussion “Turning Ideas into Business Cases” withChris Billing from iSelectJason Gregory from Hitwise and Dale Dixon from MYOB

Nick Coster led this diverse panel to contemplate and discuss their own approaches on how to transform ideas into business cases (how to utilize an effective form of business case model to suit their purposes). Here are some key highlights of this discussion:

Chris Billing, Group Product Manager of iSelect encouraged the audience to bypass the Business Case and instead, create prototypes of the product/service to gain customer feedback quickly.

Dale Dixon, Product Strategy Manager from MYOB agreed it’s important to circle back to the Business Case once the product/service is launched to ensure the assumptions in the Business Case were correct.

Jason Gregory, VP of Product Management at Experian Hitwise, prefers to invest time and energy into customer visits and interviews across the region to gauge interest in his product/service. Unless a significant amount of investment is required to develop the product/service, preparing Business Cases for Jason is less important than spending time with customers.

Applying innovation principals to product strategy” – Ranji Mathivanar from Cochlear

Ranji Mathivanar spoke about a tool called Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI) as a way to capture key user requirements that drive Product Strategy and Product Development.

ODI encourages Product Managers to create user narratives as a way to understand the context in which products are used. A narrative will describe the user’s day and how he or she might perform certain tasks during the day. Tasks are subsequently ranked by the level of  importance and satisfaction (of  how the tasks is completed by the product/service). Opportunities exist for companies to develop products/service to help users complete tasks of importance but have a low satisfaction level.

“Do I own this  product or do I manage it?” – Susan Teschner from MYOB

Susan Teschner asked the very important question, “ Do I own the product or do I manage it?” from the perspective of a Product Owner in Agile and who within an organization should fulfill this very important role. Depending on the size of the business, various roles within the organistion fulfilled the role of Product Owner and  in some cases the Product Manager is the Product Owner. The downside of  this scenario is the Product Manager must be always available to answer questions, which limits the amount of time spent on product strategy. Another scenario saw the Business Analyst as the Product Owner.  The main takeout of this discussion was that no matter what kind of organisation or what type of methodology is used communication and setting boundaries prior to the development stage is key to success.

“The Parallel Universes of UX & Product Management” –Adrienne Tan from brainmates

Brainmates Adrienne Tan took us through the sometimes hazy world of the Product Manager and UX Designer roles and their similarities in key defining points and unique principles in action. Job descriptions for Product Manager and UX Designer appear to be identical. Are they essentially the same role with different titles? Do they complement each other? An outcome of this discussion was although both roles focuses on  the customer, Product Management encompasses a financial aspect of managing products and services not required by UX. Further, UX is only involved during product development and does not have to manage the lifecycle of the product/service. Ultimately, Product Management and UX have to work closely together from initial idea through development.

“Does Agile prevent Rounded Topics from being created?” – Mark Mansour from Agile Bench

You can take advantage of Mark’s presentation slide deck here

“How to Harness the Power of Negativity” – Jen Leibhart from PlayUp

In this fun interactive session Jen introduced the participants to the Speedboat innovation game. The participants evaluated the new Google+ from a user’s perspective. The speedboat game  is a constructive way for product managers to collect user complaints from a group and present the information in a dynamic and visual way.   It facilitates discussion amongst the group to quantify in relative terms how much each complaint actually weighs down the product experience.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for ProductCamp Melbourne! It was a great reminder that we are lucky to be part of such a passionate Australian Product Management community!