Product Management Education Conference, San Jose 2009

Hosted by the Association of International Product Marketing and Product Management, the annual Product Management Education Conference brings together product professionals worldwide to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in Product Marketing and Product Management.

The conference had two main tracks: Methods and Insights. The Methods track was focused on Agile Product Management while the Insights track was focused on Anthropology and Product Management. Both tracks had great seminars by leading Product Management professionals based in the United States.

Methods: Agile Product Management

There was a fantastic full-day session about Agile Product Management by the 280 Group. The highlights of the course included:

  1. a clear, concise definition of Agile and why it’s good for Product Management
  2. understanding Agile terminology like scrum master, product owner, sprint back-log, iterations, and daily stand-ins
  3. release planning and management under the Agile methodoology
  4. how to write good user stories with I.N.V.E.S.T.
  5. the difference between a few of the main Agile models: Scrum, XP, Lean
  6. and last, but key, how to start the Agile process

The comprehensive session provided a stronger grip on Agile and the role of the Product Manager in an Agile team.

Insights: Anthropology & Product Management

The Anthropology track was also informative and interesting. Product 180 gave a talk on Customer Linguistics and the importance of audio and the use of words to engage customers during the sales process. It drove home the importance of being able to identify with your customers in more ways than understanding their demographics, lifestyle and behaviour; understanding your customers language can make the difference in the sale.

Two West led an exercise to share how ethnography can assist in ideation and product design development. They shared how their research methods of observing, interviewing and interacting with customers in specific contexts can help discover new market needs and problems. Ethnography offers a different perspective to customer research and a holistic understanding of customers under specific scenarios, taking into account the environment, time and season, culture, systems, practices and beliefs.

The brief summary here doesn’t do the conference justice. There were about 30 excellent seminars in total and numerous Product Marketers and Product Managers to meet and be inspired by. The Conference was worthwhile and something we look forward to in the next year.