No one grows up wanting to be a Product Manager. Most of us fall into the role. While you may or may not have a "product manager" at your company --- one thing is for certain, your product is being managed --- the question is by whom? The primary role of a product manager is to be the messenger of the market.
Why ProductCamp Montreal?
We all know Montreal is increasingly becoming recognized for its vibrant start-up scene, highly skilled, creative and multicultural workforce, top research universities and attractive tax incentives. However, despite what amounts to a great environment for prosperity, we (collectively) haven not realized enough success. In short, we are great at building things, sometimes really cool and interesting things; but, we are not particularly skilled at commercializing them.
This notion, coupled with the fact that the product management industry, and especially in technology, is in its infancy (demonstrated by the lack of experienced professionals and a standard body of knowledge), compelled us to introduce ProductCamp Montreal and create a product management community whereby experienced product enthusiasts and the curious alike, could share best practices, experience and network.
Highlights and Agenda
Whether you work for a small company or multinational, in manufacturing, web or mobile, all great product managers have a few things in common --- they are passionate about people, problems and building solutions. Moreover, while the products and technology may be different, overwhelmingly the challenges remain the same. In fact, this was evidenced by the 100+ people that gave up an entire Sunday to attend "workshops" and presentations compromised of two tracks, Product Management and Product Marketing.
Alistair Croll kicked-off the event with an excellent keynote entitled, "Cloud, Analytics and Product Management". Alistair is someone that has been through it all and can teach most of us a few lessons. Eight sessions followed with topics that included launch best practices, the differences between product management in large corporations versus startups and customer development.
Organizers & Sponsors
As first time organizers, admittedly, there were times we felt we were in over our heads. However, with the help of a few web-based drills, generous sponsors (Pragmatic Marketing, Ryma Technologies and of couse, Quantum Whisper) and a devoted organizing committee team (Chris Frosztega, Gabriel Obadia, and Thomas Schmidt), the first ProductCamp was held on Nov 21st at Concordia University, courtesy of the SIFE chapter of the university.
It was equally a learning experience for organizers and participants as we now know more about the audience and their interests. It was great to meet like minded people and humbling to see the sheer number of talented people in Montreal. We followed-up ProductCamp with a survey and received several great ideas for the next ProductCamp. Thankfully, this type of feedback provides an excellent foundation for future events.