On a bright, crisp Saturday morning in February, loads of you joined us for our best ProductCamp London yet to share, learn and network with other product people. We were especially pleased to have product management guru and ProductCamp co-founder Rich Mironov (@RichMironov) joining us from the West Coast.
What’s an “Un-conference”, Anyhoo?
There were so many new first-timers at February’s ProductCamp London, it was lucky that product bad-ass and event co-organiser Janna Bastow (@simplybastow) was on hand to introduce proceedings and explain how an “un-conference” worked.
If you’re still a ProductCamp virgin (which rock have you been hiding under?), an un-conference turns the traditional model on its head, as it’s completely free to attend, there are no keynotes or scheduled speakers, and everyone who attends helps out by getting involved or putting on a presentation. It’s a great complement to the Mind the Product conference in that it brings out new voices and stories from the community that would otherwise go unheard and undiscovered.
Well-fed, Caffeinated and Happy
“It felt like the best ProductCamp ever because all the pieces just fell into place. Just the right size, great speakers, awesome mix of new and old faces, great food, space, coffee, sponsors – a fantastic mix.” – Co-organiser Janna Bastow
While there was no official theme for the day, “well-fed, caffeinated and happy” was possibly an unofficial one thanks to the combined efforts of the sponsors, Twilio, ProdPad, and Mironov Consulting.
We were fortunate to have the use of Mozilla‘s plush London gaff, so there was no shortage of space and break-out areas. I’m also pretty sure everyone was deeply jealous of their well-equipped and bountiful kitchen.
And in case anyone was worried, a special mention goes to Brendan Quinn (@brendanquinn) for making sure the spare food was handed out to the homeless in the area.
As always for ProductCamp, the schedule for the day started completely empty, awaiting the attendees to volunteer their ideas for talks and discussion sessions. It soon became clear that people were most interested in discussing how to be data-driven and what the role of product manager really meant in real life.
With everyone enjoying their morning coffee and pastries, we opened up with the initial salvo of talks.
Agile, Accelerators and Analytics
Product manager, Agile trainer and Mind the Product regular Roman Pichler (@romanpichler) had a packed main room all nodding their heads in unison as they heard him talk about how to make product roadmaps work with Agile (slides). He also kindly donated a couple of copies of his book Agile Product Management with Scrum and seats on his forthcoming training course.
Meanwhile, Dreamstake co-founder Paul Dowling (@Paulmdowling) was asking whether startup accelerators were any good and JustEat product manager Matt Hobbs (@isUseful) was running a brainstorming session on the most effective key performance indicators (KPIs) to use for mobile apps.
Rich Mironov (@RichMironov) talked about how to get promoted to product director or VP of product (slides). It was a particular pleasure to have Rich over from the US – he started the first ProductCamp in Silicon Valley back in 2008. He also kindly donated copies of his book The Art of Product Management as prizes.
Other stand-out talks came from:
- Craig Sullivan (@OptimiseOrDie) on common mistakes made in A/B testing (slides), which went on to win the popular vote;
- Nic Newman (@nicnewman) on data-driven decision making, and;
- there was standing room only at Hope Thomas‘ (@h0peth0mas) discussion on what life’s like as a product manager in a startup.
We also had a bit of product manager speed-dating for those of you looking for a new job or recruit, and Pepe from VisualBonds was taking the official photos on the day. If you took the opportunity to have a professional headshot done, do get in touch with him.
That’s a Wrap for ProductCamp London
We thought ProductCamp London 2014 was our most enjoyable yet and we hope you felt the same. We’ll be running another one next year, so if you want to get involved, do let us know.
If you can’t wait that long for your product fix, don’t forget there’s always ProductTank London on the third Wednesday of each month, and of course, the Mind the Product conference in September.
See you there!