On February 6th and 7th, product people from all around came together to connect, share and learn at MTP Engage Manchester. Kicking off with five awesome workshops covering everything from metrics and roadmaps to confidence and public speaking, things got into full swing on Friday when we converged on Manchester Central.
We got 21 brilliant speakers up on stage to talk about everything from conflict to stakeholder management, OKRs to personal development, inspiring and engaging attendees across three stages.
What makes MTP Engage special is the mix of speakers; a blend of local product pros, those from across the globe and local speakers from ProductTank. This mix worked well in 2019, and it delivered again in 2020!
Before we introduced our first keynote speaker, we did a mini retro on 2019, explaining what we’d heard our audience felt had worked and what hadn’t. We joked about feedback on the rain (hey, it’s Manchester) and the venue oddly slicing the stems from bananas (legitimate feedback from 2019), and addressed some of the other nitty-gritty feedback like the rooms being too small and hot, all of which we’d improved for this 2020.
The Difficult Second Album Effect
The truth is, 2020 could have been the difficult second album for MTP Engage Manchester. The 2019 conference got us off to a flying start and we knew people would arrive this year with heightened expectations.
Inspired by Jared Spools talk on the kano model, we looked at what we considered hygiene factors (when they’re right they’re not noticed, when they’re wrong it creates an awful experience, like running hot water in a hotel), and made sure these things were at least as good as last year. We also looked at what we considered to be delighters – the speakers! – and worked as hard as we could to bring new and interesting ideas to the stage.
Launching New Voices
One way we tried to do that was through our new speakers programme. Six months before the conference we asked if anyone that had never given a talk before and wanted to make their debut at MTP Engage.
On finding some willing individuals – Stewart Livingstone, Sally Brogan and Tobi Otokiti, we then worked closely with them in the lead-up, providing coaching and workshops. All three got on stage for the first time at the conference and it’s safe to say they smashed it. It was great to hear new, fresh voices and opinions.
Feeling a Connection
We asked the audience to connect, share and learn throughout the day, and people really embraced this – we ran speed networking that was consistently full, and the general feedback from everyone was that the atmosphere was one of the most friendly and open they’d witnessed (that’s what happens when you get a bunch of eager-to-learn product people in a room!).
I would like to extend a huge, genuinely heartfelt, thank you to all the Mind the Product team, the speakers, crew, volunteers, sponsors, production and venue staff. We couldn’t have done it without these incredible people!
And, of course, thank you to you, our audience, for joining us, for getting involved and for creating such an incredibly welcoming community vibe to the event.
You can check out attendee and speaker reactions to the event, attendee write-ups (please send yours in if you’d like us to share it – email these to firstname.lastname@example.org) and find more information on the 2020 conference page. Plus, a talk video and write-up will be published, each Friday, starting this afternoon. Stay tuned!