Why Product Camps Are Important

I had the pleasure of attending Product Camp Atlanta. With over 300 hundred registered, there was a “buzz” in the air and the organizing committee and volunteers did a fantastic job. The sessions provided product management and marketing professionals with a boost of insight, knowledge and we had a good time learning from each other. 

Recently, through a survey, I asked Product Management’s opinion about where we should go. 

One question I asked was, “Where do you go to expand your product management knowledge?” Offering multiple choices, almost 75% of respondents said “product management associations, including product camps.” It’s interesting to note that 94% value the 100 product management and product marketing bloggers and those who contribute via Twitter, LinkedIn groups, etc. (click on the image below) 

I wasn’t surprised at the response and recognize after attending product camps several times, there are several reason while I’ll continue to attend, support and contribute.

  •  Product camps are a place to relax and engage – Let’s face it. If you show up for something on a weekend day, it better be engaging and provide an atmosphere that complements your role. The “unconference” style venue provides this and all the events I’ve attended, have consistent themes and relevant topics.

  • A Sandbox Where Eveyone Plays – Whether you’ve been in product management or product marketing for two weeks or ten years, each of us has something to offer. The active learning environment of product camps provide avenues for open comments, questions, debates and exchanges of experiences without any pretences.
  • Great way to build team knowledge – Imagine finding a place where your team can gather, have some fun, relax from the office grind and engage in topics relevant to the team.

What do you gain from spending several hours on a weekend day with hundreds of product management peers? 

While sitting in a session conducted by Karen Williams, Eric Holtzclaw and Tumara Jackson on Doing Personas Right, Tumara commented, “personas should play an integral role in roadmap planning.” This wasn’t a new concept to me, but one I hadn’t thought about. It was presented with real experience and she conveyed its value in 5 minutes. 

As you consider participating, volunteering, sponsoring, speaking or bringing your support and knowledge forward, I’d welcome you to join the majority and attend a Product Camp soon. There are several great links to keep you informed of upcoming events. 

Check out: 

Stewart Rogers Blog – the Strategic Product Manager 

Pragmatic Marketing

 

 

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Comments

  • Josh Duncan  On August 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Jim,

    Can’t say enough good things about ProductCamp. I have attended four camps in Austin and have presented at three of them and have taken away so much from the events. As you point out above, they are a great way to build knowledge and I can’t think of a better way to network with your peers.

    As a bonus, recruiters are starting to pay attention to these events. We had at least twelve companies hiring at the last event. How cool is that!

    Thanks for the post,

    Josh

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