Product Camp Toronto 2011 – Vignettes

Product Camp Toronto was above all a great networking opportunity since there were lot’s of breaks between sessions for conversation. The day started with people sitting at tables chatting – and boy was there a buzz!

In this post I am going to give a quick pass at the four sessions I was at:

  • Keynote on what is a product manager
  • How to treat Customers like a Market and Markets like a Customer
  • Open forum on Crowd Sourcing
  • Market Research with Innovation Games

 What is a Product Manager?

The short answer is: someone who makes choices on product every day. John Stetic used the graphs below to show the breadth of skill required for product management and walked through some of the archetypal product managers and where they shine.

How to treat Customers like a Market and Markets like a Customer

Nick Van Weerdenburg had an engaging and insightful session. For me, the most engaging concept is to conceptualize a market as a person. Really ask yourself – what are they like? Personality? What do they think of you? Do they know your product? Good stuff. Read more below.

Open Forum on Crowd-Sourcing

I offered to facilitate this session (since I am getting pretty good at facilitation) and there was no one else around. As it turned out, we had a great mix of curiousity, skepticism and practical knowledge.

At the end there seemed to be consensus that:

Crowd Sourcing is a valuable activity that makes the Product Manager’s life easier, results in a better product and all this with minimal additional workload.

Below is a summary of the Crowd-Sourcing Flow:

Market Research with Innovation Games

Like crowd-sourcing, Innovation Games®are a powerful way of connecting with customers. The main difference is that Innovation Games® are focussed on real-time collaborative games as a means of engaging customers and stakeholders to reveal what really matters to them and to get breakthrough ideas.

I ran the session to give people an idea about using in-person and online games support envisioning, identifying hidden needs, and prioritization. We also briefly played Buy A Feature game online – and there were more than a few people hooked on it.

Slides are below:

Also, for reference, here is the handout summarizing the games:


I had a great day a Product Camp and would definitely recommend it.

Michael K Sahota guides and teaches leaders how to create high-performance organizations. He is the creator of a proven system for leading change through a practical playbook. His model for Consciously Approaching Agile guides the creation of a cultural and leadership context where Agile creates lasting organizational results. Michael has taught over 1000 leaders worldwide through his highly acclaimed “Agile” Culture & Leadership Training. His company, Agilitrix, delivers “Agile Transformation- Redefined” with an elite team of consultants who specialize in unlocking Culture.

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