P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers

I went to a conference today at YahooNice campus.  It was P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers. I took alot away from it.  Some learnings:

  1. There is a huge chasm between what serious Agile practitioners proscribe and what most companies who say they are doing agile actually do.  One guy said, “You just have to find the companies that are doing it right.”  I laughed.  I just can’t suspend my skepticism that it just doesn’t exist beyond the 1% of companies.  I am very happy to be proven wrong, but so far, I haven’t met anyone on a personal level who was doing Agile the way they describe in the book.  Not even 50% of the book.  Sorry, I calls em likes I sees em.  Please don’t flame me.  Maybe I am just unlucky.
  2. There is a big chasm between big company product managers and startup product managers.  In one session the woman asked, “How many of you release more than twice a year?  I said, “Do you mean twice a month?”  She laughed and didn’t understand.  We push new code to customers every 2 weeks.  That doesn’t mean all projects are two weeks long.  You can work on something for several iterations, but the code is pushed every two weeks, so you need a private brand in source control for longer projects.  The group with 4-10 iterations per year emphasized documentation and product research.  The group with 10-26 iterations a year, obviously could not produce the kind of documentation required.  The first group looked at us like we were insane and not real product managers.
  3. I am not, nor do I want to permanently be a product manager in a mid-large size company.   I love UX Design, and I want to manage people and product managers.  But I don’t want product research and documentation to be my life.  At work, I am looking for a Product Manager to report to me. One guy said, “You are hiring your boss.”  I completely, utterly disagree.  I think a UX person, like myself could manage a product manager.  At the very least, it’s worth trying.  I will never know if I can do that if I don’t try.

It worries me a little.  What if a company can’t have a UX person manage a PM?  Will I forever be at that UX Architect individual level?  As always, I am eager to grow and evolve and learn.  Who knows what lies beyond the corner?  Life is not just around the corner.  Life is the corner.

Fun conference.  And Free!  Have to love that.

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