What I learned at P-Camp 2009

Last Saturday, I attended P-Camp 2009, a product management unconference, at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, California.  I missed last year’s, so I wanted to see what it was all about this year.  The event is free and paid for by sponsors.  So this was nice to try something out for free too.

In the morning, I attended two sessions.  The first one was “Market Sensing” by Jim Holland and Michael Hopkin from Ryma Tech.  Their company does product management consulting.  The session started off with everyone contributing one way of doing market sensing.  You can think of market sensing as activities involved in doing market analysis for your product.  After we were done, the speakers asked us to rate top 3 that we found useful.  I found the session to be OK.  I wish it would have gone into more depth, but then again we only had an hour to discuss.

Top market sensing methods

  1. customer visits
  2. read market reports
  3. market pain points
  4. watch for competitor actions

Recommendations for market sensing

  1. start company with personas – small 4-5 paragraphs, who are we focusing on and why?
  2. what don’t i know, what am i missing, what market are we focusing on, what matters the most
  3. collaborative environment, it’s a group effort, it’s a team effort, look inward before you look outward
  4. create a method/plan, one size does not fit all

The next session that I attended was “How to Recession Proof Your Product Management Career” by Greg Cohen, Principal Consultant, from 280 Group, another product management consulting firm.  This session was OK too.  A lot of the material seemed to be common sense.  I noticed that LinkedIn came up a few times too.

Become indispensable volunteer for extra work

  • critical projects/products
  • take things off boss’ plate
  • make it painful

Become difficult to let go – be super productivity and have a great attitude

Build a massive network

  • 50/100 lunches, go out to lunch with someone once to twice a week, someone who is your peer or someone slightly above you

Monitor the market

  • watch job listings
  • know your worth
  • be ready if necessary

Update & expand your resume

  • always have an updated resume
  • critique
  • brochure to get you in the door
  • stand out
    • volunteer
    • certifications
    • training

It takes about 90-120 days to find a job in today’s market

Use metrics – quantifiable results – to describe yourself

  • customer sat surveys
  • anything that you can show a delta with work that you’ve done
  • if can’t affect sales side, how about lowering cost side
  • examples: adoption, growth, managing it through development on time, the vision

After the morning sessions, I decided to leave.  There are rumors that the format of P-Camp may change next year, so I have not ruled out attending again.  You can’t beat the price of free and I always enjoy a good opportunity to network.

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

3 thoughts on “What I learned at P-Camp 2009

  1. The speaker said make it painful for your employer if you leave meaning they can’t operate w/o you. Hahahaha. Kind of gruesome.

  2. I don’t know how I missed this unconference (now being a product manager myself). Probably working to much. Thanks for the quick summary, and keep in touch.

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