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Camps, Parties, and Potlucks… Oh My! (Who Knew Professional Development Could Be So Fun?!?)

Back in late March, a colleague introduced me to the hip and wondrous world of the ProductCamp conference — a collaborative place where Product Management and Marketing folks get together to eat, drink, and be merry, after our long-suffering days of dealing with product requirements, launches, and roadmaps.

There are several ProductCamp Organizations across the US, but I attended ProductCamp Austin. It was so refreshing to attend this user-organized, “un-conference,” where if you show up in a suit or make a product pitch, you’ll be asked to leave. Love it!

Even though I’d never attended ProductCamp before, I decided to jump in with both feet and volunteer to facilitate a conversation around a recent benchmark survey of Product Development professionals. I put two of the key survey questions up for discussion to my fellow Campers:

  1. What are your primary pain points and issues when managing your product portfolio?
  2. What are your greatest risks when managing your product portfolio?

(If you’re interested you can view the full survey results by downloading the 2009 Benchmark Study: Product Portfolio Management.)

The engaging and interactive discussion around these questions, and more importantly, the solutions to these problems, was simply awesome! Many of us walked away from the session with a pocketful of new ideas we could implement as soon as we were back in the office and some healthy reminders of solid best practices. And while it was a little intimidating to have Tom Grant of Forrester Research participating in the session discussion (he is THE man when it comes to Technology Product Management and Marketing), I will definitely be throwing my hat in the ring again to present at a future ProductCamp. The experience was invigorating!

The nuggets I picked up from the session I facilitated and the 6+ sessions I attended were well worth a Saturday of my time. And from the lively discussions that occurred at the happy hour after ProductCamp (mmm, cocktails!), most everyone walked away equally juiced. (Take that however you like! ) I’ll see you at the next ProductCamp Austin on August 7, 2010.

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Carrie Nauyalis
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Carrie Nauyalis brings her passion, experience, and thought leadership in the product portfolio management industry to her current role as Executive in Residence at Planview. As an EIR, Carrie is collaborating on market research and sharing best practices with Planview prospects and customers. She is an active speaker, MBA guest lecturer, blogger, and vlogger on all things PPM, with warm places in her heart for State-Gate®, innovation, calculating ROI, and agile. Carrie spent 19 years with Planview in various positions, including global consulting, product management, and as the solution evangelist for innovation and new product development. Prior to Planview, Carrie held multiple systems engineering positions with Emerson Process. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Truman State. Twitter: @PDPMprincess