ProductCamp Atlantic 2014

A day of learning, laughs, and great people! The first ever ProductCamp Atlantic, held at the Innovacorp Enterprise Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia with the goal of fostering a vibrant community around the product management discipline.

So it seems it was a great plan for me to create a few key placeholders to float my idea of ProductCamp Halifax, based on my years helping out with the ProductCamp Vancouver. Unbeknownst to me another group of people was working on ProductCamp Atlantic, and when they came across PC Halifax they got in touch with me. So I joined John Whyte (Nautel), and Megann and Stever Willson (
Panoptika) to put on the 25th Oct event.

With a critical mass of sponsors (
Nautel, Pragmatic Marketing, Innovacorp, Reqqs, and Starting Lean Initiaive) ) in place we were able to include free refreshments and event t-shirts for all the participants. The week running up to the event was the usual rushing about to get things done, but by the morning of 25th Oct we were set! Oh yes, to Anita in the deli department and the bakery department at Atlantic Superstore in Upper Tantallon for getting all the food trays ready on time at short notice - THANK YOU!! Helping out on site was Jennifer Robichaud of Innovacorp and her husband Paul. Jennifer made sure everything ran smoothly, welcomed participants, and lots more - wow!

Registration and voting ran smoothly. We gave the day a bit of structure by having keynotes after breakfast and after lunch, plus the wrap-up comments and prize giving at the end of the day. The rest was filled with participant proposed sessions. So following a welcome and thanks to our sponsors, we were treated to
Steve Johnson’s keynote, which was both hilarious and informative. By the time his keynote wrapped up the session schedule was posted and people mapped out their day. We had a couple of popular session topics proposed by people who couldn’t make it, but others stepped up and everything went ahead regardless. Lunch was great, followed by Bruce McCarthy’s keynote on “The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks” - lots fun with a bunch of helpful examples of right sizing your roadmap.


I participated in “Analytics-driven Product Decisions”, “Agile development - Help or Hype”, and “Roadmpping 301”, and ran my own session “Who is Filling the Product Manager Role… Really?”. I also wandered around a bit to snap a few photos (which I posted to

My session was based on my repeated experience of talking to people who where unaware that they were filling the product manager role. Recognizing this fact delivers a light bulb moment that they probably need to pick up some skills in that area (or consider handing them off to someone who has them). This is especially common with smaller companies, where the product manager is often one of the founders who has defined the products since day one. The conversation at ProductCamp was energetic, and a sketch I did seemed to really drive home the point that one way or another product management is happening and it’s good to acknowledge it. Opening one’s eyes to this means you can move to assess how well it’s being done and address as necessary. It’s a common false economy to spread product management tasks across several people such as CEO/dev/marketing/sales

The general vibe of the event was excellent, with everyone chatting easily, ideas being hatched, networking sparks going off all the time - awesome! It was great to have very experienced people there, and having Steve and Bruce joining in all the sessions was a treat. I came away with the feeling that the product management and marketing disciplines in the Atlantic provinces benefitted hugely from the event, and look forward to other community-building events and, of course, ProductCamp Atlantic 2015!
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