ProdCampers’ of Nashville did an amazing job with sponsorships, so registration is FREE (Yes, I said FREE.). Click here to learn more about the event that’s happening on September 28 at Belmont University’s Inman Center.
Fellow product manager, Alicia Dixon (you can find her amazing insights on Twitter via @specialLi1972) and I were chatting about events. As I’ve said before, there are so many dedicated peers coming together to tackle the unstructured craft that is product management through collective learning. I am sad that I will be unable to attend some of the amazing events abroad, but when Alicia asked me where I was planning on going, I started searching for an answer.
Enter ProdCamp Nashville.
ProdCamp is awesome. I have never been to an event before, but I’ve had the opportunity to interface with so many attendees, as well as some of the organizers from other cities. Each time I’ve asked someone for their feedback on the events, I get a gushing retelling of a first-timer’s attendance that resulting in anxious countdowns and promises to never miss an event.
Why You Should Go — Whatever And Wherever The Event
Product management can be a tough gig. You get to see every bit and parcel of a business — gaining a unique visibility into all the good, bad, and really ugly inner workings of how teams function and deliver. Even if you love what you do, you can still get tired. Events like these give you the opportunity to find new ways of thinking, doing and get a necessary battery recharge. That fight you’ve been battling to push something forward all of a sudden becomes worth it again, when you were about to give up.
It’s easy to hold a level of expectation to what you see within the four unique walls of your organization. But when you go outside or read how other teams are working, that expectation level can break down and become superficial. If my team of seven is producing X and we struggle with Y — how is this team of two producing XX and not struggling with Y? I think it’s always nice to seek out ways of improving efficiency and ways to collaborate, because collaboration can often make or break the quality of the final output.
You Hold The Keys To Your Professional Growth
I’m lucky to have been included in the interview process of product management candidates. A question I always ask is about how the candidate keeps up with product management as it evolves. One response to that question was:
“I really just learn on the job. I don’t have time to read anything and my company doesn’t pay for events, so I’m limited.”
You can have 20, 30, 40 — even 100 million years of product management experience, but if you aren’t showing me that you have initiative to look outside yourself and your organization for professional expansion, I am often left indifferent. I want to work with folks that really love product management. Those that are going to do what it takes to make the department, the products and the overall organization the very best it can be. Heck, I want that person to make me better.
What separates a good product manager from a great one is those that eat, drink and breathe it versus taking a 9-to-5 approach. I have a lot of respect for those that are challenging the ways of doing, making sure to bring new concepts and new tools to better the organization. That takes commitment. That is just as much a personal investment as it is an investment by your organization.
It’s revolutionary how much information and the people we have access to today through technology. Think about it, if you wanted to learn something you could take a class or read a book. Today, you can collaborate in real-time with peers you’ve never met; hear about organizations and ways of doing that you would have never considered; ask questions and have conversations with author’s of books you admire — for free.
There are tons of thought leaders in the space, posting great nuggets of actionable insights daily. Events can be more difficult and an obvious money-drain without organizational support, but an event like this one, if you’re in the vicinity, is a fantastic opportunity with reduced fees. Also that intangible return — through increasing your network of peers to bounce ideas off of, share insights and challenges with well beyond the event — can’t be forgotten. And if you can’t attend, which I often can’t, just following an event’s hash tag can give you instant access to loads of great content from those who are there in the flesh.
I’ll Be There
If you’re planning on attending, I’d love to catch up with you and connect. Feel free to add a comment to this thread, email me, or reach out via any of the usual social media platforms. Make sure to follow @PCampNashville for event updates.