Product What? Product People!
Product What? Product People!by Cem Aksoy
Product People is a special conference for product owners, product managers and business analysts. It aims to foster information exchange on topics relating to product and service development. We wanted to know more about it, so we participated in the event in Cologne.
When we heard the event’s title for the first time, we had a lot of questions: Product People. “Product what?” we wondered. What are product people? But at second glance, it quickly became clear and all made sense. Initiated by Oliver Boeff, who became famous in the agile scene as Boeffi, the conference set itself the task of bringing product owners, product managers, business analysts and other stakeholders together to exchange ideas. Designed as an open space event, everyone was free to contribute a topic related to agile project management in order to discuss, gather input and opinions, advance their own work, and learn from each other. Exciting! And a great initiative, we found.
Our focus: Managing remote scrum teams
We could have chosen from countless topics, so we picked an up-to-date one and decided to do our part – and maybe take home some valuable feedback. Our goal was to initiate a debate at the conference about how to successfully manage remote scrum teams. Background: At CM4all, various development teams work on joint projects but often from different locations – such as Cologne and Erfurt – and also involve other stakeholders, such as our subsidiary web4business in Berlin. The overall coordination of these activities and working on specific projects across locations pose challenges we deal with on a daily basis.
Opportunities for active discussion promote constructive processes
At the conference, we had the opportunity to consult with other developers, some of whom have similar situations to master – and that was amazingly constructive. This was because the event was not a pure networking event in which all topics are touched on only briefly while having coffee and cake after three keynotes. Instead, the participants’ topics were presented to small groups and actively discussed. For example, there were experimental groups in which participants were enabled to work on specific questions, short presentations, workshops, role-plays and summaries. Thanks to the open space time slots of 45 minutes, not a single topic was missed.
And what was the outcome for us? We definitely had good discussions about the fact that working on cross-site projects without a Scrum Master is simply not possible. We also had a lively debate about the tools that improve collaboration in such a case. And we left with the positive experience that there are great benefits from exchanging information with other companies. With this in mind, we highly recommend the Product People Conference. We are looking forward to participating in next year's event.