My personal experiences and highlights of #MTPEngage
I’d like to write down and share my thoughts about the 3rd edition of #MTPEngage in Hamburg.
The conference itself was split into three days of learning and inspiration:
- May 22nd Leadership day (by invitation only) + movie documentary
- May 23rd Workshop day + product blind dinners
- May 24th Conference day + afterparty
Highlights from the Conference Day
Weather was sunny, location with a great view.
Transform me, but please don’t change anything by Gabrielle Buffrem
Gabrielle Buffrem kicked of the first keynote about the willingness to change. The whole presentation can be downloaded here. She highlighted eight recommendations from the field and things you should focus on:
- Do the work! Buzzwords don’t solve real problems
- Build a culture of psychological safety
- Pick one problem, build your island
- Decouple exploration from execution
- Measure exploration based on learning and not to being right
- Ditch timelines
- Fund the problem, not the solution
- Find a shade of grey that works for you (waterfall <————> agile)
Taking resposibility by Sara Wood
Sara Wood did an amazing talk about “Taking Responsibility” in technology, being more sustainable, not on expense of humanity harming other people or environments. Very philosophical and deep talk overall with such a great attitude. This talk was so different as you would expect from a product conference as product and technology are centered around humanity and its consequences. Problem solving as
The Copenhagen Catalog by Marie Louise Gørvild
Very interesting and valuable talk as well was the one from Marie Louise Gørvild. She presented the outcome of the Copenhagen Catalog as a new approach of building a tech community for humans with new princilples and tools. Highly recommend the website https://www.copenhagencatalog.org/ and the Tech Festival https://techfestival.co/ if you are interested to broaden your view on principles and exchange with other people in tech.
Conflict is where the magic is! by Shaun Russel
Great talk, the title says all about it, how to get to you desired state over conflicts. Shaun shared his experiences with the audience.
Empowered by Marty Cagan
Marty Cagan did a talk about empowerment. I’ve written in former post about empowerment as well, as this is the most critical topic from my perspective of toxic systems and dysfunctional teams.
Why don’t more companies empower their teams?
In a word: TRUST.
The role of leadership
- Product Vision
- Product Strategy
- Product Principles
- Product Priorities
- Product Evangelism
The role of management
Most funny example dialogue Marty made was once he is in conversations with the CEOs or managers:
Cagan: So tell me, why you don’t empower your team(s)?
CEO/ Manager (voice is going down): You know, I don’t trust them. You saw them – you met them, right? (pause) How could you trust them, how should I trust them? So tell me, what should I do?
Cagan: What? Wait – really??? But you hired them! So what do you want me to do?
So he broke it down to staffing, which is number one priority for them.
“You’re just as strong as your weakest product manager.”
Same if management is weak with coaching. Coaching is one of the most important jobs of a manager:
Get people from experience to competence and then reach their potential.
Character and psychological safety is number one to take care of.
“No asshole rule”New Zealand All Blacks
Companies need more difference and diversity. What is even a cultural fit?
“Hire people who think like an owner, not like an employee. That’s key to a product manager.”
This breaks down to having bad objectives and drivers which end in the usual theater like we’re doing agile.
The true test of empowered teams – is your team really empowered?
- staffed with competent people and character, covering necessary range of skills
- team assigned problems to solve, they are able to decide the best way to solve those problems
- team is accountable for solving customer or business problem (outcome)
“People are allowed to do their thing.”
This talk was the most inspiring one of the day, because of my own experiences in the past.
Networking is the most interesting experience I made again. Somehow sad I didn’t have the courage to talk to some of the speakers, even there was a chance at the after party – more courage and better luck next time!
The day before the conference day started, I had the opportunity to participate the #ProductBlindDinner. It was a very special and intense experience, meeting strangers and exchange – even we had to pay for ourselves.