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Speaker Lineup

Here is the final list of sessions for the 2019 Spring conference.
Focus on your Customers

Nancy MacCreery

Founder, Principal Consultant

Broad Reach Marketing Services, LLC

One of my favorite Pragmatic Marketing sayings is "The answers you seek are not in the building". So where do you get customer insights, especially if your organization doesn't have a marketing research department? My talk will help participants by illustrating why customer insights are important and 5 practical ways to obtain them.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Nancy brings a unique perspective to marketing -- blending the business focus of an MBA, the analytical side of an engineer and the creativity of a fiction writer. She’s successfully developed and implemented marketing strategy for both large and small organizations using her skills in communications, social media, and market research. She loves to solve problems, create practical, effective solutions, and help good ideas and organizations grow. Nancy is the founder and principal consultant at Broad Reach Marketing Services, LLC, helping good ideas and organizations grow.

Session format:

Presentation with break out session

Leveraging Data, Machine Learning and AI in your Product and Business

Rich Edwards

CEO

Mindspan Systems

Are you getting the most from the data that your product and supporting business processes generate? Everyone wants to be data-driven in their decisions, but how much insight into your customers and business are you leaving on the table? By looking at several real-world examples in this session, you'll learn how companies have leveraged machine learning and artificial intelligence within a data-driven agenda to make huge leaps in the capabilities and beat the competition.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Rich is the CEO of Mindspan Systems, which helps companies transform themselves with data-driven strategies and technologies. Previously Rich was Program Director, Product Management for the launch of IBM Watson Developer Cloud, helping developers and makers add advanced cognitive computing capabilities to their applications and services. His focus has been on assisting companies in developing their use cases and taking advantage of the latest capabilities in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Rich has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Session format:

Presentation

Maybe We Should Be Problem Managers

Steve Johnson

VP of Products

Pragmatic Marketing

In this session, we’ll examine many product activities and artifacts for product strategy, planning, and growth, and introduce a simple tool that you can use in your organization to clarify the roles of product management and others.

Product Management is one of the most exciting—and most misunderstood—functions in technical organizations. Is it strategic or tactical? Is it a planning role or a support role? Many product professionals are unclear about what is (and isn't) product management.

Participants will learn:
• A better metaphor for product manager
• Is the product manager a "mini-CEO"?
• A simple tool to profile product management activities

You'll be better at:
Explaining clearly to colleagues and leaders what is—and isn't—your role in product management.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Steve Johnson is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management. His approach is based on the belief that minimal process and simple templates result in nimble product marketing and management. Steve was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Marketing, a role he held for more than 15 years. In 2012 he left to start Under10 Consulting where he provided implementation assistance to product teams. Returning to Pragmatic Marketing as vice president of products, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success.

Session format:

Dealing With Difficult People

Thomas Miller

Human Behavior Consultant

Leaders Building Leaders

On average, two people have about a 40% chance of experiencing a good personality match based on how their personality styles naturally fit together. That means that, most of the time, two people are likely to have a built-in challenge in relating well with each other – UNLESS they understand each other’s personality styles. This session will provide a basic understanding of your personality style and the personality style of those around you that will help you lead and connect with others in a more effective manner. Each participant will learn to how to identify and capitalize on their strengths, reduce struggles based on their blind-spots and implement strategies for a more effective approach to organizational leadership.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Dr. Thomas Miller is the founder of Leaders Building Leaders, the difference maker in the leadership development of individuals and organizations throughout North Carolina. As a consultant, trainer and speaker, Tom has successfully turned around multiple organizations, saving them from imminent failure and guiding them to long-term success. A combination of overcoming addiction, successful experience in leadership roles and personal transformation through the mastery of John Maxwell’s Leadership principles allows Tom and the Leaders Building Leaders team to provide elite-level leadership development instruction to those seeking to navigate a course from success to significance.

Session format:

Interactive Presentation

Product Manager Group Therapy

Dean Peters

Principal Product Manager

Citrix

Working in product is hard, but it doesn’t have to drive you crazy. That’s where product management group therapy comes in. In this session, we’ll get to know each other while humorously identifying some of our more common pain points. We’ll then break into small groups engaging in fun trust building activities – different from any previous session you may have attended – followed with liberating structures guided discussions. In the end, you’ll not only feel the catharsis of addressing your needs as a person of product, but also you’ll see that you are not alone in what makes you anxious and that you have product friends and peers in your nearby community to help keep you focused on awesome value delivery.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Dean Peters is not a registered therapist, nor does he play one on TV. However, he has been involved in product management for nearly a decade and a half, augmenting his understanding via his prior experiences as both a software engineer and a professional opera singer. Dean currently works a principal product manager at Citrix working in the area of search, with prior experience in analytics, mobile, SaaS, biometrics, and GIS at Aprimo, McClatchy Interactive, Dude Solutions, Westat, and CDSI respectively. More about Dean can be found on his blog, DeanOnDelivery.com.

Session format:

Workshop & Discussion

Communication Tricks for Product Managers

Dan Moore

CEO, Product Lead

Vaporware

Build team cohesion, trust, and alignment with these simple insights around talking listening, communicating and connecting. Leave with a new trick or 2!

This session will help us avoid struggling with sand castles and empire builders, and walls in your organization.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

A Georgia Tech graduate, Dan is a trained computer scientist who meticulously crafts ideas into scalable products. One for over-communication and a compulsive attention to detail, he coordinates Vaporware’s relationships with clients and partners, leads all product management, and still contributes quite a bit of code and design. Besides work he enjoys road cycling, board games, spending time with his son and wife, and hacking the latest gadgets.

Session format:

Presentation

A Simple Product Investment Framework

Eric Zoetmulder

President

Six Five Consulting

One of the primary roles of the product manager is to research, present and recommend product investment options for the company. The best product teams drive the decision-making process and facilitate the environment that allows the leadership in the company to make often very difficult decisions. This educational session offers a simple framework that when adopted, can create a shared process and vocabulary across the company and streamline the creation of short and long term roadmaps.

Every software business needs a process to define the roadmap. As the business grows, we can no longer depend on the founders to make roadmap decisions and the product function needs to step in to lead. A defined vocabulary and process that drives product investments will streamline communications, clarify commitments and set clear goals for all in the company.

Partipants will learn how a typical roadmap is defined, how do you categorize product investments, what processes must be in place to make good decisions, how often do we need to make roadmap decisions, who is typically responsible for the different steps and decisions in the process, how does a process like this get derailed, how do I make a difference as a product manager, and more.

We will be better at:
Applying the framework to your own businesses and identify the areas of improvement for your team and company. It will spur healthy discussions around development cadence, capacity allocation, roles and responsibilities that will drive company-wide efficiency improvements.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Eric has built his career in high growth cloud software businesses leading product teams most recently at SciQuest and Dude Solutions. He has started his own consulting business SixFive Consulting with a mission to help software companies develop unique product strategies and build a strong product function. He helps founders, product leaders, and product managers simplify this complex area of their business by providing project-based consulting, as well as training and mentoring of critical product talent and teams.

Session format:

Design Thinking in Enterprise Software

Madhavi Sarabu

Director of User Experience

Dude Solutions

Enterprise applications are known for complex archaic workflows. It is time to apply Design Thinking to bring them on par with consumer grade user experience. Attendees will learn how to identify what makes a product design delightful and how ProductManagers play a key role in creating memorable experiences for our users.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

Madhavi has over 20 years of experience in the world of software products. She is passionate about all things design. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics Engineering. Her journey into the world of design started in college when she took Industrial Design classes for her minor. Her unique background in engineering and love for design helps her apply Design Thinking principles to both hardware and software. She worked in the RTP area in hardware/software companies and SaaS software companies. Enterprise software used to be the last in terms of usability. Madhavi focuses on the unique challenges of this space in SaaS as the Director of User Experience. She loves to help others who are interested in design and user experience. Reach out to her for information.

Session format:

Presentation

4 Steps to Develop a Strategy and a Company

Tim Darling

Founder

Laudio

I've made a few mistakes building companies and products over the past few years and wanted to share what worked and didn't.Participants will learn how to develop a strategy and some of how to build a product/company. I'll share the 4 steps for developing a strategy for a product/company that I've learned from being both a McKinsey consultant and a business builder, with examples from my experiences and experiences I've observed from colleagues.

How will this topic help us?

About the presenter

I've spent the last 15 years building new products and companies using a combination of data/analytics/AI and strategy.

Session format:

Talk with discussion & Q/A.