Session Topics

Registration is now open for the 9th annual ProductCamp St. Louis, which is being held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Webster University. Register (for free!) now!

ProductCamp St. Louis session

Unlike traditional conferences, anyone interested in leading a session at ProductCamp St. Louis can submit a topic. Then, everyone in attendance gets to vote on which sessions they would like to see, and the most popular choices get on the schedule.

This page will be updated soon with information on ProductCamp St. Louis 2020. In the meantime, the information below related to session

On this page:

Submitting a Session

We expect to have 30 sessions offered at ProductCamp St. Louis: six simultaneous sessions during five time slots. Each session is 45 minutes long.

Attendees will vote for the sessions they want on the morning of ProductCamp and the top sessions will be chosen.

Before you submit your session using this form, please read the following guidelines:

  • You are welcome to submit up to 5 sessions for ProductCamp.
  • Make sure all of your information is correct, and ensure that the session title and description accurately reflect the content. Once submitted, we will not allow any changes to any of the sessions. (With typically 60+ sessions submitted in total, it’s too much work for us to worry about tracking edits.)
  • You should be prepared to lead all sessions that you submit—even though you don’t know if yours will be picked.
  • Do NOT promote a specific product or service during your session —that’s not at all what ProductCamp is about, and attendees have reacted negatively to sessions that they felt like the presenter was giving a “pitch.” It’s okay to mention that you have a product/service, but the main focus should not be on your product/service, and attendees should get value out of the content without having to buy anything from you.
  • You must plan to be at ProductCamp by 8:20 AM that morning.  It is your responsibility to find the Presenter check-in table when you arrive and let the volunteers there know you are present. If you haven’t checked in, your session(s) will not be included on the agenda even if there were enough votes.
  • You are welcome to publicize your sessions in advance, but only those in attendance at ProductCamp are able to vote.
  • The deadline to submit session topics is Friday, February 28, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT. No additional sessions can be submitted after that time.

Okay, now with all of that out of the way — go ahead and submit your session using this form!

Suggested Topics

You are welcome to submit sessions on any topic that you choose. However, remember that the topics that get the most votes will get chosen, so we suggest you pick a topic that will appeal to the audience. (Helpful hint: Some people may read the title, not the description, when they’re deciding which sessions to vote on/attend, so we suggest an accurate and catchy title!)

You may want to see what sessions were proposed/chosen at past ProductCamps as that may help you understand what tends to be popular and give you ideas.

When registering for ProductCamp St. Louis 2019, people were asked “What kinds of topics would you like to see included in ProductCamp sessions?” and some of the answers are listed below. Obviously we can’t ever guarantee that sessions based around these topics will get chosen (or that submissions on other topics won’t be chosen), but if you’re looking for ideas, this is a good place to start.

  • Managing product roadmaps – tools, best practices, etc.
  • How to best describe and track the evolution of the capabilities/features of a software product.
  • Optimally prioritizing product changes based on a set of consumers/customers with competing needs and timelines, and estimated costs and timings of providing those features. (Not a mathematical solution, more of a real-world “how do people do this, practically?
  • MVP (Minimum viable product); Establishing Product Goals; What’s new in product management?
  • Quarterly product planning, Requirements gathering
  • Product Manager / Product Owner fundamentals
  • Marketing Plan, Brand Awareness, Social Media reach (Instagram, Facebook), SEO
  • Product Strategy; Product Metrics
  • How to gather upper management buy in; Resource gathering —  how to separate wants from needs
  • Roadmap Planning; Prioritization; Quantifying impact of new features; Choosing the right KPIs; How to find PM resources
  • How to get started/ get your first break in product management
  • Working as a remote Product Manager
  • User Experience (UX); Content Creation
  • Design Thinking, New Trends in Product Lifecycle Management
  • Product strategy & trends – learning what is happening in the market and how to translate that to a desired product with sales potential
  • Scaling product teams; How to manage multiple product lines; Building internal tools; Market sizing and valuations
  • Product Management Careers, Product Strategy/Management
  • Start-Up Dos and Don’ts; Product development and research on a tight budget; Digital Marketing successes; Low cost trial and awareness tactics; What to look for in potential vendors and agency partners
  • Customer Journey Mapping; Roadmaps; Prioritization; Valuing Internal Products
  • Building repeatable products from the ground up
  • SEO Advanced; WordPress strategies-advanced
  • Strategy
  • Agile/Scrum, voice-first UX, augmented reality
  • Mold making
  • Sales
  • Design Thinking
  • Alternative educations / freelancing
  • Growth Cycle, Product Introduction
  • UX/UI Design
  • Agile product development; managing innovation; AI in Innovation
  • Managing Innovation Portfolio
  • Collaboration with multiple dev teams
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Consumer products companies in St. Louis; How to launch small business into big retail; How small companies can grow in big retail
  • Digital Platforms for SaaS & PasS
  • Product roadmapping tools and best practices
  • Scaling a business
  • Using agile on non-technical (mechanical) products
  • Getting started with your prototype
  • How to effectively use maker spaces
  • Marketing to high end consumers
  • How to identify and find my markets
  • Marketing and communications to college students
  • Overcoming problems in agile
  • Selling your idea internally/stakeholdering
  • Agile Principles
  • Social media marketing
  • Agile and UX in Product development
  • How to apply MVP principles to physical/expensive products?
  • Working as a Product Manager in a large organization / PM at scale
  • How to find great product managers in St. Louis – what they’re doing now, hot companies, etc.
  • How to find the human resources you need – like programmers!
  • Methods for market testing and market sizing

Information about proposed sessions for ProductCamp St. Louis 2020 will be posted here soon. Until then, you can read more about sessions that were proposed for past ProductCamps.

Session Categories

While it is not required that a session topic falls into one of the categories listed below, it’s a helpful guide for some of the topics that may be covered.

  • Opportunity Analysis (Market Research, Market Segmentation, Competitive Analysis, Business Case, Market Problems, etc.)
  • Product Strategy (Business Planning, Business Model, Whole Product, Roadmaps, Portfolio Planning, Partnerships, Resource Allocation, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Technology Assessment, etc.)
  • Requirements Definitions (MRD, PRD, BRD, Elicitation, Personas, Use Cases, Prioritization, UX, etc.)
  • Product Management/Development (Agile Processes, Beta Tests, Digital Product Management, Market Testing, Testing/QA, Offshore/Nearshore Dev, Prototyping, etc.)
  • Go-to-Market (Product Launch Plans, Product Launch Readiness, Market Strategy, Marketing Plan, Pricing, Positioning, Messaging, Channel Strategy, Sales Enablement, Licensing, Scaling, etc.)
  • Marketing Execution (Demand Gen, Events, PR, Advertising, Social Media, Marketing Collateral, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline, Channel Mgmt, Marketing Metrics, SEO, international markets, etc.)
  • Product Lifecycle Mgmt (Customer Panels, Customer Engagement, Portfolio Analysis, Crossing the Chasm, Brand Mgmt, End-of-life, Divestment, Customer Retention, Repositioning, etc)
  • Prod Management Careers (PM 101, Team Management, Interviews, Roles Definitions, Small vs. Big Company, PM Tools, etc.)
  • Funding/Investors
  • Manufacturing-specific
  • IT-specific (software/cloud development)
  • Other

Session Formats

In general, the most enjoyed and talked about sessions are those that have been very interactive. That said, you can structure a session however you wish. To help align expectations of the session leader and participants, we offer a list of format descriptions. This list is intended to be a guide but not intended to be limiting, so feel free to be creative.

  • Town Hall – The leader presents a short (20-30 minute max) informative topic, open-ended question or premise and opens the floor for expansion, comment, questions and general discussion.
  • Roundtable Breakout – Similar to Town Hall, except that audience breaks out into small groups and typically shares findings, comments, or team responses with the room at the end of the session.
  • Workshop – In this format, the audience is actively involved, collectively or in groups, in an exercise or application of a technique or process which has been presented by the session leader. The description should mention the portion of the session spent in the exercise and what the attendees will produce. Proposers are encouraged to have knowledgeable assistants to help answer questions and support the exercise.
  • Panel Discussion – Popularly seen, this format has several people qualified to talk about the subject of the session, preferably from diverse or even counterpoint perspectives or roles. A moderator facilitates questions from the audience or a series of prepared questions for the panelists, but a significant part of the session is still interactive Q&A with the audience.
  • Ask the Expert – This format is most successful with a recognized authority on a subject of wide interest, or a direct participant in some particularly interesting event or phenomenon. The expert or a moderator introduces the topic and frames some appropriate discussion and then opens the floor for questions, including those that might be somewhat specific as long as they are applicable to more people than the individual questioner.
  • Presentation – Having already suggested that this traditional one-directional delivery is less popular among the ProductCamp community, there are some exceptional topics and presenters who can make this work. Session proposers are advised to consider this carefully and be honest in citing this format if it is actually what will be delivered.

For Session Leaders: Logistics

If you are proposing a session, and it gets chosen, then you should be prepared to lead the session. Here are some details to help you make sure you’re prepared. There will be computers and projectors in each room. You can either…

  • Bring your laptop or other device to present off of, along with any connectors you may need to hook up to a projector (especially for those with Mac laptops or tablets). Most rooms should have an HDMI connection and VGA connector.
  • Or, bring your slides on a USB drive and load them onto one of the computers in the room.
  • Or, post your slides online to Slideshare in advance and then use the computer in the room to your presentation from there.
  • Or, more than one of the above. (Things do go wrong, after all.)

We will have volunteers on hand to help with A/V as needed, and we have tested all of the equipment out in advance. That said, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case you can’t get your slides to present.  We’ll do the best we can to help, but no guarantees. If you need something specific, bring it with you; for example, if you want to play a video and want people to be able to hear it, we suggest bringing your own speakers.

The rooms will be set up “classroom style” with tables and chairs facing the front of the room, most likely in rows. For simplicity and logistics purposes, we won’t be able to accommodate other setups (e.g. arranging chairs into a circle). If you want to do something interactive, for example, you can ask people to pair up or get in small groups — that will be possible without moving furniture around, but we ask that you don’t move equipment or furniture otherwise.

If you have specific logistics questions, contact Brent Jennings.