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.

On this page:

Submitting a Session

We expect to have (but can not guarantee that we will 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.
  • 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!)
  • 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.
  • It’s probably worth reviewing the different Session Categories  and Session Formats before you submit your session, since you’ll have to specify when you propose a session.
  • 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.
  • Contact Brent Jennings if you have any questions about submitting a session proposal.

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

Proposed Sessions

The full list of proposed sessions for ProductCamp St. Louis 2020 will be posted after the submission deadline (Friday, February 28, 2020). However, here are some of the proposed sessions that have been submitted so far:

  • How to get the best trade press product reviews
  • How to hire your first public relations pro
  • The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Data Viz in Product
  • Time to put the BS in product – behavioral science that is
  • Products with Personality
  • Our Reebok Shoe Video: Creating From Nothing
  • Closing the Deal: How to Attract and Hire Your 1st Salesperson
  • Exponentially Engaged – Advancing Sales Strategy
  • Get Others to Love Your B2B Technology Idea: The Value Pyramid
  • Yes, I know Santa. He’s a direct buyer. Toys – The creative job that never sleeps.
  • It’s Not About the Data: Business Communication Lessons Learned
  • From the Craft of Fiction
  • Innovation thru Iteration
  • Postures and Personas: What Yoga and Human-Centered Design Have in Common
  • The Heart of the Matter: The Foundations of Customer Knowledge
  • From chaos to clarity: Creating a vision to inspire your team and battle the B.S. (bright-and-shiny)
  • Why Research Sucks (and How to Make it Better)
  • Simplifying Segmentation: Focus on the right users to build a better product experience
  • We have to STOP meeting like this! – Improve your virtual communication with employees and partners
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Designing Successful Product Experiments
  • Why Did We Add This Feature? Selecting – and Getting Value from – the Product Metrics

Have a topic you’d like to propose? Submit your session using this form!

Ideas for Potential Sessions

Looking for an idea for a session to submit? Have an idea for a session but not sure if it will resonate with the audience? When registering for ProductCamp St. Louis 2020, people were asked “What kinds of topics would you like to see included in ProductCamp sessions?” and the responses 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.

  • Product pilots
  • AI, Voice control and software companies vs other types
  • Pricing collaboration to obtain synergsitic expansion
  • Agile Development, DevOps
  • Roadmaps, End user feedback, managing bandwidth
  • Physical product development, product manufacturing, injection molding, 3D printing, selling online, intellectual property, product licensing
  • Anything that pushes the boundaries and provides fresh thinking
  • Kickstarter funding
  • Business plans
  • Agile Training, Lean Training, how to be a product owner, how to be a product manager
  • Linked in
  • Roadmap Planning, Org Readiness, Exec Presentations
  • Design and execution of services
  • How to score feature enhancements and take them through the development lifecycle.
  • Role of Principals (PMS, engineers, designers) and best practices for how they interact with others; Best practices for involving engineers in discovery work; Basic hands-on sessions around Storymapping, Feature mapping, etc
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Communicating with Stakeholders
  • Helping users become the experts of your product
  • Working with Agile teams internationally
  • When and how to involve the business in technical discussions. 3rd party vendor management.
  • Independent App Development – i.e. how to own your product, IP, patenting, designing
  • Building a growth team
  • Product Managing AI products
  • Evolving to a product mindset
  • Roadmapping and prioritizing
  • Inclusion/diversity of product teams, creative thinking
  • Defining Business Value, PO responsibilities, Roadmapping, Prioritizing
  • Product metrics to show where we should be focusing attention
  • Possible partnership models to support the Product Owners in getting the technology or content they need to enhance their product offering
  • When to BUILD vs. PARTNER in order to add product functionality or features.
  • Gaining buy in with leadership
  • Demand management and enhancement prioritization
  • How to effectively run meetings
  • Product launch
  • Early/effective assessment of business cases (what numbers matter, cash is king? profit?)
  • Customer Obsession
  • MVP definition & user adoption
  • Enterprise application development & change management / user adoption.
  • Contextual inquiry, best practice for stakeholder management, best practices/new ideas in product management
  • UX strategies (when to use and engage), Guiding Principles for new Product Managers
  • IOT, telematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Prioritizing roadmaps, leading dev teams, getting teams organized
  • Specifics in one place for Registering your business with st.louis Missouri
  • Business Transformation towards Adaptability, Effectively Leading Product Teams in Sales led organizations, Helping Clients Migrate From Custom to Product, B2B Product Best Practices, How to hold your first Product Advisory Board
  • go to market strategies
  • How to become a product manager, product metrics and KPIs, agile UX
    Product road maps, agile road maps, agile development, agile with business objectives
  • How to work with delivery teams to write well formed user stories
  • How to guide delivery teams to have more predictable delivery patterns (success stories)
  • How to lead good story mapping sessions, ability to take business ideas/objectives and map them to features and stories
  • Client On-boarding
  • Agile product teams
  • Best practices when working on a product from scratch
  • How to determine and reach your customer segment
  • Product Development team organization, division of work (specifically for a suite of highly integrated products/services). Shifting to agile.
  • Methods for best managing/resourcing full life cycle (broke fix, retirement, small enhancement vs. major dev)
  • Product measurement
  • Market Research, UX research, product strategy, documenting strategic roadmaps
  • Pricing, market analysis and forecasting, and transitioning from engineering to product
  • Business Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Mentoring
  • Product delivery and implementation
  • Authentic leadership. Design accountability.
  • Intake analysis
  • Getting Feedback from Customers, Working on the Roadmap, Release Planning and Organization, Documenting and working with Development teams
  • Product Management best practices
  • Establishing a product vision
  • Balancing dev team health and growth with delivering the business in aggressive timelines
  • New trends in product and navigating the enterprise IT structure to build effective products
  • Product Ownership, Product Development
  • jam stack software
  • Customer cultivation, marketing, SEO
  • Feature mapping (both for new products, and existing products receiving enhancements
  • Managing change visibility across a complex network of products
  • Managing production support (bugs) across a complex network of products
  • business Development/ Marketing/ Sales
  • Key Account Marketing
  • Helping developers understand business context and tie technical work back to product features
  • Effective Sales and Internal Training for New Products
  • Tailoring your communication style to different audiences
  • MVP, Product Roadmap, Customer Development, B2B Sales
  • How to attract investors and how to sell a company
  • Software development, seed capital funding in St. Louis, personal care product manufacturing facilities in St. Louis
  • DB management, data analytics, mobile app builds
  • Networking and building
  • All topics related to marketing!
  • Sales, Marketing, Distribution, and Product Design
  • IT vs Hard Products, skills overlap and differences.
  • Marketing plan development with sales funnels
  • Google analytics usage
  • Self care in the Business World
  • ROI calculations and how to present them
  • Agile Product Management
  • UX and Product Partnership
  • Product for Customer Experience
  • Marketing/evangelizing, stakeholder management
  • Product Innovation
  • Product Management real life example and use case walk thru workshop
  • Contract packaging/fulfillment
  • Video with products
  • Manufacturers
  • 3d printing
  • Food Industry, Product Creation, Business Owner Stories, Starting from Nothing, Growing Businesses
  • Product Manager Training and Development
  • Marketing tactic, Raising capital, exotic cars
  • Navigating shifting priorities
  • How to get wearable technology produced. The companies that handle electronics and wearable tech clothing. Best outlets, ways, competitions to raise funds for startups. How to test your product?
  • How to get your product certified for government regulations?
  • Clothing manufacturing and Eco Friendly Industry
  • Business Modeling
  • Program Management and the involvement of multiple development teams working toward the same deadline / time restrictions across a single program
  • Go to Market Strategy
  • How to connect with corporations? How to find and speak with the right person in a corporation. Manufacturing models: how and where and what is needed required to show potential clients.
  • Specific case studies – easier to learn from than theoretical presentations!
  • aerospace, UAV, Urban Air Mobility
  • Product development resources. Distribution/fulfillment channels. Sheltered workshop resources and benefits.
  • Entrepreneurial skills, product development or product management processes
  • Strategy
  • Finding financing besides Venture Capital Groups.
  • Organization techniques for complicated or long term projects
  • Business Modeling
  • Business Development, Business Agility, Product Inception, development and launch
  • Customer Experience, Product Development Leadership, Things we can learn from Fortune 500 companies in Product Space, Innovation in Digital Products
  • Agile working, squads, technical roadmapping
  • Startup funds locally, contract manufacturing, frozen shipping options
  • Prioritization, user research, market research, value propositions, etc.
  • HR strategies for small business
  • Product Marketing, Customer Experience
  • Web, Mobile, Cloud, UI/UX, AR, VR … Deep Work
  • Early Stage Startups. Maybe someone who has created a consumer product and sold online or retail.
  • Anything related to UX/UI and/or marketing
  • Agile/digital transformation, product-centric mindset, product design, outcomes over outputs
  • Lean manufacturing and lean accounting techniques
  • Transitioning from Project to Product management
  • Vetting the opportunities
  • When to pull back
  • Agile product marketing
  • New Product development
  • Project Management best practices
  • How to build prototype
  • How to create app
  • How to get prototype in box stores
  • Solopreneur business related, services marketing, product marketing
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Process of idea to manufacturing to selling

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.