Sessions – Spring 2019

We’re excited to announce the April 2019 Rocky Mountain Product Camp sessions! Three session areas will be used at the Embassy Suites Downtown (see table below)

Choose a session for each time slot. Remember, the “rule of two feet” is in effect: if you’re in a session that isn’t valuable to you, use your two feet to leave and join another.


9:30-10:00 – Pre-Camp Workshop Check-in

Crystal Ballroom C

Crystal Ballroom B
10:00 – 11:50Workshop
PRIME+SCORE: evaluate multiple opportunities using a consistent method by Pragmatic Institute
Building Bridges, not Silos: The Evolving Product Management Ecosystem by Pendo

12:30-1:00 – Official ProductCamp Registration/Networking
1:05-1:20 – Welcome

TimeCrystal Ballroom ACrystal Ballroom BCrystal Ballroom C
1:30 – 2:20Building a Product Organization That Aligns With Your Strategy, Culture, and Architecture by Arthur MayUX Strategies That Double Profits by Larry MarineUsing User Story Mapping to get to a true MVP by James Heimbuck & Susan Wilhelm
2:30 – 3:20Give your Best Roadmap Presentation by Jason OeltjenHow to build a developer-first mentality at your company by Ashley Roach

Failure and Resilience in Product by Holly Vezina & Rachel Wynn

3:30 – 4:20Lightning TalksThe Intersection of Improv Comedy and Product Development Skills by Brian McCarthyHow to survive the Political Minefields in Product Management by Zain Master

4:30 – Closing Remarks and Feedback
4:45 – After reception & networking

Workshop Descriptions

PRIME+SCORE: evaluate multiple opportunities using a consistent method
by Steve Johnson, Vice President of Product, Pragmatic Institute

Some new product ideas are great; others less so. What techniques can you use to determine which is which? Distinctive Competence is a powerful concept that guides strategy. It should help focus and prioritize new opportunities. What are your organization’s exceptional capabilities? Are they truly unique or significantly better? Are they valued by your customers? Can you prove it? 

Before you create a comprehensive business or product plan, you can quickly summarize your idea using a one-page product proposal or product canvas. What’s the scope of your idea? What problem are you solving? And for whom?

This workshop will explore a technique to inventory your distinctive competencies and use them to determine which opportunity to pursue, describing and rating opportunities against ten factors. Bring three or four product ideas to the session and use the this technique to determine which to pursue first. 

Building Bridges, not Silos: The Evolving Product Management Ecosystem by Pendo

No product manager is an island. As product management evolves as a discipline, cross-functional leadership skills have become as important–if not more so–than technical or creative skill. PMs may lead through influence, not authority, but many product teams still report misalignment with key departments as a major challenge to effective product-led growth. In this interactive session, we will share perspectives and best practices for improving cross-functional communication, cooperation, and coordination.

Participants will leave with actionable ideas to:

  • Leverage customer sentiment to drive organizational alignment
  • Use product data to establish accountability between groups
  • Collaborate on user communications to create a customer-focused culture
  • Score quick wins to build credibility and momentum for long-term growth

Session Descriptions

Building a Product Organization That Aligns With Your Strategy, Culture, and Architecture
by Arthur May

No two product structures are alike. Several factors go into structuring a product team for success. The strategy of the company requires product managers positioned for success when carrying the torch. The maturity of the Product function in the organization could dictate a global reach or a local focus. Architecture could have you asking “Do I need a PM for my platform?” This session will poll and explore different product team structures, their opportunities, and limitations.

Arthur May has over 12 years of Product Managment experience for companies of different sizes,industries, and types of products (software, hardware, widgets). Arthur is currently building his 3rd product team at Swisslog Healthcare in Broomfield, CO.

UX Strategies That Double Profits by Larry Marine

The most successful websites, apps, and software follow one of several successful UX design strategies. This interactive discussion describes a few of these strategies and provides examples of how they work. They are simple enough to apply to most UX Designs right away. The session includes examples of successful websites and how to improve unsuccessful ones, as well. Attendees are welcome to how these strategies might fit their designs.

Attendees will be encouraged to offer designs as discussion examples.

Larry has created a number of top performing UX designs (disrupted industries, dominated markets, top conversion rates) with these strategies. He has earned rave reviews for his presentations about various UX topics. He mentors Colorado Startups every month.

Using User Story Mapping to get to a true MVP by James Heimbuck & Susan Wilhelm

We have all heard that we should be using customer feedback to validate an idea and build an MVP, but are there better ways to get there? In this session we’ll talk through how user story mapping can help improve the process and get to a better MVP that gets delivered to customers faster. James and Susan will share real life examples where user story mapping has and has not worked for them to drive to a Minimum Viable Product or Minimal Marketable Feature.

Using real-life examples the group will break into teams to map out user stories, tie them back to an MVP, map out iterative releases and identify what not to build.

James and Susan are Product Managers who have each worked in companies of varying industry and size in the B2B and B2C spaces. Currently Susan is a Senior Product Manager at ReturnPath and James is a Product Manager of Infrastructure at Sendgrid Twilio

Give your Best Roadmap Presentation by Jason Oeltjen

As product managers, presenting a roadmap is a key part of our role. However, it can seem like a struggle to create and present a roadmap that both meets the needs of the audience and prevents the PM from appearing to make promises (especially on dates and scope) when there is too much unknown to offer more than a guess. After presenting many different roadmap types, sometimes painfully, I’ve settled on a roadmap concept that has proven to be simple and highly effective. I will share how the Now/Next/Beyond Roadmap can help you present effective roadmaps that enables the audience to clearly understand your product direction, allows the you to to build trust with your audience, and provides a great opportunity to gather valuable feedback to influence your roadmap.

While I will come with the content on how the Now/Next/Beyond roadmap has worked for me and can be applied to help others, I hope to facilitate a conversation on how the attendees have created successful roadmaps presentations. The goal is that we all leave with actionable ideas for giving our best roadmap presentations.

I’m currently a Director of Product Management at Oracle and have been in product management roles for companies of all sizes, including multiple small companies that have been acquired by large ones (including RSA/Dell and Intuit). I’ve spent my career delivering software solutions for enterprises ranging in size up to the top of the Fortune 100. For the last 6 years I’ve been focused on cloud identity and security solutions. Through all the stress of potentially over-promising and not foreseeing that next pivot, I have come to love giving roadmap presentations to executives, customers and anyone else interested.

Failure and Resilience in Product by Holly Vezina & Rachel Wynn

Failure in Product is an inevitability. From the startup that runs out of money to the carefully curated feature that does not resonate with users, sometimes we miss the mark. How we move on from these moments defines who we become as Product people. Are you the Product person that disassociates with the failure and looks outward to assign blame, do you take the failure so personally you are completely paralyzed, or are you the Product person than unpacks all of the pieces and tries to learn from each of the “failure points”? Let’s talk about how we recover from these losses and lean into a “growth mindset” (what is that by the way?) so we can turn these experiences into golden nuggets.

Holly is a Product geek committed to the growth and support of the Colorado Product community. Rachel Wynn learns more from her mistakes than her successes by approaching her role as a product manager with humor and grace. She has been a product manager for 3.5 years. She currently works at Alteryx, where she defines the strategy for Alteryx’s core product.

How to build a developer-first mentality at your company by Ashley Roach

Similar to the evolution of auto manufacturing from vertically integrated, towards supply-chain specialization, in the new era of cloud-based application development, an ecosystem of API-first tools and companies has emerged to accelerate the creation of new businesses. Now, developers can focus on the distinct value of their application rather than re-creating non-differentiating services via an ecosystem of API-first companies. In short, APIs are the key enablers for new business creation. If you’re building a product or service, it’s important to make many (or all) of its capabilities available via web service APIs (e.g, REST, etc). Because of the importance of APIs to business, your company should embrace developer capabilities. And while not everyone is in a technical position to do this, everyone in the business should understand APIs. In this talk, I will cover my experiences at SendGrid in helping build and maintain a developer-first mindset in the company. I will talk about techniques and tooling to foster this culture in both engineering and business functional areas.

Participants will get hands on with interactive API documentation

Ashley Roach is a Principal Product Manager for Developer Experience at SendGrid. Previously, he was a Principal Engineer Evangelist for Cisco’s developer relations team, DevNet. Prior to DevNet he was a product manager at NewsGator and Jabber, Inc. He has spoken and led workshops at many Cisco and 3rd-Party conferences.

The Intersection of Improv Comedy and Product Development Skills by Brian McCarthy

Product Managers & Owners are improvising all the time. We’re constantly asked to be agile in our jobs, taking in feedback, shifting priorities, and rallying stakeholders. Given that so much of our jobs are unpredictable and unplanned, how do we bring order to the chaos? This workshop take fundamental skills from the worlds leading improvisational theater groups (Whose Line is it Anyway, Second City, and Comedy Sportz) and show how you can apply principles from improv into your day to day role in Product. A few fundamental skills we will cover

  • Active listening
  • Creativity on the fly
  • Humility
  • Teamwork & maximizing stakeholders energy and ideas

“This will be a very interactive workshop with several small group breakouts. Participants will practice improv skills through small games and role playing activities. After each breakout session, we’ll have a quick retro with the group discussing what we learned and how we can apply it to our day to day. Everyone will participate, so if you’re not ready to jump in head first then I suggest you find another session.

I currently work in Product for GutCheck in agile Market Research. Prior to GutCheck, I worked for an Marketing agency supporting Coors, Pepsi, and Kellogg’s in product innovation. I have over 5 years of improv comedy experience with Gonzaga University Theater Sports and Comedy Sportz.

How to survive the Political Minefields in Product Management by Zain Master

You can’t really avoid the game of politics, you can only choose to play it bad. This session is going to focus on how to create the right relationships for long term success within any organization.

A zany guys that has transferred over from the dark side (engineering) into product management, purely by happenstance. 10 years later, he’s still enjoying the complexities and nuances of the ever evolving art of product management. Zain’s worked in almost every environment possible, from Fortune 500 to startups, and across most major industries. In short, he’s seen a lot, made a lot of mistakes, and learned a lot in the bargain that he hopes to pass on in this session.

Lightning Talks!

Lightning Talks are an amazing format to get quick insights and learning. Each presenter will get about 8 minutes to share their topic, each in rapid succession over the session. Our lightning talks will be:

  • Understand your main user problem with one question by Jake Werlin
  • Producting and Parenting: Why I say the same things at work that I do at home by James Heimbuck & Holly Vezina
  • Breaking. It. Down. through rigorous prioritization by Laura Poatsy & Shelby Kelly
  • 7 important lessons I learned from 30+ product management podcast episodes by Kimberly Berls
  • It’s like talking to Charlie Brown’s parents by Larry McKeogh