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Product management is a career that relies heavily on communication, collaboration, and continuous learning.
That’s one reason why product management conferences are such a great way to expand your skills and expand your network.
The conference series that we describe below all have an established track record of helping attendees learn new skills and form new connections, whether they are in person, hybrid, or fully virtual.
So, if you’re looking to get away for a couple of days and immerse yourself in the world of product management, consider going to one (or more!) of these events. You won’t regret it.
New York Product Conference
The New York Product Conference is an annual series of in-person conferences held every fall in New York City. It’s a place for 400 product managers to get together to learn the latest methods, tools, and frameworks used to build, launch, and scale world-class software products.
Product Collective acquired the New York Product Conference in 2021 as a way of expanding their INDUSTRY: The Product Conference footprint.
The New York Product Conference combines the focus on the New York product community of past New York Product Conferences with the varied content of INDUSTRY: The Product Conference.
The format includes 10 to 25-minute talks from experienced product people followed by Q&A sessions with the presenters. The conference format also includes plenty of networking time and a product expo that provides the best aspects of in-person conferences.
INDUSTRY: The Product Conference
INDUSTRY: The Product Conference is the premier global software product management conference with thousands of attendees at past events in North America and Europe.
INDUSTRY conferences are typically in person, but when the situation dictated, Product Collective (the people behind the conference) shifted seamlessly to a virtual format.
The conferences are multi-day events that give you the opportunity to get away from execution mode and focus on improving your skills and building your network. The day before the main conference, you have the opportunity to take a deep dive into a particular topic in a half-day workshop.
The main conference offers the chance to hear from experienced product managers and product leaders during their main stage talks. The Talk Shop sessions also provide focused Q&A time with those presenters.
If you’re interested in networking with other product people, there are plenty of opportunities including group discussions, networking events, and attendee dinners.
On top of all that, you don’t have to furiously scribble notes during the talks because Product Collective sends out comprehensive notes for each session that include key takeaways. Reporting back to your boss about what you learned has never been easier!
Mind the Product Conferences
Mind the Product conferences cover a wide variety of topics of interest to product managers. They host two-day flagship conferences annually in San Francisco, Singapore, and London.
These conferences are hybrid, with the first day being entirely virtual and the second day offering in-person or streaming options. Both days offer talks from experienced product people and plenty of networking opportunities such as roundtable discussions and virtual speed networking.
The learning doesn’t stop at the end of the conference, because each conference admission gives you an annual Mind the Product membership. One of the benefits of that membership are videos of all the talks from the conferences.
Mind the Product also produces a regional three-day conference in Hamburg, Germany. This conference includes a day of interactive workshops, a full conference day with talks and networking, and a half-day leadership forum for product leaders.
ProductTank – Mind The Product
The large conferences provide the opportunity to meet product people from across the globe. There’s also a lot of value in interacting with the product people in your local community.
ProductTank gives product managers a means for hosting meetups in their local area. From the initial ProductTank that formed in London in 2010, there are now Product- Tanks in over 200 cities.
Mind the Product vets and supports the organizers of the local ProductTanks. Those volunteers then plan and host their meetings.
You can think of ProductTank meetings as local product management user groups. The meetings are free to attend and can be either in person or virtual. The organizers of the local ProductTanks select the topic, the location, and the time. Often, those topics are product management topics that have a lot of relevance for their local area.
If you’re looking for the experiences you get with a full-day in-person conference without the travel, you may want to see if your local area has a ProductCamp coming up.
ProductCamps are free “unconferences” for product managers and product marketing managers. These conferences are organized by product people for product people. The organizers are usually product managers in the local area who volunteer their time to pull the event together.
When you attend an unconference like ProductCamp, plan to be an active participant. Whether you give a talk on a topic of interest to you, facilitate a discussion, or volunteer in some other way, you’re a part of the conference.
If this type of event sounds interesting, but you don’t see an event coming up near you, you can always start one yourself. Organizing a ProductCamp is a great way to meet other product people and to gain new skills that will surely add to your product management career.
Business of Software
If you’re interested in learning more about how product fits into the bigger picture of SaaS and software companies, then you should check out the Business of Software (BoS) conference.
BoS events are targeted toward anyone trying to build, run, and scale a great software company. So, you’re likely to run into company founders and entrepreneurs as well as other product people.
The topics covered include growth, strategy, product management, company culture, leadership and more. BoS offers single-day online conferences multiple times a year as well as two-day in-person conferences in Europe and North America annually. The in-person conferences offer a combination of talks, group discussions, and multiple opportunities for networking.
Front – The Product Conference for UX Designers and Product Managers
If you’re looking for an event that places equal emphasis on user experience and product management and their intersection, then look no further than Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Front series of conferences are the product conference for UX designers and product managers. These multi-day conferences aim to be practitioners’ conferences that provide real-world actionable information. Front produces two conferences a year, each with a different format.
If you attend the Front Case Study Conference, you’ll hear product leaders or UX designer and product manager pairs describe their experiences and what they learned. You’ll hear how product management and product design work together in some well-known tech companies.
If you attend the Front Workshop Conference, you’ll get the opportunity to attend half-day workshops, moderated roundtable discussions, and a variety of networking events. This is definitely the event for you if you prefer a more active approach to learning about the intersection of design and product management.
Product Management Festival
If you’re a product person in Europe or Asia-Pacific (or would like to travel to one of those regions) and want to gather with other product managers, you may want to look into the Product Management Festival.
The Product Management Festival is an in-person two-day conference that offers a combination of keynotes for all attendees and breakout sessions in four separate tracks for you to choose your own adventure conference experience.
The breakout sessions are in a variety of formats including talks, case studies, workshops, and coaching sessions, so you can find the session that best fits your preferred learning style. Each session is led by a practicing product person, so you can be assured that you’re receiving insights from someone who’s been there and done that.
If you’re worried about picking the right sessions that you want to go to, each morning and afternoon session starts with speaker pitches so that you can hear straight from the presenters about why you should go to their session.
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