Not so long ago, software product managers were hard-pressed to find product development conferences designed specifically for them. Product conferences largely centered around entrepreneurship or technology—leaving product managers (PMs) to glean what they could.
Today, things are different. A host of product management conferences have sprung up around the world—including virtual events that allow participants to join from anywhere. They range in topics, from product leadership to product development practices to how to grow in your career.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose which to attend. We hope this article gives you the information you need to make the choice on the conference you want to attend—as well as define what you want to get out of the experience.
What can you learn at a product management conference?
If you’ve ever sat down with a group of product managers, you’ve probably gleaned that most of us ask ourselves “Am I doing this right?” There’s a bevy of information available online to help you learn about product management—there are even bootcamps, workshops, and certifications you can take. But there’s nothing like a live product conference to really make you feel like you fit in. Surrounded by your peers, you learn how different companies are applying product management principles—and you get the reassurance you’re not the only one wondering if you’re doing it right.
But that’s not the only reason to sign up for product manager events. When you attend a live conference, you:
- Meet other product people across industries who can provide valuable insights
- Hear from renowned product leaders and keynote speakers who are changing the game in technology
- Network with peers who share your passions, interests, and struggles as a PM
- Learn about new software and technology that can improve your product or processes
What topics are covered at product conferences?
Which topics are covered at a product conference varies depending on the event. Some speak broadly to technology, others present content for full product teams, and still others offer tracks geared specifically toward PMs.
The following are commons themes you may find in product conference tracks:
- Product strategy
- Product development processes
- User experience design
- Product operations
- Product analytics
Top 7 best product management conferences to attend in 2022
Looking to learn and grow as a PM in 2022? Look no further. Here are the top seven conferences to check out.
INDUSTRY offers attendees incredible keynotes, interactive Q&As, networking, and exclusive content to help you build, launch, and scale world-class software products. The premier conference for PMs, INDUSTRY is available virtually and around the globe.
Conference Link: https://www.industryconference.com/
Who should attend this conference: Software product managers
Why attend this conference: At Product Collective, we’ve been organizers of INDUSTRY since its inception in 2015. So we’re definitely biased on its greatness, but hear us out: As product people ourselves, we have a lot of passion for this field. And, because of that, we spend a significant amount of time and energy to make INDUSTRY an outstanding experience for product management professionals.
If you’ve ever been, you know that INDUSTRY is so much more than a conference—it’s a community. In addition to keynotes from product professionals and leaders, there are roundtable discussions, interactive Q&As, and an event Slack group to help you connect with and learn from your peers. You’ll also receive recordings of and comprehensive notes from keynote sessions that allow you to focus on the conversation—not taking notes. So, yeah, it’s a pretty great event. 😉
Where to Attend: We’ve got two great in-person events, along with our virtual conference this year. Meet us live at New York Product Conference in Manhattan, New York and INDUSTRY Global in Cleveland, Ohio.
When to attend: Dates vary depending on location.
- New York Product Conference: April 7, 2022
- INDUSTRY Global (in Cleveland, OH): September 19-21, 2022
- INDUSTRY Virtual: October 18, 2022
- New York: $745 General Admission / $1,245 Super Pass (includes 4-hour workshop on how to make better product decisions)
- Global: $995 Conference / $1,545 Plus / $2,195 Super Pass
- Virtual: $99 General Admission / $599 Super Pass (includes 4-hour virtual workshop)
ProductWorld unites 1,500 tech product managers and product developers for a combined conference and tradeshow. The event is co-located with DeveloperWeek, where 8,000 software engineers and IT managers converge each year.
Conference Link: https://productworld.co/about/
Who should attend this conference: Technically-minded product managers and product developers
Why attend this conference: ProductWorld boasts an impressive lineup from Silicon Valley’s top tech companies. The conference covers a variety of topics, including:
- Product development lifecycle
- Agile management and rapid prototyping
- New product management software and technologies
- Roles, responsibilities, and resources for product teams
- How to grow in your product management career
- Usability and interface design
Where to Attend: Virtual
When to attend: February 7-9, 2022
Cost: Free open pass, paid tickets start at $100
ProductCon is a virtual event that takes place four times a year and gathers more than 15,000 product professionals from around the world.
Conference Link: https://productschool.com/productcon/february/
Who should attend this conference: Senior Product Managers, Directors of Product, Heads of Product Management, VPs of Product, or Chief Product Officers
Why attend this conference: ProductCon offers the opportunity to hear from product leaders at tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. You’ll also be exposed to new ideas you can immediately implement—and contacts who may become future customers. If you’re a product leader, you may also enjoy and benefit from ProductCon’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in tech. The agenda highlights product leaders from diverse backgrounds and leaders of color and offers a panel on DE&I.
Where to Attend: Virtual
When to attend: February 17, 2022
Cost: Early bird tickets are free, VIP tickets for networking and exclusive Q&A are $228
Canvas Conference started as a developer conference in Birmingham, England. Over time, it’s grown to span voices across the spectrum of people involved in creating digital products and experiences.
Conference Link: https://canvasconference.co.uk/
Who should attend this conference: Developers, digital makers
Why attend this conference: While Canvas started as a conference for front-end developers, they’ve grown into something more relevant for all product people (especially those with a background in product design). Past lineups have included voices from notable brands like SpaceX, Adidas, and Bumble. As a UK-based event, the schedule is a perfect fit for European product people.
Where to Attend: Birmingham, England
When to attend: Canvas 2022 will be held on November 3rd.
Mind the Product
Mind the Product is the world’s largest product management conference with annual flagship conferences in San Francisco, Singapore, and London. Mind the Product also hosts a regional conference in Hamburg.
Conference Link: https://www.mindtheproduct.com/conferences/
Who should attend this conference: Product managers, product teams, current or future startup founders
Why attend this conference: Mind the Product offers in-person, digital-only, and hybrid conferences that make it possible for anyone to attend—regardless of location. The conference explores the intersection of technology, design, and business with the ultimate goal of helping people build better products. Speakers range from authors to CEOs to directors.
Where to Attend: San Francisco, CA; Hamburg, Germany; London & EMEA
When to attend: Dates vary by location.
- San Francisco: May 24-25, 2022
- Hamburg: June 15-17, 2022
- London & EMEA: October 13-14, 2022
Cost: Prices vary depending on location, type of event, and package. Check out each event for more details.
The Product-Led Summit is the largest gathering of product-led leaders. The Product-Led Summit and its sibling event, The CPO Summit, attract attendees from large global companies like LinkedIn, Amazon, and Salesforce.
Conference Link: https://productledworld.com/
Who should attend this conference: SaaS product managers, product owners, and product leaders
Why attend this conference: This conference is perfect for companies that currently leverage product-led growth (PLG) or that want to implement a product-led approach. The content covers everything PLG—freemium models, flywheels, building product-led growth teams, PLG decision-making, and more.
Where to Attend: London, England; Singapore; San Francisco, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Amsterdam, Netherlands; New York, NY; and Austin, TX.
When to attend: Dates vary depending on location.
Cost: $795-$1,195, depending on pass and level of access
Hailed as an “unconference”, ProductCamp is a series of conversation-driven events where product people can share their experiences—and hear from other product professionals.
Conference Link: https://www.productcamp.org/
Who should attend this conference: Product managers, UX designers, marketers, and people involved in developing digital products
Why attend this conference: While ProductCamp isn’t a traditional conference, there’s a lot of benefit to be had in connecting with peers in the product space. ProductCamp gives participants an opportunity to share what they’re working on, what they’re learning, and where they struggle. This interactive forum can spur ideas and build new connections that help you grow in your product career.
Where to Attend: ProductCamp is offered in most major cities around the world
When to attend: Dates vary by location. Check out ProductCamp’s website to get notifications of upcoming camps.
How to choose the best product manager conference for you
To choose the right product management seminar for you, consider your goals.
- Do you want to network with potential employers? Take a look at the companies attending.
- Do you want to build relationships with product peers who you can collaborate and brainstorm with? Make sure you choose a conference with breakouts.
- Do you want to learn practical ways to grow in your career? See if the agenda includes sessions on career growth.
- Do you want to improve a skill, like design thinking or roadmap planning? Make sure there are interactive workshops on the topics you’re interested in.
- Do you need insight on how to solve a specific problem? See if the conference offers case studies from companies who have navigated similar issues.
Whether you attend a conference that’s free or paid is up to you—and may depend on your company’s learning and development budget. If you don’t have the budget to attend conferences, free product management digital conferences may be a great fit for you. When it comes to paying for attendance, many conferences offer “convince your boss” packets that help you make the business case for attending. A standout benefit to attending a live conference, when possible, is the quality of connections you can make.
We hope this helps you choose the best product management conference for you!