Julian Wraith

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Product Camp Amsterdam

But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: “Home is home, be it never so homely.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday I attended Product Camp Amsterdam and had a great time. From where I live, I had to get up early but it was worth it. Being a little early as usual, it gave me chance to take in the magical Amsterdam morning. Arriving and being greeted with free t-shirts (yes, I am simple to please) and name badges, the early morning challenges began. Two problems, 1) how do you decide your first and second choice of sessions that you want to see when everything looks interesting and 2) how does the selection process _really_ work? No one could really answer the last one and someone who thought he knew, decided that he did not know by the end of our questions. In the end, I just stuck my pink & green post-its on what I thought might work for me. In the end, it worked!

The first session was Martin van Mierloo on the Lessons Learned Towards a Formal Roadmap Process at GX. GX is a Web Content Management company just down the road from where I live, so close even that I have been known to stalk them. I enjoyed the session very much and it was nice to see SDL Tridion, Day, Hippo and GX discuss the pitfalls and differences in their Roadmaps. I am not a product manager so I cannot say everything about SDL Tridion’s Roadmap process, I just have the basics, but I was interested to know from a consulting perspective how GX’s customers react to a new release once per three months. Clearly the changes are small by comparison to say Day or SDL Tridion and it makes it easier to keep up to date with the latest releases. I would be curious to know other companies release cycles and how that affects their customer’s product stability.

After this session, lunch was served (great lunch!) and a chance to chat to a few people. I chatted allot to an employee from Hewlett-Packard who is involved in the project I am working on. Interesting chat and hard to explain the coincidence of meeting randomly…

After Lunch it was off to the nest session. Jaco van Wilgenburgh: THE User Does Not Exist – Personas and Scenarios to the Rescue? I enjoyed the session very much and it led to a number of discussions about the differences between role, actor and persona – which takes too long to explain here but there is some interesting information on this page. I believe that such a process can help all parts of an organisation understand better who they are building their products for. Whilst Jaco did not mention it, I think the consulting side can also benefit by understanding the people they encounter better and how they fit into the scenario a product is designed to help.

I hope very much that 2010 will see another Product Camp in Amsterdam. It was a great day with many interesting people. Thanks to Mark Schiefelbein and the sponsors for making the day possible.

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