Gulf Coast Product Camp

I spent the day at the inaugural Gulf Coast Product Camp put together by Julee Bellomo. Bringing Product Camp to Tampa has been a goal of Julee’s for a long time. The work she has done to build the Product Owner meetup group for Tampa Bay Agile has been phenomenal, and I wanted to be involved in this event as soon as I heard about it. I knew it would be something special, and it certainly was. A hundred attendees, two very powerful keynote speeches, and an engaging design thinking workshop made for an exciting and mind-expanding day. And the whole thing ran so smoothly that it didn’t feel like a first-time conference. I’d call it an unqualified success.

The experience was especially valuable for me because my Agile career up until now has revolved around Scrum teams and delivery of product features. Ideation and visioning  weren’t part of my world. By the time a delivery team has gotten its hands on a product, the question is no longer, “What will we build?” but, “How will we build it?” Now I’m coaching with a broader scope, and I need to understand better how to grow a product vision, how to position it in the market, and so on.

Beyond my day job, I’m starting to realize how powerful some of these practices could be for my writing. I spend a considerable amount of time on each novel I write, with only a hunch as to whether or not I’m writing something that people will want to read? What if I could use design thinking and lean startup principles to refine my vision before I spend months & years writing?