Every year IT Arena brings over experts from all around the world to share best practices in the city of Lviv, Ukraine. With high concentration of the world’s top brands, IT Arena Product Track has already gained popularity of one of the biggest product development events in Eastern Europe. Today, Markiyan Matsekh, Head of Product Track, tells us what makes Product Track’s lineup unique in 2018, and why that's an event not to miss if you're are a PdM.
How would you describe the target audience of IT Arena Product Track? Are these marketers, managers or developers?
Product Track would be most interesting for product managers, as well as those interested in a professional shift to product management: project managers, business analysts, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs (startuppers), and even engineers. The specifics of a product manager’s role lies in its diversity, so the track will be interesting for a wide range of people. During the event, we want to touch all areas and skills with which PdM works.
Is there a product development culture in Ukraine?
Definitely, and it’s growing quickly. Just think how many successful product meetups and conferences, product startups, attempts to develop products within corporations, new products and product managers are there now.
What makes this year’s Product Track’s lineup unique?
Just a few factors:
1) On average, our speakers have at least 10 years of experience in product development.
2) All of them have worked with successful products such as Google Assistant, Facebook, Yelp, Tesla, LinkedIn, etc.
3) All of them worked for at least two companies with very strong product management expertise, respectively, their own expertise cannot be underestimated.
4) Speakers and topics are balanced around various aspects of the profession: team management, customer understanding, work with analytics, design, psychology, growth, collaboration with other departments of the company, etc.
Which of the previous Product Track speakers would you highlight? Who would you like to see at the event in the future?Last year we had Martin Eriksson, co-founder of Mind the Product Conference and Product Tank community; John Cutler, PdM at Zendesk and author of a popular blog; Lisa Long, Head of Product at Telenor (owner of appear.in). This year we’ll have Sachin Rekhi (Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Navigator, former PdM at Microsoft with 2 startup exits), Andrew Martinez-Fonts, (Group PdM at Yelp,), Thabet Alfishawi (Growth PdM at Google Assistant, formerly Youtube), Vasily Starostenko (Staff PdM at Tesla, ex-Uber), Josh Twist (PdM at Facebook, ex-Principal PM at Microsoft). For future events, we want to bring over Mina Rad, Uber’s first PdM, Marty Cagan, the legend of PdM, Jared Spool, the legend of UX, Dan Olsen. We’ve been chasing them for a few years now but their schedules and contracts are tight :)
Would you recommend to focus on product track or mix an attendee’s personal agenda with other tracks?
Depends on the interests. There’s definitely some overlap in topics with Business and Startup Tracks.
Who’s a product manager, and how a PdM’s role is different from PMs?
There are gazillion versions of this answer because the role is so diverse at different companies and at different product stages. My personal answer is that the product manager is responsible for shaping and building the product that executes business goals, stays feasible and continuously delights customers.Project managers on the other hand usually focus on execution part: making sure that the defined product functionality is delivered within time and budget, e.g. they rarely define the feature set, product’s KPIs or perform customer development. Depending on the product’s scale and maturity, these roles can be executed by one person or two different persons. From my experience having PM in the team makes PdM’s life much easier :)
Which companies have product expertise developed at the highest level? Any recommendations on who to follow for professional development (experts, opinion leaders) in this area?
- http://www.sachinrekhi.com/ - Sachin Rekhi on product and entrepreneurship;
- https://medium.com/@johnpcutler - John Cutler on product management;
- https://andrewchen.co/ - Andrew Chen on growth;
- https://svpg.com/articles/ - Marty Cagan on various product topics;
- https://www.mindtheproduct.com/ - various authors via Mind The Product;
- https://www.thisisproductmanagement.com/ - great podcast;
- https://www.intercom.com/blog/ - Intercom on various topics.