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10/20/2016
Innovation vs. Execution: Are They Destined to Be at Odds?

BPMA Gala Has the Magic Fit
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By Bruce McCarthy, BPMA Vice President

Posted January 31, 2014

Abstract: The Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) 2014 Gala event on January 16th was the perfect fit for the group of about 100 product professionals. Read about Jeff Bussgang’s interactive talk, the past, present and future of the BPMA, and the magic marketing science. Then weigh into the ongoing conversation with Jeff and ask your burning how and why questions.

Categories:  Planning, Analysis & Strategy; Product Design, Development & Launch; Technologies & Trends

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An engaging speaker telling you about how your profession is evolving, a tasty dinner, networking with local leaders in your industry, and a nerdy magic show to boot; what more could a bunch of product people ask for in an evening?

The Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) 2014 Gala event on January 16th was the perfect fit for the group of about 100 product professionals attending the event at the Museum of Science.

Product Management Evolution

The timely keynote speech delivered by Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital delved into radical changes taking place in the practice of product management, driven in part by the Lean Startup movement.

What is product market fit? What is customer development? What is great product management? What are the tools and techniques of great product management? These were key questions Jeff asked and answered based on his experience as an entrepreneur, author, Harvard Business School senior lecturer and partner at an early-stage VC firm in Boston and New York.

We all know about the changes from waterfall to agile processes, from being part of marketing to reporting to the CEO, from years-long cycles to weekly or even daily releases, and from opinion-driven to data-driven decision making. Jeff took the time, though, to explore the origins of these changes in the Lean Startup movement, reviewing the definition of a startup, the principles behind Lean, and the test and iteration process.

Spotify’s Think It, Build It, Ship It, Tweak It framework proved a great example of these new approaches at work, and Jeff threw in several book and blog authors every product person should be reading to keep their skills up to date.

Jeff’s presentation with all of these details is available to BPMA members here.

BPMA’s History

One of BPMA’s founders and former president, Bob Levy, introduced the event and walked through the humble beginnings and impressive growth of the organization since he and Michael Salerno founded in 2001. In that time, the organization has grown from a few hundred to over 3,000 registered members and has consistently held near-top placement in world-wide product management associations in size and attendance for the last decade.

BPMA’s Present

The organization’s newly elected president, Makarand Joshi, spoke eloquently about the accomplishments of the organization in 2013, thanking volunteers and last year’s Board. Due to their efforts, attendance at events was up 20% for the year.

In addition to regular monthly events, in 2013 BPMA held 5 practitioner’s workshops, established a new Product Executives Forum, continued its popular Mentorship Council, and established new academic partnerships with MIT and Harvard Business School.

BPMA’s Future

Mak also painted a picture of where and how the organization can grow in 2014 and beyond. He set a few key priorities for the organization, including engagement of product professionals outside of high-tech, and reaching out to the growing ranks of junior practitioners. Mak shared his vision of enhancing the organization’s online presence, rotating venues among different geographies, and emphasizing volunteer engagement and evangelism in the product community to reach these goals.

Innovation is the theme for BPMA’s 13th year, and Mak outlined how the monthly events, practitioner’s workshops and a special Career Night in September will all be focused on driving innovation through empowering product professionals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools.

The Magic of Marketing Science

Before any of these speeches, a smart young staffer from Boston’s Museum of Science psyched out her audience correctly and put on a show about the science of perception. She showed this group of experienced product marketing and management people how our perceptions can be altered with the clever application of scientific principles such as perspective, and had us cheering by the end.

Why Stop Here?

All in all, it was a great evening for product people in the Boston area. Rather than think of this as a one-time event, though, why not keep the conversation going? Jeff Bussgang, would like to continue the highly-interactive dialogue he moderated in his keynote presentation in the BPMA LinkedIn Discussion Forum. You can also join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #bpma2014gala. Don’t forget to include @bussgang and @bostonproduct.

Join in with your questions, comments and ideas on the evolution of product management and getting to that magic product/market fit. What were your takeaways? How will you apply them in your organization? What has worked/not worked for you? What follow up questions do you have for Jeff?

Videos of the Event Available on YouTube

Jeff Bussgang's Q&A - http://youtu.be/y2jbFNXEPsU

Jeff Bussgang's Testimonial - http://youtu.be/uHDvHPcLjmE

Mak Joshi on BPMA Vision - http://youtu.be/wfOYBBM4-H0

Mak Joshi on BPMA Volunteerism - http://youtu.be/PO6-GcQQCjE

Bob Levy's Testimonial - http://youtu.be/etkfUBOWWPo

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