My Recap of the Working Products 2017 Conference

While Germany overall might be a bit short on high-quality product management conferences, Hamburg is certainly not.
Not that long after the great MTP Engage conference took place, the Working Products started into their second edition, gathering passionate product and design people for a two great day exchange of thoughts and knowledge.
The main difference for me personally was that I also delivered a talk about how and when MVPs are too expensive in the context of validation (more on that in a later post).

Format & Organization

The event was held in the facilities of eparo, a UX consulting agency which is also the organizer of the format. Rolf and his team did a great job leveraging the available space for the conference format.

What’s interesting about the Working Products was this year’s organizational schedule: While the ‘formal’ talks were limited to the mornings, the afternoons dedicated to the interactive and collaborative ProductSpace sessions.
This distinction was a welcomed change from traditional conference formats, and it was Alsop attractive enough to keep most of the speakers around for time beyond their keynotes.

As all talks were held in parallel, one always had to choose between Track 1 or 2. Thankfully, the choice which talks to attend wasn’t a limited one, as all presentations were also recorded.
Here are some shared impressions and thoughts from the ones I attended.

Matthias Schrader

The opening keynote was held my Matthias Schrader, CEO of the agency SinnerSchrader. While he was a bit late due to a calendar mix-up, he delivered an interesting talk based on his recent book ‘Transformationale Produkte‘.
As I haven’t read the book yet, it was nice to get a glimpse into its content and visualization. And while I’m probably not the target group for the book, I would highly recommend it to companies facing challenges due to digital transformation as it lays out the underlying mechanics instead of stopping after the glossy surface. It might spare you the next trip to Silicon Valley.

Working Products 2017 - Matthias Schrader

Heide Peuckert

Heide is Head of Product at Nijuko, a development agency based in Hamburg. I previously interviewed her at my German podcast Productish about what it takes to be a PO in a contractor environment.
She gave some extended insights into her daily challenges and struggles and pointed some key pain points out when it comes to working with clients – Some examples were the lack of overall product vision or missing commitment to invest time and money in design, leave alone user research.

Working Products 2017 - Heide Peuckert

Tim Rudolph

Tim was the first real ‘corporate’ guy speaking at the event. He’s leading the digital lab of the logistics company Hermes. And while he couldn’t share that many details regarding the actual output the unit was providing, it was fun to see how they structure their division and which challenges they faced when trying to bring ideas out to the ‘real’ world.
Particularly in the real world business of delivering packages, in which you can’t easily roll an AB test back in case of a missing legal requirement.

Roman Pichler

Roman Pichler is probably known to the majority of German product people out there. Especially for me, he’s kind of a role model who profoundly influenced my appreciation for agile product ownership through his writing and shared thoughts.
So it was evident that I had to attend the talk he gave to open day 2 of the conference. His talk was heavily based on his recent book ‘Strategize‘ which is part of my constantly growing library of product books.

If you’ve read the book, the talk didn’t add much new stuff to it, but it was impressive to experience Roman live and in action.

Working Products 2017 - Roman Pichler

Florian Grote

The last talk I attended was from Florian who shared incredible transformational insights from the music hard- and software company Native Instruments.
While I’m not a huge musician myself, I could imagine the challenges setting up discovery and delivery tracks for such complex, yet intertwined products.

Working Products 2017 - Florian Grote

Summary of the Working Products 2017

My positive impressions of the Working Products 2016 was only confirmed by my attendance of 2017. I love the theoretical and practical balance of the format and have to give a huge compliment to the catering and overall organization.
Despite feeling like a small XING alumni meetup, complemented by some ‘other people,’ I had great chats, and it was an incredible pleasure to finally getting back into public speaking. If you have an event to recommend for giving a product-related talk, feel free to suggest one or refer me.
(Almost) all slides are already available on the homepage, and the video recordings should follow in a couple of days. I curious about the lineup and location of the Working Products 2018 – See you there!