Gaining Momentum

Celebrating the power of software product development, ITX recently wrapped up its 3-day product conference filled with interactive workshops, inspiring keynote presentations, and networking.

During Product Momentum: Beyond the Features – the Rochester, NY region’s first-of-its-kind software product conference – ITX assembled industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and product people committed to creating innovative solutions to complex high-tech problems. With a goal of fostering an atmosphere in which collective learning and knowledge sharing thrive, Beyond the Features succeeded by every measure. Participants learned from industry leaders – and from each other – about the power and thrill that momentum creates in a digital product environment.

With collaboration and enthusiasm, we discovered new techniques and tools for creating better digital products – products that move, touch, and inspire the world.

Key Takeaways by Speaker

“We need to be thinking, ‘what if we could design products and services in a way that could help people form healthy habits in their lives?’”

Nir Eyal revealed the advantage that habit-forming products bring in a competitive market. The Hook model provides a framework to the design process, using some well-established consumer psychology. For products that need a repeat engagement, he says, designers can build into the product the key features that trigger the action, the reward, and the investment to make sure they’re building the right thing.

“To be a successful product manager, you need to be curious. You need to be good at self-learning. If you love learning, you’ll make a great product manager.”

Christina Wodtke ran a mini-workshop during the conference, explaining how building strong relationships “creates psychological safety” within teams. These relationships provide the foundation for setting OKRs. In her keynote, Influence Without Authority, Christina provided tips and strategies for product managers who carry a lot of the responsibility for product success, but sometimes little authority to make it happen.

“When product managers specify the needs that your product will address, you’re also deciding all the other benefits that it won’t address. The essence of strategy is saying ‘no.’”

Dan Olsen concluded the conference with a comprehensive presentation of his Product-Market Fit, offering The Kano Model and Value Proposition Grid as tools that product managers can use to prioritize customer needs and weigh the impact of feature importance vs. customer satisfaction. “Product people don’t make tradeoffs until they have to,” he said.


Participant Insights

Great minds came together

To conclude the conference, strategic marketing consultant and Beyond the Features emcee Mike Gastin facilitated a dynamic panel discussion and audience Q&A that included keynotes Dan Olsen and Christina Wodtke, who were joined by Mark Oney, SVP Product Operations at EmployeeChannel, Inc., and John Schloff, Executive Professor, Simon Business School, University of Rochester. Mike launched the conversation seeking career path advice for students and product managers new to the role. Panelist responses led to discussion of the Rochester area’s growing impact on the digital product development scene regionally, nationally, and globally. Looking to share their views of “what’s next,” the panel offered their vision of the future of the product manager role, its challenges and opportunities.

Brimming with a diverse array of enthusiastic learners – from designers and product managers to keynote speakers and business leaders – ITX’s Product Momentum: Beyond the Features conference energized everyone in attendance, inspiring us all to explore our product development horizons.

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