I'm just back home after an amazing trip to London, where I had the pleasure of presenting a Digital PM Workshop with Sam Barnes. This is not the first time I've presented this type of workshop, but it was the first time I've done it internationally, and with such a large group.
So, How'd It Go?
We started with brief introductions and did that annoying thing where presenters ask you to introduce yourself to the person next to you (I always hate that!). Turns out, people actually WANTED to do that. I had a really hard time getting the room to quiet back down after a few minutes of chatter. From that point on, I knew the evening was going to be fun and engaging…and maybe a little difficult unless I was willing to raise my voice over the microphone.
Right after that, we went into a project planning exercise that I've used several times in varying adaptations with groups at SXSW, University of the Arts workshops, and smaller meetings. Essentially, there are two project scenarios that seem a bit ridiculous, but you have 10 minutes to come up with an approach based on your own knowledge, process, and assumptions. Because there were 100 people in the room, we had them work alone, and then combine into small groups to discuss their personal plans and then work together to come up with a "master" plan. The most fun part of the exercise for me was at the end with group presentations, because we had attendees tweet a photo of their plan with the #LondonDPM hashtag so we could show them on the large screens to the room for them. Technology! (There were 5 screens in the room--awesome setup for a workshop of this size.)
After a short break and beers provided last-minute by the fine folks at Microsoft, we started in on a presentation Sam and I prepared. We talked through our respective PM Toolkits and how we use them, Processes and what we follow (hint: nothing formal), and how to set and manage expectations. I really enjoyed this part of the night, because it allowed Sam and I to share some ideas, but we were also able to learn more about how others are working. There were a couple of points in conversation that got a bit off track, but it was actually pretty interesting to hear some perspectives that were a bit outside of the agency PM perspective.
In the end, we were able to bring it back to some more practical PM Q&A and chat with the group about things like the PM career path, time tracking, and handling slipping timelines with clients. I honestly think we could have chatted for another 2 hours without a break. But our time was up and it was time to head to the pub, where I was happy to meet a few more people.
How I Really Feel
Overall, I'm so happy with how everything went. I could not be more pleased with the feedback. I just did another quick scan of the #LondonDPM hashtag on Twitter, and not only was the response great, people are still using the hashtag to communicate ideas. That's how it's designed to work! Success.
On top of that, I feel lucky to have worked with someone I truly look up to (in a strictly figurative sense), Mr. Sam Barnes. The man is a true professional, and I hope to be able to do more stuff like this with him in the future. There's one thing I know: I'll see him in October at the Digital PM Summit in Philadelphia, where both of us will be speaking!
If you were a part of the event: THANK YOU. I truly enjoyed myself. If we didn't get to chat, please feel free to get in touch. I'd love nothing more than to make more connections, hear feedback, or chat more about all things PM. If there is anything you do, though, please do me a favor: keep the momentum going with the DPM community in London. Continue to connect with people on Twitter, write a blog post, share your ideas, set up a meetup, etc. There's a lot of momentum and a ton of great people to keep this going. I hope I can come back at some point to a crowd two times the size…and energy!