Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


Please Make It Make Sense: Product Management Methods to Make Your Project's Purpose Clear

In this talk I'll share lessons learned over years spent as a program manager and product manager contributing to open source projects, mostly in the cloud native space. I'll explain how backlog refinement, prioritization, roadmapping, user research and data collection, and project management basics can help your project stand out as uniquely valuable in a crowded landscape—drawing from real-world examples. To help you gain clarity on your project's goals and core attributes, I'll talk about how to overcome "assumption-driven development" to become a better listener to your users. Throughout, I'll also show you how incorporating product management methods can help you to avoid frustration and burnout, whether you're a maintainer or a contributor.

This talk will provide an overview of select techniques used by product managers to drive decision-making, focus, and results-oriented experimentation. These techniques will be presented in a manner that takes into consideration the realities and practicalities of trying to achieve development goals in the open source context. For those of you working in open source as part of your day jobs, I'll also discuss how to align your project's delivery objectives with your employer's product roadmap so that you increase the chances of getting the staffing, support, and recognition you want.

By the end, you will hopefully take away new knowledge and insights into how to tame your backlog, surface your core objectives and problems to be solved, make your users happier, and keep yourselves—and your fellow contributors—productive with purpose.


Photo of Lauri Apple Lauri Apple