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Lean vs. Roadmap Throwdown!

When is it better to have a committed roadmap, and when is it better to remain flexible and pivot? Come witness two veteran product guys duke it out over these polar opposite approaches to product development.

Each of our speakers has decades of product management experience -- and both are on their third startup. Bring your questions, problems and conundrums and see whose answers resonate best!

In the Lean Corner -
Steven Cohn, CEO of ProdThink will present a case study of how a small team used the Lean approach to go from idea to paying customers. He will discuss how he:

• Validated the need

• Got his first paying customers

• Learned their marketing funnel metricS

• Validated their pricing plan and go to market strategy

Though not a Lean expert, Steven say he is "just an entrepreneur who read a lot about Lean and did my best to apply its principles.”

In the Roadmap Corner -
Bruce McCarthy, Founder and Chief Product Person of UpUp Labs, will present a 5-step approach to strategic roadmapping that any company can use at any stage to inspire their customers with a vision, their investors with confidence, and their team with the drive to execute. He will discuss how to:

• Set product goals based on strategic goals

• Set priorities objectively and collaboratively

• Use shuttle diplomacy to refine your plan and get buy-in

• Use transparent themes to communicate benefit to your stakeholders

• Use punctuated equilibrium to adjust course toward your vision

“It’s about projecting your commitment to the needs of a particular group,” says Bruce.

The Aftermath -
Are there times and places for each approach or can these extremes never be reconciled? Can Lean approaches be used in more traditional settings and roadmaps help drive startups?

Stay after these presentations to ask questions of these two thought leaders and put their approaches to the test!


6:30 - 7:00 Networking and Pizza

7:00 - 8:00 Steven Cohn on how he used Lean to go from idea to paying customers

8:00 - 9:00 Bruce McCarthy on the challenges in building an inspiring roadmap 

9:00 - 9:30 : Questions, wrap up and more networking


We will be in the Benioff conference room on the first floor


Steven Cohn, CEO of ProdThink -

My personal motto is: I try hard to be a good father, husband and entrepreneur.

ProdThink is my 3rd startup. I sold my first two to LivingSocial and TripAdvisor. In addition to my startups, I am an alumnus of DoubleClick, Quantcast and Harvard Business School.

I created ProdThink because I was frustrated with the lack of data accessible about features going into my sprint planning meetings. I had a ton of data post build/release, but I felt that decision making was too opinion driven for pre-build planning.

I have two high energy sons and a very supportive wife.

Bruce McCarthy, Founder and Chief Product Person, UpUp Labs -

Bruce is proud to say that, as a young man, he used LEGOs to obtain food and attract a mate.

Bruce has founded three companies and has led teams in organizations ranging from startups to market leaders such as Art Technology Group, Oracle and D&B. His executive-level positions include, most recently, VP of Product at NetProspex. Along the way, he has demonstrated his leadership in areas ranging from marketing to acquisitions (on both sides of the table) to product management and development.

A dedicated evangelist for better products and product management, Bruce founded UpUp Labs in 2012. Through it, he offers consulting services and applies his expertise to building innovative tools like Reqqs, the forthcoming smart roadmap tool for product people.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    If anyone's looking to add talent to their startup team check out DapperJobs ( You can post a job for free using "product" as a code.

    We know that for small teams, finding someone you actually want to work with is important. Unlike normal job boards, we're focused on the culture/personality side of things.

    If you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear how we can improve our product!

    December 27, 2013

  • Bruce M.

    Great group of people passionate about great products and how they're made

    1 · December 16, 2013

  • Steven C.

    Really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for the great questions.

    1 · December 16, 2013

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