What is a CTP Meeting all about?

I just returned from my first CTP (Citrix Technology Professional) meeting and thought I might share a few experiences.

The meeting took place in one of Citrix’s headquarter buildings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The meeting itself ran over two days, which means that most attendees were away from home and work for four. While that is certainly nice to know, the question you probably have is: “What does actually happen during such a meeting?”

It basically goes like this: You sit in a room with the other CTPs and a roughly equally large number of Citrites and listen to presentations where program managers outline roadmaps and major new features of their specific product. When a thought strikes you, you make a comment that sometimes becomes a major discussion. All this goes on for two days, from 8:00 to 18:00 with practically no break at all, because everything happens at staccato pace. Why so fast? Citrix has so many products and technologies by now, that even with (short!) 30 minute slots per presentation time is extremely scarce. The net effect is – shallowness. Sure, all people in the room are very clever and experienced and can sometimes spot deficiencies in mere seconds. But…

Many topics are complex. And complex needs time. Add to that the facts that good discussions need a “seed time” of probably 15 minutes to get started, and that most problems do not have a single “best” solution but several potential solutions that all have their merits. All these points hint at the following: less topics with more time for each single one.

A Suggestion

Why not divide the time available into halves: a first half where product managers can pitch all they like in a short timeframe. This half would be like most of this week’s CTP meeting.

But then there would also be the second half, in which key topics that are most interesting to both Citrix and the CTPs are discussed in-depth. The agenda for this second half could be voted for by both Citrites and CTPs – that way, both the company and its community would have a say in what needs discussing.

Disclaimer

Why do I make these comments publicly and not on some internal forum or mailing list? I see my role as a CTP as being a representative of the community of Citrix users. Obviously the members of the community have a right to know what their representatives are doing while representing them.

Please note that I wanted to highlight a specific problem in this post – lack of time. That does not mean that we did not have good discussions at all. There were several of those, too, both during the day and during the after hours program. And it was great to meet and talk to all these very smart people. I just have a hunch that it should be possible to make CTP meetings more valuable for everyone – for Citrix, the CTPs and also the whole community.

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6 Responses to What is a CTP Meeting all about?

  1. Michael Keen November 9, 2009 at 04:03 #

    Helge

    I have to agree with you that the time given for these meetings was far from sufficient. I myself continued multiple conversations outside the conference room with some of the product managers to talk about usage and feature sets that should be thought of or “rearchitected”.

    In order to give proper credit to all of the product groups that presented to us, I think there should be at least 90 minutes for each and we schedule three days instead of two. I did like the multiple tracks idea at this one, but that has it’s drawbacks as well.

    I myself was glad to see Citrix product groups and executives opening up the kimono a little more than in the past. I’m anxious for more in depth discussions as we continue throughout the rest of this year and into 2010.

    It was a pleasure to finally meet you in person and I look forward to more meetings with you.

    Cheers
    Michael Keen, CTP CCIA
    Enterprise Strategist

  2. John Fanelli November 9, 2009 at 06:06 #

    Helge,

    First off: Welcome to the CTP Program! :-)

    I am sorry that I was not able to make the trip to Fort Lauderdale for the CTP meeting this time to welcome you in person. My team (Chris Fleck, Gus Pinto, Laura Whalen, et. al.) is responsible for the program. Your feedback is very valuable. I really appreciate the time you take to participate (4 days for a 2 day meeting as you point out) and we strive to make the meetings productive for both the CTP Community and the Citrites that attend.

    We will definitely factor it into our planning for next round. As you indicated, our portfolio of products and technology continues to increase and it makes the meeting agenda challenging.

    Please feel free to send on any additional comments or feedback.

    With regards to posting your comments publicly, I agree with you! We are operating in a very open-minded, transparent mode with the community and encourage everyone to participate.

    Thanks again for your dedication and participation in the CTP Program.

    John Fanelli

  3. Pierre Marmignon November 9, 2009 at 18:48 #

    Dear Helge,

    I totally agree with You about the time constraints and I was also really “frustrated” about not being able to go deeper on some topics, what I did outside the conference room just like many of us.

    Regarding your suggestion, I do really like it. However, I also think along with Michael that the schedule should be done on at least 3 days (so if John is OK that’d lead to a at least 3 days of meeting with a better time management between PM presentations and group discussions).

    Anyway, this first meeting was really awesome regarding the way Citrix is involving CTPs in the Company’s strategy and evolutions and it was a pleasure to meet all CTPs and Citrix representatives in person.

    Best Regards,

    Pierre Marmignon

    http://www.citrixtools.net

  4. Shannon Snowden November 9, 2009 at 18:50 #

    Helge,
    It was great to meet all of the CTPs that could attend and listen to the various comments about each of the products. I think we all concluded we needed more time, probably another day. I’m not a fan of multiple tracks though. We broke off to discuss XenServer and I think we missed some good information about XenDesktop in the main session.

    Overall, I think Citrix did a great job of herding cats for two days.

  5. Helge Klein November 10, 2009 at 00:04 #

    Brian Madden via Twitter:

    Helge Klein sums up why I didn’t attend the Citrix CTP meeting last week: http://bit.ly/3fTeEX

    http://twitter.com/brianmadden/status/5567597812

  6. Steve Greenberg November 10, 2009 at 09:02 #

    I would have liked more time on specific topics, perhaps we can have parallel tracks so you can pick which meeting to attend and then assign more time to each meeting

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