August meeting wrap up – Prune the Product Tree

At our August meetup, we played Prune the Product Tree which is one of the Innovation Games (you can pick up the book at Amazon… link below).

I’m a big fan of the games.  They’re a much more interesting way of getting to the information you need than a ‘brainstorming meeting’ or some of the other faciliated sessions I’ve attended during my life.  It can help build common understanding amongst the folks on the team, it lets you visually see the product as a whole (not just 1 feature in isolation) & it’s fun!   Speedboat is one I’ve used on several occasions to help think about issues & visualise feedback.  I’ve recently used Buy a Feature during customer groups to assist in understanding needs & to assist in feature prioritisation – and got some great feedback from the attendees.

Prune the Product tree can be used for

  • priorisitation
  • to help build your roadmap
  • in developing new ideas
  • to understand what the eco system around the product needs (documentation, sales team training, etc)
  • understanding which features can be removed

It’s really easy to faciliate too – just grab some paper & pens.   You can get fancy & print out a tree & create leaves or go really low-fi.

We did a bit of both…  some creatively sketched trees with green paper for leaves.

We decided to focus on Melbourne’s public transport.  Later someone suggested using green, brown, red, yellow leaves as a way to show the maturity of the item.

We could have spent days working on this – in fact, we did talk about it needing to be a forest, not just 1 tree!   With the time constraints we focused on

  • modes of transport – where’s the jet packs? the water taxis?
  • ticketing
  • infrastructure
  • organising a trip

And of course the tree metaphors are fun!  We really wanted to hack off the Myki branch!  We wondered what would you need to do to make sure your tree continues to grow?  How do you make sure it makes it to 100 years old?

Looking for more resources?  Growing your product tree is a great blog post talking about their experience.

Hope to see you at our September session about managing customers!

27th September meet up – Managing your customers.

This month’s session is on the topic of how you manage your customers.  We talk about them all the time, but I was reminded by a question put to me by a friend in a start-up about the changing stages of customer engagement.  Whether you’re in a pilot phase of a product, a start-up, a cash cow or legacy product, what are some of the things that hold true across each of these stages of interaction?  What differs?  And either way, how well are we all doing at that??

To get yourselves a little mentally pre-prepared here are a few of the structured questions that will be proposed to the group:

  1. Do you find this easy or hard?  What are your tips?  What are you obstacles?
  2. What changes with the scale/number of customers?
  3. How do you move a customer from VIP status to just like everyone else?
  4. How does the feedback fit into your product dev/release cycle?
  5. What have you seen others do well that you would like to do as well?
  6. How do you give updates back to your customers?  At the time? Via release notes Other?

Any comments or thoughts, if you can’t make it feel free to add here! Location will be the Bull and Bear Tavern on Flinders lane.

See you there!