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!

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