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Elevator pitch

Outcome

This is an activity that helps the participants understand the product’s vision.

Audience

All stakeholders, and all members of the product development team.

When to use

This activity is central to gaining a common understanding of the goals of the product, and even more so if there are multiple stakeholders.

Activity

Participants attempt to distill the product’s main features and selling points in explicit terms, taking no longer than thirty seconds to explain.

Preparation

  • Sharpies and large index cards to hold seven large-type lines to list the product’s statement.

Process

  • Organize the participants in equally-sized groups, trying to have cross-functional representation in each, avoiding being organized by silo.
  • Ask the participants to write a concise description of the product in the following format:
    For <target customer>
    who <customer's need>
    the <product>
    is a <solution>
    that <benefits>.
    unlike <other products>
    our product <differentiation>
    
  • After the allotted time, each group presents their pitch to the rest of the participants. After all versions were presented, the consensus should be summarized and documented as the leading option for the product’s statement. This helps set the context of the upcoming development efforts. In addition, document the rejected content, to help set scope.
  • Keep the “winning” pitch in the room for the rest of the inception, as a reminder of what they agreed to build.

Group size

4-5 people per product pitch table.

Timing

  • 5 minutes introduction
  • 5 minutes for setup and team selection
  • 15 minutes for producing the pitches
  • 5 minutes per group for presenting their pitches
  • 10 minutes for voting
  • 5 minutes for posting the selected pitch in the war room

Try to keep this exercise less than an hour.

Example

Notes

  • Make sure that the is not too broad. If the product spans a multitude of target audience, consider splitting to several pitches.
  • Be aware that this exercise is presenting a solution, i.e. the product box represents a vision for the product, and subsequent development will follow its guidelines. Make sure not to do this exercise too early in the inception, and be sure to learn more about the reasons for needing a product before soliciting product attributes.
  • In a highly silo-ed organization, you may pick teams based on their organizational affiliation or specifically cross-organizational. This is to make the point that cross-silo-ed teams produce a ‘rounded’ product rather than a biased product coming from silo-ed teams, for educational purposes.

More information

MindTools elevator pitch