This is an activity that helps the participants understand the product’s vision.
All stakeholders, and all members of the product development team.
This activity is central to gaining a common understanding of the goals of the product, and even more so if there are multiple stakeholders.
Participants attempt to distill the product’s main features and selling points as if it were a physical product on a store’s shelf.
- Fun version: Enough stationary supplies for each group to be able to construct a physical box that represents the product being studied. Colors, scissors, tape, and material for construction.
- Express version: Sharpies and paper to write the product’s description.
- Tables and seats for the groups.
- Organize the participants in equally-sized groups, trying to have cross-functional representation in each, avoiding being organized by silo.Ask the participants to imagine that the product will be sold in a box.
- Ask them to design the box so that it best describes the product, conveys it’s attributes and appeal to buyers.
- After the allotted time, each group presents their box to the rest of the participants.
- After all versions have been presented, the consensus should be summarized and documented as the leading option for the product’s description. This helps set the context of the upcoming development efforts. In addition, document the rejected content, to help set scope.
- Keep the “winning” box in the room for the rest of the inception, as a reminder of what the team agreed to build.
4-5 people per product box table.
- 5 minutes introduction
- 5 minutes for setup and team selection
- 20 minutes for producing the boxes
- 5 minutes per group for presenting their product
- 10 minutes for voting
- 5 minutes for posting the selected product in the war room
Try to keep this exercise less than an hour.
- 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.