...copyright Elena Yatzeck, 2010-2017

Monday, August 1, 2011

Distributed Product Management with Innovation Games(TM)

My friends at Innovation Games have given me access to a set of really incredible online games that you can use for distributed "Iteration 0" or "Inception" activities, depending on what you call them. Try this one out, and let me know what you think! Cheers!

Bang for the Buck Prioritization:
Timing: 1 hour

  • A list of backlog items (epics / stories) to prioritize.
Players (5..8 recommended):
  • Product Manager / Product Owner
  • Development Team

Bang For the Buck

The goal of this game is to collaboratively rank a backlog based on estimated value and estimated cost. The y-axis is the value of an epic or story and the x-axis is the cost. Each axis is organized as a Fibonacci number. We typically use this game for release planning.

Clicking on this image, will start an “instant play” game at www.innovationgames.com. You'll see this image as the "game board" and an icon of a light bulb in the top left corner of this window. The light bulb represents the backlog items you want to prioritize. To add a backlog item onto the game board, simply drag it from the top left and describe it.

Now the fun begins! While any player can move a light bulb at any time, the game works best when the product manager focuses on getting the light bulbs in the right place vertically, while the development team puts the items in the right place horizontally.

Use the integrated chat facility to negotiate about the items. And any player can edit the items to keep track of the agreements of the team. This means that items will move around during the game as the value of an item increases or decreases or the development team considers various ways of implementing an item.

To get the final results of the game, simply download the Excel spreadsheet. All of the items and their Fibonacci values will be available to you for post-processing, including all of the chats.

Key Points:
  • This is not a learning game. This is a "do work" game. When you're done with this game, you'll be able to get a much better sense about how to prioritize your backlog items by reviewing them in clockwise order.
  • Scott Selhorst explains this game with more detail here.