Friday, February 05, 2010

Product Owners and Innovation Games(r)

A product backlog needs to be well thought out.  Are we prioritizing the right features?  Are the features really what our customers want?  Are we missing anything?

The least effective product backlogs come from limited viewpoints or from seemingly endless boring meetings dominated by a few voices.  They result in one-dimensional backlogs whose vision isn't understood or shared by the team.  This impacts the potential of what a game can be.

How can backlog creation be made more collaborative, innovative and effective?  The best way I've found is to introduce gaming to backlog creation. 

In search of solutions, I recently attended an Innovation Games (r) Master Class for Scrum trainers in San Jose run by Luke Hohman.  Innovation Games (r) have been used in a wide range of product design and is the subject of a great book.  For two days, we practiced selecting, running and facilitating each of the game types.  Some of the games I'd used in past training (like "Product Box").  Most were new.  It really opened my eyes to the science and psychology behind such games and the power they hold.

In March, I'm planning to attend the first Certified Product Owner training class designed with Innovation Games(r) with Luke and Mitch Lacey, an excellent Certified Scrum Trainer, in Seattle.  I'm very much looking forward to attending this class.  I highly recommend it for any product owner, especially those working on video games.

I can't imagine a better application of gaming for product planning than for video games!

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