I've kicked off a lot of projects (literally hundreds that span product, brand, marketing, campaign, social and everything in between).
Each has it's own flavor and purpose but I get asked about product kick-off (products enabled by tech, but I consider a product a service that customers hire to accomplish an end goal).
So here are my notes for a product kick-off...
What is the purpose & what do we want to get out of the kick-off?
The kick-off is to help us define the customers, identify problems & pain points as well as the services that con ed currently provides.
This will help inform the discussion guides as well as recruit customers to perform in depth interviews.
Start with an overview of what we are doing and how we are doing it (the discovery process), so they know what it looks like.
Go over high level goals for Discovery for each workstream following an approach that allows us to understand product / solution fit:
- Understand (alot of this for me is about understanding customer challenges and also finding unique or novel insights or surprising facts that push the teams away from generic solutions).
- Define (this is really about value props)
- Design / Prototype (I use everything from Keynote and InVision to Framer)
- Validate / Test (more on the difference later)
What are we looking to do
1. Customer (problem) research
- Complete discovery questionnaires as team. These will be used to inform us of what we need to find out from customers, assumptions we need to validate and problems / pain points we want to explore.
- Perform stakeholder interviews - who are they, what do they need?
- From interviews we create surveys we send to larger audience to verify what we found out (if we can that would be good)
- Story maps (if we need)
- Customer profiles / proto personas (this helps us map out our customers and their types)
- Empathy Maps (same thing - a tool to help create empathy and even capture information coming from interviews)
2. Insight development
Once we do research we use lean tools to start to pull apart problems and begin to develop value props for them.
- Develop Problem/opportunity statements (this is what helps us identify the real problems or opps. we are solving for later)
- Value prop canvas / value prop mapping (develop value prop statements etc)
- Write challenge statements
- Opportunity briefs / prompts
3. Design studio workshops
Once we have identified some problems, have insights and started to define basic value props we get the team together (possibly with con ed) to do “design studio” and essentially give them “prompts” so they can knock against it�
- Problem framing (using problem statements & challenge statements from earlier)
- Post-ups & sketching (8-ups etc)
- Evaluate solutions (against proto-personas etc) and then develop rough prototypes (paper or otherwise) that we can further evaluate / vet with team
- Write sample user stories (just as an exercise) - we can also write job stories (when, I want to, so that) or gherkin acceptance criteria (given, when, then)
4. Validation of proposed solutions
- Go back out and validate / vet potential solutions with customers to see how we are solving their problems
- Create prioritized backlog, user stories and roadmap from what we find out
- This we can then hand to the team to start to really build out prioritized solutions / features with a roadmap.
NOTE: I think the first MVP sessions were about backlog and user stories. To me I think big picture the path we are headed down is product / solution fit so perhaps we do a little setup about that - I‘ve have some things written about that so we this doesn’t just turn into a requirements gathering session.