What is the product tree?

The Product Tree is a fun, visual, and functional tool that introduces gamification to product management. It represents a product roadmap in the form of a simple tree, complete with the trunk, branches, roots, and leaves. The branches here represent the product’s key functionality, while the roots represent the requirements for supporting those functionalities (branches). The leaves represent any ideas for new product features.

The tree metaphor invites product management teams to develop ideas on how they can ‘grow’ and shape a product to its completion. It is also a powerful tool that enables teams to prioritize various tasks and collaborate to produce a functional product.

This process is entirely flexible and can be customized for any environment. This means that there are several variations that teams can add to the tree. They can add fruits, such as apples, to represent the Return On Investment (ROI) or seed baskets to act for views that don’t make it to the tree.

How to Play ‘Prune the Product Tree’?

To begin playing ‘prune the product tree,’ you need to look for the essential supplies no further than your workspace. First, you need to sketch the image of a tree with roots, branches, and a trunk on a whiteboard. Alternatively, you can find an online version and print a product tree template. You’ll also need some Post-Its, Sharpies, and the collective effort of all team players.

After gathering all supplies, product managers invite team members to write their ideas on the Post-It notes and hang them on the tree as leaves. As the tree flowers with ideas, every branch is covered by foliage. Once established, leaves can be moved from one location to another or removed entirely, i.e., Pruned. Ideas that you place closer to the trunk are near-term, meaning you should concentrate on them in the immediate future, while those closer to the top indicate long-term development of the product.

The shape of the tree should generate valuable insights from team members. The main issues they should address are;

●     Does the growth appear balanced, or is it focused on a single branch?

●     Can the root system, which represents infrastructure, support surface growth?

Benefits Of The Product Tree

The Product Tree gamifies product development, but it’s far more than a fun tool. It reflects everything product management teams need to know, from functionality to essential feature suggestions. Mapping development using this method allows teams to focus on developing an effective final product. It also elicits a variety of other benefits, including;

●     Requested features are prioritized easily by being placed closer to the trunk.

●     Requirements that you would have otherwise forgotten are identified.

●     Management of input and feedback from stakeholders and customers is incorporated into the process.

●     Teams get and include rich insight from various sources into product development.

●     You can involve customers in the design process to help shape the future of the product/service.

●     Product management teams achieve product excellence when they use this method in product development.

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