A popular exercise for scoring drivers

Here's an exercise our team has used to great effect. It works best when you've already zeroed in on a major problem you'd like to solve or a significant piece of functionality you plan to deliver but still need to prioritize which features to include.

The exercise

Relevant to Legacy boards only

First, open an existing features board or create a new one. Then, add two drivers to it:

  • Satisfier – To what degree is this table stakes functionality? (We mean basic or expected functionality that solves a key pain point in the product today or that users will be frustrated not to see in your product. For example, support for inline graphics in an email client.)
  • Delighter – To what degree is this exciting/innovative/new functionality that users will love but didn't know to ask for? (Exciting enough to help you win new business, that is.)

Get your team in a room, and filter your board by status, component, or objective to zero in on the current ideas.

Tip: If you haven't customized your statuses to fit your workflow yet, you should.

Explain that you'll be scoring each feature from zero to five based on the degree to which it's a satisfier and a delighter.

To heighten the drama, give each teammate ten seconds to write down each score. Then on the count of three, have everyone share their scores. In cases where scores differ by more than one point, have a brief debate. The most senior PM in the room facilitates the discussion, acts as a tiebreaker, and helps the team settle on a final score.

When the exercise is over, you'll have scored all your features along two particularly valuable dimensions for making prioritization decisions. But you might just find that the very process of debating your disparate scores was the most valuable thing of all.

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