Not sure what to work on first? Terrible at prioritizing what’s most important about a project? Need a quick, fun, and easy way to make sure everyone’s voice is heard? Well why not try buying a feature? That’s exactly what happened in class for both groups at the instruction of our teacher, and honestly, I really enjoyed it. So much that I plan on using this idea in projects outside of school, whether for serious matters or just as a helpful decision making tool with friends and family.
Buying a feature essentially has you take each feature you have decided on being important for a product, and writing each down individually on its own index card. From there you pass out exactly one of each denomination of currency to each member of your team. In class we used monopoly money photo copied on white sheets of paper; I’d most likely use playing cards in the event that I used this method again outside of class. Once everyone has one of each currency, each member places a bill face down on a feature until they have voted once on each feature. After votes have been placed, the values of each bill are shown, and features arranged according to initial value. From there, starting with the developers or lowest ranking team members in terms of management, and ending with the product owner, everyone may silently move one feature up one or down one. Then the discussion may begin. Once all features have been voted on, the process can then be repeated for any features of features, and so on, and so forth.
This gives a general idea of where the team is at in terms how important they feel features are, allows each individual team member a chance to affect the results in a meaningful way after the fact, all while still resting final say with the product owner.
In the end, none of this is set in stone and when it comes to actually developing the product, the order very well may change, but this at least gives a starting point to go off of.Below are the results of my teams go with Buying Features for our game Mischief.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable experience, and I’m glad to have had it introduced to me.