Day# 197: The Feature Game

Day# 197: The Feature Game

Hey Uxers! I was recently in a situation where various departments involved in a project were all adamant about different features to be added to the product. It started as a constructive session between departments and quickly turned into a power struggle. I then decided to change up the meeting and implement a playful little game to ease the tension. I had heard about the Feature Game a while back, and had thought I would perhaps plan for it, if the moment ever arises, however as not everything always goes as planned this ended up being an unplanned task.

In these situations, UX also stands for mediator and you will have to collaborate and help everyone work together for the common goal of the happy end user. So how this works is you list all the features that everyone is squabbling about, each individual is then given about 2 – 3 sticky notes. If you feel various people involved are being or will be influenced by others when making their choices then have them stick their stickies in isolation, and you can either monitor this yourself or have some sort of secret voting ballot system. Yes you think this sounds dramatic but when office politics come into the picture, it can really affect final outcomes. The idea for me on the day was to do a mock purchase of features. I would present a feature and people would be able to state how much they would pay for it, remember each sticky can have a fictitious amount of money written on it as well to create added value for the game. As you can see you can make this activity more serious however because there was already a lot of tension in the room, I opted for a more playful version of the game.

When you take an idea and have it separate to the creator of that idea, people feel less obligated to agree and force the issue, whether the idea is their own or their bosses. A way to prepare for these types of feature meetings in advance, would be to ask everyone’s ideas in advance, and have the features on the board when everyone walks in. Explain to team leads and others who came up with the ideas, that they should not state that the ideas are their own. This way people have no idea where the ideas came from and will feel no hesitance in scrapping the ones they don’t like. Happy researching until next time Uxers!

Bye for now

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