Preparing for the Game
You'll need a list of between 8 and 20 features to prioritize, one feature per card. Write the feature on the front of the card and the benefit statements ascribed to this feature on the back because customers will often ask about benefits during the playing of the game (see Figure 2.19). Create three to four identical sets of feature cards because some of the variants of the game described next use more than one set of cards.
Figure 2.19. Feature Card
For each feature card that you create, prepare a simple set of design continuums for this feature. A design continuum is a set of high-level design alternatives prepared by the development team that helps shape a possible feature. Design continuums usually range from a "low" to a "high," with an associated high-level analysis of the merits and implications of the choice. For example, suppose you were creating a kitchen timer and you were considering the materials for the case. A "low-end" casing could be plastic (cheap, easily colored, easily breakable), a "mid-range" casing could be aluminum (more expensive, durable), and a "high-end" casing could be one of the higher grades of austenitic stainless steel (expensive, durable, resistant to corrosion). This helps prepare you for playing the game; customers will often ask questions about a feature that can be framed around design continuums, with the ensuing discussion providing significant help to the development team in understanding market needs.
Play the game with internal stakeholders (sales, customer service, technical support, the development team) before playing it with real customers. You'll gain valuable insights into the priorities of your team while also increasing your comfort with using this technique. This is especially important when you're unclear of the strategic corporate priorities that are driving your company or your product.