The Product Canvas: A Complementary View | TechWell

The Product Canvas: A Complementary View

Many people who have been following the lean movement in software development will be familiar with the business model canvas—a graphical layout that helps you focus on the drivers validating a business or product as something worth investing in.

Roman Pichler has created a product canvas—a complementary view, which when used with a business model canvas, provides similar benefits to the product owner that the business model canvas provides to the product manager.

The business model canvas forces the product manager to answer questions that identify if the idea is viable—what are the value props, what is the cost structure, who are the key customers, how will the product be distributed, etc. Each of the items is a potential blind spot that must be addressed to have confidence that the product has a chance at market viability.

The product canvas helps a product owner to drive focus on what to do next from an outside-in perspective, with sections that range from persona identification and scenario identification to epics and user stories, as well as a place to capture design ideas and implementation constraints.

The two tools are meant to be used together, and Pichler designed the product canvas to be used in conjunction with a business model canvas. 

While the preferred way to use the canvas is as a physical artifact, if you need to collaborate with remote teams, Pichler suggests that you take a picture and post it on your wiki or use an electronic version like the one created by Johan Steenkamp.

Many agile teams complain that their product backlogs have grown into a giant list of stuff and that they are unable to understand the impetus of why particular items have made it into the backlog.

The product canvas is a tool that shows how those epics and stories have evolved in the context of targeting particular users and uses. In conjunction with a business model canvas, teams will also be able to glean the business context in which particular stories have been prioritized.

What tricks do you have for keeping your product backlog from becoming a "giant list of stuff"? Click on Comment on this story to share your ideas and solutions.

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