Five Days Product Discovery Workshop

Many product companies struggle with a big challenge: how to identify a Minimal Viable Product that will let them quickly validate their product hypothesis? Teams that share the product vision and agree on priorities for features are able to move faster and more effectively.

During this hands-on workshop, we'll take your real product and coach you on how to effectively come up with an evolutionary roadmap for your product.

This week long workshop teaches you how to collaborate on the vision of the product and create a Product Backlog, a User Story map and a pragmatic Release Plan.



When we finish this workshop, your team will have:

  • A prioritized product backlog/roadmap with high-level estimates for the upcoming release
  • A story map to visualize the overall product backlog/roadmap
  • External and internal release milestones
  • Paper prototypes or wire-frames for user stories planned for first internal release
  • A list of important risks and concerns the teams have identified for this project
  • The confidence to start executing the product development

Acceptance Criteria Driven Product Discovery

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the thought process and steps involved during a typical product discovery and release planning session
  • Using various User-Centered Design techniques, learn how to create a User Story Map to help you visualize your product
  • Understand various prioritization techniques that work at the Business-Goal and User-Persona Level
  • Learn how to decompose User Activities into User Tasks and then into User Stories
  • Apply an Acceptance Criteria-Driven Discovery approach to flush out thin slices of functionality that cut across the system
  • Identify various techniques to narrow the scope of your releases, without reducing the value delivered to the users
  • Improve confidence and collaboration between the business and engineering teams
  • Practice key techniques to work in short cycles to get rapid feedback and reduce risk

Collaborative Story Mapping Session Product Discovery Lifecycle

Course Outline

Day 1: Understand Product Context

  • Introduction
  • Domain Overview
  • Define Product Vision
  • Ice Breaker
  • Identify Users That Matter
  • Create User Personas
  • Define User Goals
  • A Day-In-Life Of Each Persona

Day 2: Build Initial Story Map from Activity Model

  • Prioritize Personas
  • Break Down Activities And Tasks From User Goals
  • Lay Out Goals Activities And Tasks
  • Walk Through And Refine Activity Model

Day 3: Create First-Cut Product Road Map

  • Prioritize High Level Tasks
  • Define Themes
  • Refine Tasks
  • Define Minimum Viable Product
  • Identify Internal And External Release Milestones

Day 4: Write User Stories for the First Release

  • Define User Task Level Acceptance Criteria
  • Break Down User Tasks To User Stories Based On Acceptance Criteria
  • Refine Acceptance Criteria For Each Story
  • Find Ways To Further Thin-Slice User Stories
  • Build Quick Paper-Prototype For Vague User Stories
  • Spike Out Risky User Stories
  • Capture Assumptions And Non-Functional Requirements

Day 5: Refine First Internal Release Based on Estimates

  • Define Relative Size Of User Stories
  • Refine Internal Release Milestones For First-Release Based On Estimates
  • Define Goals For Each Release
  • Sketch Out Walking Skeleton Using Wire-frames
  • Discuss And Agree To A Collaborative Working Model In The Team
  • Refine Product And Project Risks
  • Present And Commit To The Plan
  • Retrospective

Method of Instruction

  • Focused Break-Out Sessions, Group Activities, Interactive Dialogues, Presentations, Heated Debates/Discussions and Some Fun Games

Transfer %

  • Knowledge: 40%, Skill-Building: 60%

Target Audience

In the past, this workshop has been most successful if the following roles are present all 5 days:

  • Product Owner
  • Release/Project Manager
  • Subject Matter Expert, Domain Expert, or Business Analyst
  • User Experience team
  • Architect/Tech Lead
  • Core Development Team (including developers, testers, DBAs, etc.)

Ideally the number of participants for this workshop is 10-12 people.

Idea Team for Product Discovery

Course Level

  • Intermediate to Advanced

Course Prerequisites

  • Required: basic understanding of Agile (iterative and incremental software delivery models)
  • Required: buy-in and support from senior management
  • Highly Recommended: co-located team members for this workshop

General Requirements

To ensure a successful workshop, we require the following facilities:

  • VGA projector (1024x768 minimum)
  • Projector screen
  • Speakers (to connect instructor's machines. Sound should be audible to the whole class)
  • 2 Large White board
  • Dry erase Markers, Flip chart and Easel


  • 25x30 inch - Large sheets of poster paper (PostIt Flip-charts) - (3 bundle of 25 sheets each)
  • Sharpie markers (2 Boxes each containing 10 Sharpies - 2 colors - Black and Blue)
  • Scotch Tape to stick - 2 rolls
  • Scotch Double-Sided Adhesive Pen- 2
  • Scotch Masking Tape
  • 2 Glue Sticks
  • 3 x 5 index cards - 100
  • PostIt Stickies - Notes 654-5AQ
    • 1.5x2 - (3 colors - Green, Yellow and Pink - 200 each - Total 600)
    • 3x3 - (3 colors - Green, Yellow and Pink - 200 each - Total 600)
    • 4x6 - (1 color - Blue - 200)
  • 2 Pairs of Scissors
  • 25 A4 Transparent Sheets
  • 100 A4 White Paper
  • Digital Camera for taking pictures/video


  • Reconfigurable room with U-Shape & small round-tables
  • Spacious conference room with enough wall space to stick things up
  • Two additional breakout rooms will be handy
  • Lunch with 2 Coffee/Tea/Snacks breaks

Once an agreement for the workshop is confirmed, we will work with your designated contact to ensure that the environment is configured properly prior to the workshop.


"I come away from the Product Discovery Workshop having learned a great deal about the process and equally about many strategies and nuances of facilitating it. Invaluable!

Naresh clearly has extensive experience with the Product Discovery Workshop. He conveys the principles and practices underlying the process very well, with examples from past experience and application to the actual project addressed in the workshop. Naresh's ability to quickly relate to the project and team members, and to focus on the specific details for the decomposition of this project at the various levels (goals/roles, activities, tasks), is remarkable and a good example for those learning to facilitate the workshop. Key take-aways for me include the technique of acceptance criteria driven decomposition or mapping, and the point that it is useful to map existing software to provide a baseline framework for future additions."

-- Doug Brophy, Agile Expert, GE Energy

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