How to Create an Impactful Product Wall

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Jan 11, 2024

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As a product manager, you need to use tools that help your team work together and understand things better. The Product Wall is one of these tools that really changes things. It's more than just a tool; it's a graphic story of how the product was made. This piece starts a journey of discovery into making a Product Wall by using useful information from Teem's own experiences. We start by explaining what a Product Wall is. A Product Wall is more than just a display; it's a complete visual picture of your product's lifecycle, from idea to launch. It's very important because it helps people on the team talk to each other and work together toward shared goals. As a focal point, the Product Wall tells a visible, ever-changing story of your product's progress, problems, and successes. It's a smart tool that not only helps the team work together better but also keeps them focused on the bigger picture and the specifics of the product development process.

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What is a product wall?

A product wall is a physical or digital display that visually represents the entire lifecycle of a product, from its conception to release and beyond. It serves as a comprehensive and dynamic tool for product managers, teams, and stakeholders to communicate, track, and understand the progress of various projects within an organization.

Typically organized as a timeline or series of shelves, the product wall is divided into sections that correspond to key stages in the product development process. These stages may include research, design, development, testing, beta releases, and production releases. Each section showcases the projects or products currently in that phase, allowing for a quick and accessible overview of the entire product landscape.

Why is a product wall required?

The product wall promotes transparency and collaboration by providing a shared space where team members can visualize the status of ongoing initiatives. This visual representation helps align different departments, such as sales, marketing, and support, with the goals and timelines of the product team. It becomes a focal point for discussions, enabling teams to prioritize tasks, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions.

One crucial aspect of the product wall is its adaptability. As projects progress through different phases, they move along the timeline or between shelves, offering a real-time reflection of the development cycle. The wall often incorporates additional information, such as company vision, product strategy, and ongoing research, providing context and a holistic view of the organization's product portfolio.

The product wall's interactive nature allows team members to engage with the displayed information, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration. By creating a tangible representation of the product development journey, the product wall becomes a powerful tool for promoting understanding, alignment, and effective decision-making process within an organization.

How to create a product wall?

Begin the process of populating your Product Wall with the following steps:

Step 1: Setting the Foundation

Initiate the process by selecting a designated area for your Product Wall. Opt for a location that is easily accessible to the entire organization, fostering collaboration and cross-departmental interaction. At Teem, their strategic placement near the sales team exemplifies this approach.

Begin the creation of your Product Wall by naming it, selecting the language, and choosing its orientation. Additionally, add relevant tags for efficient categorization. This foundational step aims to set the stage for a compelling narrative about your company's vision, product strategy, target personas, roadmap, ongoing research, development progress, beta testing, and recent releases.

Step 2: Building the Product Wall

Begin the process of populating your Product Wall with the following steps:

3. Creating Shelves and Racks:

Establish a structured timeline from left to right or top to bottom.

Introduce shelves and racks to signify different stages of your product development process (e.g., research, development, beta testing, releases).

2. Adding Products (Projects) to Shelves:

Populate each shelf with products, representing individual features. Utilize a drag-and-drop approach to place projects onto the corresponding shelves.

Implement a visual language to differentiate between features in progress, those in beta testing, and those already released.

3. Setting Limits for Work in Progress (WIP):

Maintain focus and prevent overload by setting limits on the number of features in progress. 

Step 3: Enhancing Visibility and Communication

1. Adding Additional Information:

Incorporating detailed information into your Product Wall is a crucial step to provide a thorough view of your organization's product landscape. This additional information serves as the contextual backdrop that helps stakeholders understand the "why" behind each project.

Start by integrating your company's vision, outlining the long-term goals and aspirations that drive your product development efforts. This element ensures that every team member is aligned with the overarching mission, fostering a sense of purpose and unity.

Next, articulate the product strategy on the wall. Define the key initiatives, target market segments, and competitive positioning. This strategic layer helps teams make informed decisions during the development process, ensuring that every project contributes meaningfully to the company's overall objectives.

Ongoing research specifics should also find a place on the Product Wall. This could include insights gained from user interviews, market analysis, or competitive benchmarking. By sharing these details, teams gain a deeper understanding of the evolving landscape, fostering adaptability and innovation.

Regular updates to the Product Wall are paramount. As projects progress and priorities shift, it's essential to reflect these changes promptly. This ensures that everyone within the organization remains on the same page, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and misalignment.

2. Interactive Elements:

Fostering an interactive environment on the Product Wall enhances accessibility and engagement. By allowing anyone in the organization to access designs and project details at any time, you empower team members to stay informed and contribute more effectively.

Consider implementing technology solutions or QR codes linked to project repositories. This enables instant access to detailed information, fostering a culture of transparency and continuous collaboration. Interactive elements not only make the Product Wall a valuable source of information but also transform it into a dynamic hub for ongoing discussions and updates.

3. Incorporating an Idea Wall:

Creating a designated space for the Idea Wall encourages a culture of innovation and collaboration. This separate section allows team members to contribute ideas that align with the company's vision and strategy. This could include novel features, process improvements, or entirely new product concepts.

Establishing a routine for reviewing and prioritizing these ideas is critical. Regular meetings or workshops can bring together stakeholders to discuss, evaluate, and collectively decide which ideas should move forward. This collaborative decision-making process ensures that the most promising ideas are integrated into the product development pipeline.

By enriching your Product Wall with additional information, interactive elements, and an Idea Wall, you create a centralized platform that not only communicates the current state of your product development but also fosters a culture of transparency, collaboration, and innovation within your organization.

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A well-organized Product Wall goes beyond just showing your product development journey visually; it's about being clear, talking more openly, and making sure everyone in the organization is on the same page with the company's vision. It acts as a strong tool to stay focused, handle ongoing work effectively, and ensure everyone understands the product roadmap together. In simple terms, the Product Wall isn't just about pictures; it's a way to keep things clear, talk better, and make sure everyone in the team is moving in the same direction as the company's big goals. Boost your product management expertise and skyrocket your career with the Professional Scrum Master Certification. Gain the skills to lead agile teams effectively, as endorsed by industry standards. Enroll now and take a significant step towards becoming a certified Scrum professional (PSM).

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