Working Backwards From A Fake Press Release

📅 2021-04-23 • mattyford.com

I’ve recently become involved with figuring out the vision for a major new product capability. This idea has excited many colleagues with the possibilities our successful experiment. However, as there are many competing ideas and overlapping viewpoints, it’s become obvious that arriving early at a conscious will be crucial.

To help find an acceptable middle ground for everyone, I felt it important to try a different technique and firm up our ideas. I chose to write a fake press release and described what we’d like to announce at launch. Initially, I thought this a slightly daunting task but after reading Matty Ford’s blog post from 2014 I found the concept of working backwards very straightforward. The provided template helped me capture the key information and organise my thoughts. I was also encouraged to try the technique after learning it’s been tried and tested by Amazon.

I found the concept of working backwards really helpful and recommend experimenting with it yourselves. I found it cut down the waffle and focus on what was important to share with the reader. Where we find agreement, we’ll have a common vision which will become our Minimal-Viable-Product or Skateboard Version.

Where your stakeholders and development team find unacceptable gaps you should thoroughly discuss those concerns being careful of emotions. The benefit of a fake press release is you can quickly iterate on the content with your stakeholders until you find a shared agreement. Similarly, you could go through the same process of trimming the fat to find a lean deliverable.

This would then allow us to enter the market sooner, and begin testing these ideas with real users. From there, we can iterate, adjusting the product and working towards our much larger vision.

I hope you experiment with this idea for yourself and find it helpful.