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What is the Product Tree?


Definition of the Product Tree

The Product Tree is a visual tool that brings gamification to product management — but it’s far from just a fun tool to use. The branches of the Product Tree represent the product’s primary functionalities, the roots become the requirements necessary to support those branches, and the leaves stand in for ideas for new features.

Mapping development in this way helps teams to prioritize and work more collaboratively toward a successful end product.

How do you play ‘Prune the Product Tree’?

Before playing ‘Prune the Product Tree’, you’ll need to print a Product Tree template. You will also need to gather Post-It notes, sharpies, and all members of your product team. 

Next, Product Managers ask team members to write their ideas on a Post-It note (AKA “a leaf”) and stick them onto the tree. Soon, branches should be covered with leaves as the tree blossoms with ideas. 

Then, move leaves from one area to another, or take them off entirely. The ideas you place closest to the tree trunk are the ones to concentrate on in the near future. Those closer to the top should represent long-term growth. 

How the Product Tree benefits product teams

One of the Product Tree’s core advantages is that all team members have an equal opportunity to highlight those features they consider essential to a product’s success. 

Other benefits include: 

  • Feature requests can be prioritized easily

  • Product teams can pinpoint requirements that may have been unknown previously

  • Companies can create higher-quality products

  • Input from customers and stakeholders can be managed more effectively

General FAQ

What is a product tree?
A Product Tree is a visual tool used to prioritize product feature requests and manage input from stakeholders & customers. The entire product team can evaluate their ideas related to priority features in a simple and streamlined way.
Who created the product tree?
Writer Like Hohmann introduced the concept of ‘Prune the Product Tree’, in his book Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play. The game has since gained traction and become a common solution for product teams.
What is the idea of pruning the product tree?
‘Pruning the Product Tree’ involves looking at a product’s features and feature requests to understand which should be prioritized. Each team-member writes ideas on a Post-It note, representing one of the tree’s leaves, and the group works together to find its appropriate position on the tree.

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