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Buy a Feature / Travel Agency

Below is the first version of the facilitation guide. Since it is online, it might evolve and enrich over time. Good luck in facilitating this serious game and wishing you all the playful learning!

The goal is to invest in certain features/solutions/hypotheses from different perspectives. This shows how easy you can get an initial estimation of (expected) value. You will be handing out play money that gives you the feeling you are a big spender. We’ve created an example ‘Travel agency’ game to let you get the feeling of how this game in the work context works.


  • Have enough fake play money for all participants
  • Invite stakeholders
  • Prepare the features to estimate on on post-its
  • For the example game you would need to print the roles and countries (See below)
  • Materials: Big euro biljets



“Invite people (usually stakeholders) as investors to your product. Today they are invited to invest the budget they will be given on all your features. In the example game the invite would be: “You are a new travel agency and would like to offer holidays and journeys. You heard it’s a good idea to launch soon and focus on some first countries to offer journeys for. Which countries will you offer first?”

Facilitation of Travel Agency game

  1. Divide the 6 roles (repeat the roles with more players). These roles represent customer profiles.
  2. Divide the money (can be, but does not have to be done equally distributed)
  3. Ask participants to invest in countries they belief these customers finds interesting.
  4. After all money is invested, calculate the order of countries
  5. Announce the order and mention this will be the order of the backlog based on value.
  6. Optionally continue with the ‘Bang for the buck’ exercise to plot the backlog on effort as well.


Topics To debrief

Power struggle
Efficiency of silent estimation


  • What did it feel like to spend actual money?
  • How was it to do this together with other stakeholders? And how was it compared to prioritize only with the product owner (without other stakeholders)
  • How quick would you have prioritized if you would have dicussed ech item one by one?
  • What made the silence possible?
  • What do you think about unequal money distribution? What is the point of having this?


You can create this into the ‘Bang for the buck’ game. This game extends the buy a feature by adding effort/cost in to see what items are easy or harder to realize. This results in a quadrant of high/low value and high/low effort/cost. Low hanging fruit to first pick up is low in effort and high in value. High effort and high value you might split up or do more business validation on (More info: Product management in practice Book p.209)

Normally you can ask a development team to guess on effort. Preferably in silence to speed up the process. For the ‘travel agency game’ simply distribute the counties by their (S,M,L,XL) rating. You can make up a story to justify the rating (e.g. Thailand M, fairly simple to travel to, guides are not needed, but transport needs to be arranged before hand)

Materials needed for the Travel Agency game

Roles (Customer profiles)

Sunny Searcher
Your travelers:

  • love seeking out the sun
  • prefer to chill out
  • don’t want to worry too much

Backpack Budgeteer
Your travelers:

  • want to have all they need in one bag
  • like to mingle with other backpackers
  • won’t spend a penny too much

Terrific Thrillseaker
Your travelers:

  • like to go where few have gone before
  • are always in search of adrenaline
  • appreciate if it is not standard

Culture Connaisseur
Your travelers:

  • like to drown themselves in culture
  • prefer mixing with the locals
  • avoid the tourist traps

Rich Royals
Your travelers:

  • love to indulge themselves in luxury
  • shop at malls and parade on boulevards
  • want to be seen

Family Friendlies
Your travelers:

  • are happy when their kids are happy
  • look for kids and family activities close by
  • are okay with camping


  • Germany
  • UK
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • United States
  • Cuba
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Thailand
  • North Korea
  • Antarctica
  • Tanzania
  • South-Africa
  • Morocco

For the Bang for the buck variant:

  • Germany – S
  • UK – S
  • Spain – S
  • Greece – M
  • United States – S
  • Cuba – L
  • Brazil – L
  • China – L
  • Thailand – M
  • North Korea – XL
  • Antarctica – XL
  • Tanzania – L
  • South-Africa – S
  • Morocco – M

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