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SHIP IT! The Game of Product Management

Postlight's first game is all about the trials and tribulations of shipping software

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Postlight employees in an absolutely unstaged photo just casually playing our game without any prompting from management

Postlight is a company that builds digital platforms and products, and like every firm we like to market ourselves and tell the world how great we are. We gave our marketing a mission, though: It should always help people build their careers.

Humans can only handle so many PowerPoints, so we decided to do something different: We made a card game called “SHIP IT!”—a game of product management.

It’s a simple card game for three to five players, designed to help people talk through the various things that happen when you’re making software. You shuffle the deck and draw cards. Cards can be drivers, blockers, or actions. Your goal is to ship three phases of your project. You do this by getting rid of your blockers, collecting enough drivers, and yelling “SHIP IT!”

Drivers move a phase forward…

They’re almost more brutal than the blockers

Blockers keep you from shipping…

Who HASN’T lost a day to the Apple WWDC?

And Actions change the state of play

Fate isn’t always kind

Play-testing

Sure, we did this tongue-in-cheek—but we also spent a lot of time making the game mechanics fun and easy to remember. As we played and play-tested (we like to test things), we had a number of conversations about what makes products work, what cuts risk, and why it’s so hard to make software. So it sparked a good, interesting conversation in the office and continues to do so.

We hope this game sparks conversations of your own, and we’d love to know what you think.

Story published on Jun 19, 2018.