There are many variations of hack days, but in this chapter, I describe one of my favorite techniques to quickly get a range of high‐potential ideas that are focused on solving a pressing business or customer problem.
The two main types of hack days are directed and undirected. In an undirected hack day, people can explore whatever product ideas they like, so long as it's at least loosely related to the mission of the company.
In a directed hack day, there's a customer problem (for example, something is really difficult to learn and use, or it takes too long to do) or business objective we've been assigned (for example, “Reduce the customer churn rate” or “Increase customer lifetime value”), and we ask people from the product teams to self‐organize and work on any ideas they like that might address this objective.
The goal is for the self‐organizing groups to explore their ideas and create some form of prototype that can be evaluated, and if appropriate, tested on actual users.
There are two major benefits to these directed hack days. The first is practical, as the technique facilitates the inclusion of engineers at ideation. I've mentioned several times in this book that many of the best ideas come from the engineers on the team, and we need to ensure this is happening. It should be happening on an ongoing basis, but this technique will ensure it happens. ...