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When starting a LeSS Adoption, one of the first things to clarify is what your product actually is. More often than not, the product definition preferred in LeSS isn’t the same as the initial product definition, and thus this leads to a change in thinking and eventually a change in the organization.

The Product Definition needs to be clarified because it will affect:

  • the scope of the Product Backlog
  • who will be the Product Owner
  • the size (in teams) of the Product and hence whether it is a LeSS or LeSS Huge adoption

Usually we make a distinction between:

  • The ‘ideal’ Product Definition – which the broadening questions leads too
  • The ‘practical’ Product Definition – which is a subset of the previous one and allows us to start and improve from

The usual way of finding the Product Definition is by asking broadening questions and then narrowing it down to a practical definition.

Broadening questions

Most of the broading questions tend to make the Product Definition more customer-centric. They include:

  • Who are the actual end-customers and what do they consider the product to be?
  • What is the original problem that the product is solving?

Narrowing questions

The narrowing questions look at the existing situation and organization and narrow the Product Definition and making it practical to start with. Typical narrowing questions are:

  • What is within your company?
  • What is within your control?
  • Can you state a clear vision for the product?

Continuous improvement

After finding the initial product definition and starting the LeSS adoption, the organization needs to see if and how they can expand that in the long term. LeSS prefers a broader Product Definition because:

  • Better overview and finer-grained prioritization
  • Avoids duplication between similar products
  • Resolves dependencies between smaller ‘products’
  • Allows a focus on the real customer problems
  • Descales organizational complexity