Ship It! The Game of Product Management

Paul Ford
Paul Ford
Jun 19, 2018 · 2 min read
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


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.

Paul Ford

Written by

Paul Ford

CEO,, a digital product studio in NYC. Also writer, Medium advisor, programmer. Any port in a storm, especially ports 80 and 443.

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