Purpose, Context & Success Canvas

Activity Time
1.5–2 hours (not including prep time)
36”x48” poster paper, sticky notes, sharpies (digital version also possible)
Client Stakeholders + Internal Team Project Members (minimum of 2: one workshop lead, one scribe)

When To Use

This is one of the first tools we will breakout when beginning work with a client. We work together with our client on this document, having important first conversations about their organization’s objectives and values, who their audience is and what the market is like, and what success for our project will look like.


  1. Download and print all three canvases to poster size. We usually print them at 36” x 48”. At that size each section can accommodate a good number of standard-sized sticky notes.
  2. Gather as many client stakeholders as you can in a room. The more people that can be there in person, the better. This is a rare opportunity to have all of the different voices you’re likely to hear from throughout the course of the project together.
  3. Assign someone from your team to lead the workshop. Assign another person as the scribe. They will be capturing what gets said so the leader can focus on the workshop.
  4. As the workshop leader, be mindful of keeping stakeholders on topic. These types of discussions can digress quickly. If someone makes a noteworthy comment that is off topic but relevant to another topic on the canvas, just ask your scribe to capture it in the relevant topic section.
  5. Once you have filled all of the sections of each canvas, you might want to go back through (time permitting) and start to prioritize some of the answers you collected. For example, you might find that the client has a dozen different competitors. It might be helpful to rank them in terms of similarity in product or service offerings, etc.
  6. Sometimes, you will go into this type of workshop having already spent a good deal of time with the client during the proposal process. In this case, you might consider pre-filling as much of these canvases as you are confident with. The workshop can then be dedicated to validating/invalidating what you pre-filled and filling in any gaps rather than starting from square one.


Printable PDF Template Sketch File