Inspired by the awesome Herculean doughnut and the discussions that creates we have used the concept to help you discuss and agree responsibilities with your stakeholders. The goal here is to help you move your stakeholders towards a partnership mindset over thinking of your team or teams as a supplier. We hope the majority of post its to end up in the middle (everyone) space.

When to use this?

Trouble with your stakeholders not helping the team out and treating you as a supplier.

Starting a new piece of work or project and want to establish who is responsible for what in your stakeholder and team relationships.

How to use it?


  1. Draw a large doughnut on a white board (or virtual) as below.
  2. Add stakeholder and development group (Group chosen specifically as we want the stakeholders and team to think of themselves as one team).
  3. Add everyone in the middle and no-one somewhere outside the circle.
  4. Write a post it note for each of the following:
  • Is accountable
  • Orders the Product Backlog
  • Resolves blockers
  • Takes action
  • Creates transparency
  • Suggest product improvements/features
  • Engages with users
  • Reports progress
  • Decides what to do
  • Challenges
  • Actions risk responses
  • Discovers
  • Understands the value of a feature
  • and any more you think would help you discuss and agree

5. Buy some doughnuts for the session and make sure you include that there will be doughnuts on the meeting invitation.


Introduce the session something like: We are here to discuss and agree how we work together, the aim here is to leave this session with a set of agreements as to how we will work as stakeholders and development group in partnership to deliver xx.

Hand out the doughnuts!

Explain how the doughnut works, with each section, ask the team if they want to add more sections or change labels and do so as appropriate.

Hand the deck of post its to someone, ask them to read the first post it note out and encourage them to place it on the doughnut where they think it should be. Encourage the group to discuss and move based on the group discussion. Encourage disagreement.

Continue through the deck until there are non left. Ask what else and add post it notes as neccassary.

Get everyone to sign it upon leaving the room encouraging them to abide by these agreements in the future.


Print out pictures or display the real version in your team space or around the office to keep the doughnut visible and in peoples minds.

Customise me

It is important you customise this for your context, please do not treat this as a template add to this, ask questions, remove some post its.

Add your own post it notes in

Add some more roles as necessary

We would love some feedback via Twitter @stephenmounsey or Linkedin