Opportunity Solution Tree

Show how your product solutions map back to a desired outcome

discovery-loop-outcomes loop position

No. People

3+

Time

30-90 min

Difficulty

easy

Participants

Product Manager/Owner, Tech Lead, Design Lead

This practice is part of: Perspectives.

What is it?

An Opportunity Solution Tree is a visual aid that can help you find the best place to focus your team’s energies, whilst ensuring you consider enough opportunities. Opportunity solution trees bring transparency to the process and get the whole team to buy into the decisions being made and the solutions being tested. Here’s an example:

Why use it?

This practice is a great way to ensure a product team is taking the time to prioritize user needs and generate enough solutions to needs to broaden the potential for finding the best idea. Often times, a team generates a solution and begins development right away without considering whether a solution is a good one. But “good” is a relative term, so ideally teams should be generating a myriad of product solutions in order to compare and contrast and allow the best option to emerge.

An Opportunity Solution Tree can be used at any point in the product lifecycle, from the beginning of a green field product to introducing it as means to drive iterative development of a mature product. When used to visualize the work being done in a product team’s regular rhythm, it might look something like this:

Overview of Steps

  1. Have the Product Manager pick a desired outcome.
  2. Generate opportunities (or problem statements) for achieving the desired outcome. Discuss as a team. (tip: if your team jumps straight to solutions, ask them what specific problem their solution solves, and capture that).
  3. Brainstorm solutions to specific opportunities (try Crazy 8s Practice). Discuss as a team.
  4. Have the team vote on the solutions with the most potential for success (try Dot-Voting).
  5. Create Experiments for the top 3 solution ideas.

Further Information

  1. Writeup and conference talk from Teresa Torres, the creator of the Opportunity Solution Tree
  2. Quick step-by-step walkthrough of the process with visual examples
  3. Deep-dive into the history and process of the Opportunity Solution Tree
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