Opportunity Solution Tree

Show how your product solutions map back to a desired outcome
Contributed by

Jerry Becker

Published October 01, 2019

What Is Opportunity Solution Tree?

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. Created by Teresa Torres, 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:

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Why Do Opportunity Solution Tree?

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:

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How to do Opportunity Solution Tree?

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.

Tips for remote facilitation

  • Not many difference between what you do face to face and remotely
  • You need to be very clear about steps and how you are using different practices that are connected among them on your whiteboard, otherwise people get lost
  • Example: explain if you combine The Opportunity Decision tree, with Affinity mapping, and How might we, turning your opportunity areas or expected Impact into Questions

Want to run this practice remotely? See the Mural Template below! 💻🙏

Look at Opportunity Solution Tree

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Opportunity Solution Tree practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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